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Doing Good Works – Changing Foster Youth Outcomes Through Business

Feb 29, 2024

Four Doing Good Works team members pose at a company party with photobooth accessories with affirming statements.

Building purpose-driven careers

Doing Good Works’ two co-founders came from completely different backgrounds. Jordan Bartlett built his career in the executive search space, recruiting leaders into roles in companies. As a child, Jordan was adopted, avoiding the foster care system, but his siblings were not. When he was reunited with them later in life, he saw firsthand the different outcomes they experienced. Scott Henderson has a background in packaging and supply chain. Scott’s wife volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Scott heard about the disparate outcomes foster youth experience, and after doing his own research, saw that in the last 30 years, there had been no dramatic improvement in outcomes for former foster youth. Jordan and Scott met through a mutual contact connected to the Royal Family Kids Camp, a nonprofit that brings foster youth together for a week of camp each year. Jordan and Scott’s mutual commitment to working to improve outcomes and opportunities for foster youth led them to create something new together. They wanted to pursue a self-funded organization so in 2015, they created a social enterprise: Doing Good Works.

Doing Good Works is a branded merchandise company with a unique business model. In 2023, Doing Good Works established its two distinct arms: DGW Branded and Foster Greatness. They’re proving that leading with heart yields higher performance. In their impact report, they share that in 2022, Doing Good Works created 38 job opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and provided 6,428 coaching hours for young adults impacted by foster care. Currently, over 60% of their workforce has experienced foster care, and Doing Good Works is committed to creating a nurturing work environment so their employees can flourish.

Business as a force for good

“Jordan and Scott chose the branded merchandise industry because it has a low barrier to entry and would allow the company to create job placement opportunities for former foster youth,” explains Logan Altman, Chief Impact Officer. “In 2014, Doing Good Works was primarily working to improve conditions for former foster youth by providing job opportunities. But we quickly learned that wasn’t enough. We began looking at how to address the underlying systemic issues.”

The team learned that the mindset many young people in foster care develop is one of the limiting factors for their future outcomes. To address this and other barriers, foster youth need tools and resources to help them break the cycle and thrive. The Doing Good Works team engaged young adults impacted by the foster system to learn more about what they needed. “Our current program is created by, for, and with adults who were formerly involved in the foster system,” says Logan. “Addressing the challenges foster youth face needs something more than a one-size-fits-all program. Our program helps create personalized resources for each person, along with one-on-one mentorship.” Those who have benefited from the program have stepped into mentorship roles, as well. For example, Ashley, Doing Good Works’ director of outreach and a former foster youth, has not only gone through the Foster Greatness mentorship program but has mentored individuals as well, giving back to the population she cares most about serving.

Today, Doing Good Works’ branded merchandise side of the business is sustainable and running smoothly, giving the founders time to focus on positive impacts for former foster youth. In 2023, Doing Good Works launched Foster Greatness, a separate 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing former foster youth with essential resources and connecting them to a wide range of opportunities, tailored learning materials, and ongoing support.

It can be overwhelming to have to search for resources, information, and support, so Foster Greatness has brought those resources, tools, and information into one centralized app. The app also allows users to connect with one another, build community, and find empowerment from people who understand their experiences. There is no age limit or time limit for app users: this is a life-long resource available for former foster youth at all stages of their adult life.

As we keep looking to improve our branded merchandise program, we are thrilled to have Doing Good Works leading the way. Their leadership in this area is exactly what we need to ensure our initiatives are both impactful and aligned with our mission. Together, we are setting new standards in the industry, driving change, and creating a brighter future for all.

Joyce Sanchez, Marketing Operations Specialist at Beneficial State Bank

Partnerships that deepen collective impact

DGW Branded is driven by great customer experience. Doing Good Works rejected the traditional business model for their industry and does not employ sales reps. Each of their team members works with clients to find customized solutions that make an impact. “Our team, clients, and partners are all values-aligned, and that is something you can’t train,” says Logan. “We’re all committed to making an impact through our businesses, and that shared set of values, along with our exceptional customer experience, has been the driver of our business’ success.”

“Greenwashing is a huge problem in our industry,” explains Logan. “Doing Good Works is working to drive impact in our industry to change the business model. As we work with suppliers, we’re helping them shift, too. We’re excited to welcome more B Corps into this industry.”

Doing Good Works is Beneficial State Bank’s partner for branded merchandise, as well as supporting projects like printed materials, signage, and other branded assets. “I am so happy and proud of our partnership with Doing Good Works. Their expertise in sourcing sustainable products and their innovative approach, particularly their initiative to hire foster youth, resonate deeply with our core values as a bank committed to fostering positive change in both the community and the environment. Logan Altman, our amazing account representative, provides exceptional support, and his partnership has been pivotal in our sustainability journey. His contributions and enthusiasm have been amazing in helping us navigate the complexities of sustainable practices,” says Joyce Sanchez, Marketing Operations Specialist at Beneficial State Bank.

“Beneficial State Bank is at the forefront of practicing what they preach,” says Logan. “We share a priority of being able to prove product lineage with transparency and traceability. Our shared commitment and Beneficial State Bank’s willingness to commit to impact in their branded products has allowed us to collaborate deeply, explore unique branding opportunities, and build an impactful program, together.”

Align your business practices with your values

Learn more about Doing Good Works and Foster Greatness.

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