A group of USF students decided to put its business skills to the test – and helped a local nonprofit save $12,000 while doing so.
The students are a part of Enactus at USF, an organization with members from a variety of majors but with the same intention: to be entrepreneurs in action for a greater good. The team’s project was to cut costs, raise revenue and improve services for New Beginnings of Tampa, an organization that provides free services to the homeless.
The Tampa Bay area has a large homeless population made up of more than 25,000 men, women and veterans. Recognizing this problem, Enactus initiated a partnership with the local nonprofit.
“We wanted to address this problem in our community, so we chose to work with New Beginnings of Tampa, an organization that temporarily houses and feeds homeless people and offers them rehabilitation programs and job opportunities,” said student Sarah Schmidt, project leader.
Last October, Enactus sat down with the CEO of New Beginnings, Pastor Tom Atchison. Their objective was to improve business practices by installing greener technology to reduce the cost of utilities, creating a fundraising template, and providing suits for its clients.
The student team partnered with the Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department to install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators in the facilities. These improvements were not only environmentally friendly, but also saved the organization $12,000 in the first year.
To fund further environmentally friendly changes, Enactus and New Beginnings hosted a charity golf tournament that raised more than $6,000. The funds will be used to install automatic, motion-censored light switches.
“We were excited to not only raise money for New Beginnings, but also provide them with a fundraising template that they can use to improve outreach to clients and donors,” said Schmidt.
One of the goals of New Beginnings is to help its clients land job interviews. Previously, the organization did not have the resources to provide its clients with appropriate attire. Enactus allocated resources from another one of its projects, Suit-A-Bull, a free suit rental service for USF students and recent graduates, to create a suit closet at New Beginnings where clients can rent professional clothing.
Enactus also updated the organization’s website and social media presences. To ensure sustainability of their efforts, they taught the New Beginning’s staff how to maintain these platforms.
“We really appreciate the hard work that Enactus has put forth to help us better serve those in need,” said Pastor Tom Atchison.