Dedicated to Make a Change, L3C: A New Kind of Ethics-Conscious Enterprise?

Media recognition of social enterprise overwhelmingly focuses on social entrepreneurs whose initiatives are the passions of the technology moguls and philanthropists of Silicon Valley. Here in Michigan, however, social entrepreneurs are relying, not only on innovative ways to deal with large ethical problems, from food justice to restorative justice, they are relying on a new legal form to do something and to make a difference.

The L3C, or (L)ow-profit (L)imited (L)iability (C)ompany, is now the legal form of choice for at least 419 mission-driven organizations in Michigan. Among the first local groups to embrace this hybrid form, regarded by champions as "for profits with non profit souls," is youth organization Dedicated To Make A Change, L3C. Started by respected educator and social justice advocate Gail Wolkoff, the group offers a breadth of experiential and service learning opportunities to provide youth of all identities and economic backgrounds a fair hearing and an equal chance to fulfill their potential.

Gail is joined by Erika McNamara, an attorney known for her own commitment to social justice and well-informed understanding of the ethical consequences--both good and bad--of the L3C and other new legal forms of social enterprise.

Their shared thoughts make this conversation timely, educational and worth sharing. And good for nonprofit souls wishing to learn more about how to help Michigan become an important testing ground and laboratory for a wide range of ethics-conscious enterprises.