KEYNOTE: How the Circular Economy Unlocks Barriers To Employment

November 30, 2022 from 9:00 am to 9:30 am

Speaker: Moderator: Stephanie Barger • Speaker: Terry McDonald

An innovative network of social enterprises that operate reuse and recycling businesses to provide life-stabilizing jobs for the most vulnerable in our society is the key to building stronger communities. In three years, the Cascade Alliance helped nonprofits across the country launch 15 businesses, create 90 jobs, and earn more than $6 million in revenue, while diverting more than 7 million pounds of materials from the waste stream.

With more than 50 years of experience growing the circular economy in Lane County, Oregon, and using the revenue to assist the community’s most vulnerable people, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, the founding members of Cascade Alliance established the business network to help other nonprofits tap into the circular economy by converting discarded items through retail thrift, mattress recycling, and used book sales into a stable revenue stream and source of quality jobs. Key steps and factors to look for when starting or bolstering a waste-based enterprise will be explored. Both businesses and communities can learn how to build strong relationships across industries to foster innovation, revenue generation, and create sustainable jobs.

Moderator: Stephanie Barger, TRUE

Speaker: Terry McDonald, Executive Director, St Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County