Social impact has brought our community together, breaking down silos, encouraging collaborative conversations, and evolving the way we use business as a tool for social and environmental impact. Individuals across generations, economic statuses, political affiliations, and industries come together each year to applaud the ways social entrepreneurs are impacting our community with the PRISM Awards. It’s precisely why the National Institute for Social Impact (NI4SI) has named this event the PRISM Awards as they bring together a beautiful and vibrant community to create something inspiring. NI4SI is proud to host an event that honors the social entrepreneurs among us while also unifying our community to effect change.
Why It Matters:
Social impact is the outcome of a mission-driven business or a business with a “higher purpose” that uses the powerful economic engine of capitalism for good, not merely for gain. These businesses often adhere to a philosophy of the triple bottom line: purpose, profit, and prosperity. Businesses and organizations that create social impact have this effort woven into the core of their products, employees, and culture and how they support the community. Consumers are interested in companies that provide a social and/or environmental value and will switch from a favorite brand to support one with a social cause. Consumers will pay more for a product or service if that company gives back to their community.
What It Honors:
The PRISM Awards enhance NI4SI’s goal to create awareness of the growing fourth sector. By empowering consumers with knowledge, people can make informed purchasing decisions. It allows consumers to engage with businesses that align with their own missions and passions and become an active part in helping the community while doing everyday things, such as buying meals, recycling, or purchasing outdoor equipment. Each year, the event highlights a different industry in the sector. NI4SI is proud to work with so many innovative social impact models. They are companies that have given consumers an outlet to buy quality products and services while also making a direct, positive impact on the community.
As we continue to unleash the power of purpose-driven organizations to build a better economy, we will build a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable world. This is a transformative journey, transitioning from what has been a shareholder-supremacy paradigm to one that is inclusive of all stakeholders. As we continue to work together, solve problems together, and maybe even embrace the idea of “coopetition,” we can create a “new normal” that provides a broader and better definition of success.
MEET BILL MORRIS
COFOUNDER BLUE STAR RECYCLERS
PRISM AWARD WINNER, SOUTHERN COLORADO
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Bill Morris was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and worked almost thirty years in the telecommunications industry.
Bill started Blue Star to help solve two problems, which on the surface are very different—yet both essentially amount to wasted resources. The first is the ethical recycling of electronic waste, which is almost entirely recyclable… yet less than 20% is recycled annually worldwide. The second is the employment of people with autism and other disabilities, of which most are fully able to work—yet less than 20% have real employment in the US. By bringing both elements together we found a single solution for both problems. Most importantly, they proved people with disabilities are not only good workers but are a superior workforce for work tasks that match their innate talent and skills.
Blue Star is different from other electronics recyclers. They hold the most rigorous third-party audited certification standard an electronics recycler can attain, and in ten years they have never once had a non-compliance or citing for any environmental, health or safety standard. Blue Star is the only recycler to possess this certification in the Pikes Peak Region, and the only recycler in Colorado to earn our state’s 24-Karat Environmental Award. Bill founded Blue Star Recyclers to produce Social Impact by placing people above profit. Even though we are nonprofit we run Blue Star like a business, and we are 100% financially self-sustainable.
Bill believes social enterprise is the fulfillment of the original intent behind Capitalism, whereby the entire community benefits right along with us (a win-win outcome)…instead of one person or group getting wealthy at the expense of others (win-lose outcome). Blue Star Recyclers is now the largest and best Colorado-based electronics recycler in Colorado—with the most locations, most employees, and most customers. Blue Star gives back to the people and communities they serve.
GET TO KNOW PIKES PEAK HABITAT RESTORE
2020 SOCIAL IMPACT BUSINESS OF THE YEAR,
Since 2004, the Pikes Peak Habitat ReStore has helped provide safe, permanent, and affordable homes to over 100 low-income families in El Paso County. The ReStore sells donated building supplies, windows, sinks, cabinets, and furniture at discounts 50%-70% below retail, and the net proceeds support Habitat programs. This summer (2021) a second ReStore will open in northeast Colorado Springs to further ensure our long-term sustainability and increase the number of families assisted in our community.
It is wonderful for the Pikes Peak Habitat ReStore to be recognized as a recipient of the PRISM award. It allows us to tell the tangible story of the enormous tonnage of items kept from the landfill and repurposed to affordably maintain and upgrade existing housing in El Paso County. More people are learning about the ReStore, and the donations and purchases they make will provide more affordable housing solutions for our community.
Visit habitat.org/restores to learn more.