Can software loosen Big Food’s grip on institutions?

Increasingly, large institutions are setting food procurement standards that require local sourcing, and they’re vetting vendors and contractors based on their ability to comply. Broadline distributors like U.S. Food, Gordon, and Sysco have been slow to address the emerging trend. But an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based software startup, Local Orbit, is in the process of bringing to market a new service that does what Big Food has struggled to accomplish. It provides streamlined access to local and sustainable food sourcing for high-volume purchasers like hospitals, schools, universities and prisons.

Read Article

Mission Throttle Selected by the Skillman Foundation to Develop Sustainable Solutions for Grant Partners

The Skillman Foundation has selected Mission Throttle to work with Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation to help the 19 year old community organization sustain and scale its programming.

Mission Throttle partnered with the Skillman Foundation in January 2016 to pilot “The Sustainability Grant Challenge.” The challenge was designed to provide a Skillman Foundation grant partner that demonstrated a desire to strengthen and scale one or more of its programs, with professional assistance not normally accessible to a community-based nonprofit due to cost. The Skillman Foundation invited 25 grant partners to participate in the challenge, which benchmarked organizations using a survey designed to assess operational effectiveness, based on Mission Throttle’s proprietary scoring system. Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation was selected as the recipient of the Skillman Sustainability Grant and will work with Mission Throttle to develop a blueprint to enhance their organizational efficiency and effectiveness, develop sustainable revenue models and funding strategies, and achieve increased scale. “We believe in the work of our grant partners, and know they face challenges every day that make it difficult to best deliver their needed services,” said Patricia Hinojosa, Senior Program Officer, Social Innovation for the Skillman Foundation. “By helping to strengthen organizations, they can more effectively serve the community and be drivers of change.”

Conventional philanthropy typically funds direct program related support and often neglects the critical costs of infrastructure. Experience has shown that proper operating systems and human capital are essential for sustained operational excellence. Recognizing this gap, Mission Throttle is working with Foundations across Michigan on similar nonprofit enterprise building initiatives.

About Mission Throttle
Mission Throttle is an advisory firm dedicated to accelerating philanthropic innovation in our community. We advise, invest in, and support mission-driven organizations that seek to use market-based strategies to address social and environmental problems. We are deeply passionate about our work and believe that merging business principles and philanthropic values is the best approach to achieve sustainable social impact.

About the Skillman Foundation
Created in 1960, the Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.

About Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation
Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation’s mission is to make a difference by creating life-changing opportunities for youth and their families. We are committed to meeting the needs of our community by providing quality, innovative and culturally appropriate services, primarily in Southwest Detroit. Our vision is to create a stable and safe community where youth and families have quality opportunities for self-empowerment, education, and personal wealth.

Women social entrepreneurs compete for cash in ‘Shark Tank’-style competition

A dozen women-owned companies seeking investment for their business ideas and startups are vying for a slice of the $50,000 prize money in a pitch competition Wednesday night at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.

The “Shark Tank”-style competition — dubbed EmpowerHER — is a project run by the Michigan Women’s Foundation and underwritten by the Ford Motor Co. Fund, which put up the prize money and an additional $90,000 for entrepreneur workshops and training. The finalists —  all from metro Detroit, except one from East Lansing — will pitch their ideas  in front of a panel of judges, that include Susan Gordon, managing director at Mission Throttle and Pamela Alexander, the director of community development for the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

Read Article

Women’s business competition EmpowerHER names its winners

Three businesses owned by women have won cash in a “Shark Tank”-style competition dubbed EmpowerHER run by the Michigan Women’s Foundation and underwritten by the Ford Motor Co. Fund. The Ford fund put up the prize money and an additional $90,000 for entrepreneur workshops and training. Motor City STEAM and Women Who Weld of Detroit each won $7,500 in services from Mission Throttle.

Read Article

Focus: HOPE develops half-century strategic plan

Working with nonprofit consultancy and investment firm Mission Throttle, Anthony said, Focus: Hope developed a strong strategic plan to assure it can stabilize the benefits of the restructuring process and build a future that is “measurable, impactful and consistent with its mission and new vision of empowerment and education.” While the nonprofit has been focused on programs for many years, Anthony said they also need to look at other issues that affect area residents.

Read Article