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Social Purpose Institute

The Social Purpose in Business Movement is Growing

Social Purpose is an emerging trend in business – where companies define their reason for being in societal terms and place it at the core of their operations, so it becomes the engine that powers the business and contributes to a better world. It gives companies a competitive advantage, helps them navigate turbulent times, and creates new opportunities for maximizing profits and building shareholder value.

The goal of the Social Purpose Institute is to grow the social Purpose movement across Canada and internationally as a means to build resilience within business models and in the communities in which they operate.

Learn about how we’re helping businesses can create social good and drive business results.

United Way’s Role

United Way is uniquely positioned to help guide and foster Social Purpose in Business. Our corporate partners have been requesting involvement in, and a deeper understanding of, our work and the social issues faced in the Lower Mainland and want to become more engaged in the solutions.

United Way British Columbia, known for its local community development and broad, cross-sectoral networks, is poised to serve as the source for community intelligence, training and involvement in embedding social purpose within businesses.

How We Can Help

  • Understand the social issues that affect your community and your business, to discover and be a part of new solutions.
  • Identify the best match between your company’s brand, assets and resources and a social purpose that would resonate best for you in a competitive landscape.
  • Connect what your company has to offer with issues and agencies in the community.

Fostering Social Purpose

United Way British Columbia is committed to being a leader in fostering Social Purpose Business (SPB). In order to support this work, we know we need partners, structures and policies creating an enabling environment for SPB to flourish in. To this end, United Way submitted recommendations (with United Way Centraide Canada) on the concept of the “Social Purpose Business”  to the Federal Government’s Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy consultation. Please link here to read the UW SI SF Strategy Consultation Submission.

Please note: the full submission was sent from United Way Centraide Canada, and thus references a number of additional topics. Section 2, page 9 onwards is most relevant to the work of the United Way British Columbia. Note also the letters of support on the Social Purpose Business Recommendations from the City of Vancouver and Canadian Business for Social Responsibility in the appendix.


Further information about the United Way Social Purpose Institute:

Articles about social purpose and social leadership: