Forging Economic Independence through Fair Wage Employment

HHPLIFT is an award-winning, nonprofit social enterprise that curates, crafts, and sells sustainable social impact products and services for discerning consumers and socially conscious businesses looking to align their values with their procurement choices. Their social impact products are handmade by artisans and crafters overcoming barriers to fair wage employment in the U.S. and abroad, and produced by social enterprises.


Michael Arkes (former President and owner of Hinda Incentives, a major incentive company in the U.S.) founded Helping Hand Rewards (now HHPLIFT) in 2007, to combine his passion for helping others with his expertise in the incentive industry. His journey to create HHPLIFT began with volunteering at The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK), a social enterprise that specialized in making soaps. When he suggested pairing the social enterprise with his business connections, the goal was to have companies include TEK’s socially responsible products in their corporate customers’ assortments. It worked well. In 2007, buoyed by the success of his idea, he founded Helping Hand Rewards to connect social enterprises with workforce development programs to incentive companies that sold to major corporations throughout the United States. Michael recognized a growing interest in companies demonstrating their commitment to corporate social responsibility, and sourcing social impact products was an innovative way companies could embrace and project this commitment.


Today, HHPLIFT is a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission to forge economic independence through workforce and business opportunities for people overcoming barriers to fair wage employment. The LIFT™ Program provides hands-on leadership training and career development, educational opportunities and professional development for a workforce that includes those in the justice system, those most at risk for gun violence, those coming out of addiction and housing instability, those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity, at-risk young mothers, young adults with intellectual differences and those who are physically challenged. The LIFT™ Program operates through the production of LIFT™ and ecoLIFT™ product lines and the kitting and assembly department.


In addition to expanding their workshop, workforce, network of social enterprises, and social impact products, HHPLIFT is excited to grow a 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) business: their fastest-growing revenue stream in 2021. 3PL can warehouse, kit & assemble, fulfill, and ship orders, including eCommerce fulfillment, for social enterprises, nonprofits, and corporate customers. 3PL provides efficiencies for social enterprises and nonprofits that do not have the infrastructure, expertise, or personnel to do cost-effective fulfillment, allowing them to stay mission-focused. 


Someone who has benefitted from the LIFT™ Program is Elvin Rivera, eCommerce and Fulfillment Specialist. Elvin started as a LIFT™ Program associate where he excelled – he was promoted twice within his time in the Program, then onboarded as a full-time HHPLIFT employee where he has been instrumental in the growth of the 3PL business. He oversees the 3PL Workshop, manages complex orders efficiently and helps mentor and train current LIFT™ Program associates. Learn more about Elvin’s journey, here.


HHPLIFT joined Social Enterprise Alliance in 2017 to be a part of a network of social enterprises committed to making a difference, to gain and share insight into how to increase impact and to be more effective in their work. Through involvement with Social Enterprise Alliance, they have had the opportunity to participate in Summit and other educational aspects, as well as network with social enterprises in our area.


To learn more about HHPLIFT, check out their member directory profile.

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