Humanim is a nonprofit workforce development organization that seeks to support and empower individuals who face social or economic challenges by building pathways to economic equity, opportunity and independence.
The organization was founded on the belief that work is transformative. Through its 46 years of service, Humanim continues to maintain its original commitment to creating economic equity for individuals with disabilities and barriers to employment. In addition to workforce development, Humanim works towards its mission of empowerment through youth services, human services and social enterprise.
Humanim launched their first social enterprise – known as iScan – in 1983. However, their commitment to social entrepreneurship began when they decided to restore and renovate a building – formerly the American Brewery – in East Baltimore. This investment resulted in a 30,000 sq. ft. fully restored and renovated space. Now, it houses their workforce development center, human services department and social enterprises. These services were intentionally located near the center of Broadway East in order to be accessible to the surrounding community, most of whom face barriers to employment including former incarceration, chronic unemployment or underemployment, long term poverty, limited education or certified skills and disabilities. The location further demonstrates Humanim’s commitment to helping people in poverty overcome challenges through economic advancement, achievement and revitalization.
This initial work allowed Humanim to expand their traditional employment services, social enterprise strategies and investment in the local community. Recognizing that they could strengthen and expand their social impact through innovation and social entrepreneurship, Humanim developed market-based strategies to reduce reliance on public funding and adopted the values, goals and objectives of social enterprise. Today, Humanim runs four Baltimore-based social impact businesses in the culinary, construction, reuse and document imaging industries. Each are fully committed to their mission of training and hiring individuals with barriers to employment. In 2017, they launched the Social Innovation Fund to seed new social enterprises, fund iterations of existing lines of business, and kickstart special initiatives. Through the SIF, they elevate the communities and individuals they serve, thus furthering the impact of their social enterprises.
The Humanim Social Enterprise Division values social entrepreneurship as a cornerstone of their corporate values and a guiding strategic principle. Through it, they are able to create economic opportunity for ancillary business development, in addition to jobs for community members. The Division focuses primarily on wealth building for low-income and minority individuals and small business development. They also prioritize skill-building and workforce placement for those with barriers to employment, job creation and supply chain connections. These services empower small business owners and grow the local economy.
Furthermore, Humanim operates within industry clusters to put down roots within each sector. This allows them to maximize both business and social impact opportunities along the supply chain. Each of their social impact businesses operate within an ecosystem of corporate and community partners that strengthen the local economy. They also protect small, minority businesses and create opportunities for community members through workforce training and job creation. As a result, this ecosystem approach yields financial and social returns by leveraging market forces to lift communities up instead of pushing them out.
To learn more about Humanim, check out their member directory profile.