Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility
The Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J., Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility marries Loyola’s Jesuit mission of being “people for others” with the business ethos of acting from self-interest. The Baumhart Center welcomes and facilitates debates about the moral foundations and practical merits of the free enterprise system while working proactively to support social enterprise and responsibility. The center supports Quinlan’s focus on business ethics and works collaboratively with a number of Loyola institutes and centers of excellence.
The Baumhart Center defines a social enterprise as an organization in which 1) the core business activity produces a benefit to society through a product, labor, or process that is beyond the benefit provided to its customers; and 2) the removal of that benefit would substantially alter or eliminate the business. In social enterprise, leaders find business opportunities through identifying ways to serve the real needs of the poor and vulnerable. Innovative social enterprises can spark individual creativity, help lift people from extreme poverty, and contribute to broader economic and societal justice. The Baumhart Center is charged with conducting and/or commissioning scholarly and practical research to address these issues while delivering workshops, seminars, and published materials to assist practitioners.
Justice is served by businesses that voluntarily undertake social responsibility initiatives. Many of these organizations, however, measure their social responsibility activities in terms of the amount of money spent or the presumed effect of the spending on overall financial performance. Few businesses consider the social return on investment of these efforts. Such measurement is difficult, both because there is not a single metric and because many factors must be assessed qualitatively rather than quantitatively. The Baumhart Center is charged with conducting and/or commissioning scholarly and practical research to address these issues and with developing general assessment models while delivering workshops, seminars, and published materials to assist practitioners. Ultimately, these assessment models are aimed to assist businesses in determining which social responsibility programs should be continued, revised, or terminated to insure that social investments achieve positive social outcomes.