Value Louisiana

VALUE LOUISIANA: A statewide initiative to help businesses do well by doing good. 

Value Louisiana is a strategy to support the growth of for-benefit organizations, which use market-based methods to offer social and environmental solutions.12.9.14_ValueLA_logo_words

The initiative is founded in the idea that the best way to grow our economy is through combined efforts that not only create jobs and revenue but also positive social outcomes: the impact economy (sometimes referred to as the cyclical economy).

The impact economy is a cross-sector marketplace where wealth creation is driven by positive social and environmental impact. It includes for-benefit organizations (social enterprises), their investors, and the organizations that support them.

For-benefit organizations come in a wide variety of models and legal forms, all of which leverage market-based approaches to solve social and environmental problems.

The Impact Economy is founded in a belief that social needs drive market innovation and companies are best served when they generate value not just for themselves, but also for their communities: they create shared value.

Our belief is that we can “do well by doing good” – that making money and having social impact are not mutually exclusive, but actually interdependent.  Thus, we think about value not only in financial terms, but also social, intellectual, political, physical and natural capital.  In the end, this is about the amazing value of Louisiana – and protecting that value for generations to come.


Business is a driving force of profitable social innovation in New Orleans. We seek to create a culture in our community that views business not just as profit-driven, but mission-driven — where private capital and earned-income strategies can leverage and scale social and environmental solutions.


The Value Louisiana Steering Committee at our January 15th Launch Event


We seek to grow the “for-benefit” community first by identifying, transitioning, and recruiting existing for-benefits here. By creating a network of these businesses, we’ll be able to attract auxiliary professions here as well as support them.  Additionally, we’ll be able to help government foster an ecosystem that supports for-benefit growth.

Through the coordination of the backbone organization, LifeCity, Value Louisiana is currently seeking to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Map the for-benefit ecosystem including for-benefit organizations and the organizations that support them
  2. Develop a For-benefit Development Plan to grow the number and strength of for-benefit organizations in our region
  3. Test an innovative Collective Impact Model that leverages Pay for Success financing and the federal government’s E3 Framework to support the ongoing growth of for-benefit organizations, starting in the manufacturing sector.
  4. Create a For-Benefit Development Guide for other communities interested in using similar strategies.

Check out our Value Louisiana radio interview on WGSO 990AM’s All Things Local!


How to Get Involved:

  • Come to events and track progress on our latest projects,
  • Join our Impact Directory,
  • Sign up for our mailing updates about upcoming community meetings.

If you’re interested in becoming involved at a deeper level including developing research and metrics for the 2016 State of the Impact Economy Report, please email

More About For-Benefit Organizations

Value Louisiana and LifeCity seek to recognize that the for-benefit movement already exists here. We want to create a strong network of these organizations to support each other and to show the effectiveness of this model.

As described by the Fourth Sector and The B Team, these organizations tend to have: a social purpose, earned income, inclusive ownership, stakeholder governance, fair compensation, reasonable returns, social and environmental responsibility, transparency and protected assets.

Meet Louisiana’s Oldest For-Benefit Organization – Lighthouse Louisiana

image006Lighthouse Louisiana is a non-profit organization started in 1900 that manufactures paper cups, paper towels, and other products. In 2008, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and Lighthouse LA established rehabilitation and vocational training programs within the manufacturing facility for on-the-job training. The City and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development supported these efforts by providing grants and an interest free loan to the Lighthouse to purchase the property and equipment. In return for their investment, the community and state would reap the economic benefits of this endeavour – new jobs and payroll dollars, local spending, construction dollars, sales tax, and services to the community of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Lighthouse Louisiana employs 155 people, 74 of whom are blind. While the organization is a non-profit, commercial revenue makes up 95% of the organization’s funding. It creates business revenue while also solving a major problem in our community: employment for the blind.

The Value Louisiana Manufacturing Program

The Value Louisiana Manufacturing Program is an Impact Development Model guided by Value Louisiana helping communities, manufacturers, and manufacturing supply chains adapt and thrive in today’s green economy. By joining the Value Louisiana Manufacturing Program through LifeCity, a manufacturer receives a comprehensive assessment of its operations through a collaboration of technical assistant partners to save money through efficiency improvements and improve its impact, and as a result create jobs.

  • A For-benefit Business Assessment that reviews the stage of for-benefit development demonstrated by company leadership and assesses internal culture of sustainability that balances mission and profit (includes a water assessment and greenhouse gas reduction potential);
  • A Business Excellence Assessment that reviews the health of the overall company and stage of business development;
  • A Lean & Quality Review that leads to increased productivity, reduced costs, and job creation;
  • A Worker Health & Safety Assessment that improves worker safety, satisfaction, and professional development opportunities;
  • An Energy Audit that provides tools and insight for reducing energy demand and costs;
  • A Waste-to-Resource Exchange Assessment that supports manufacturers in turning landfill waste into market commodities.

This technical assistance program based on the E3 framework built by multiple federal offices and active in 26 states has helped create 373 jobs and retain 2,283 jobs since 2009. These programs have also identified 485,928 metric tons of potential CO2 emissions reductions, which is equivalent to removing more than 102,000 passenger vehicles from the road. Check out The Manufacturing Group Page and email for information about joining.

Here about the Value Louisiana Manufacturing Program and the impact for one of our clients on WWNO 89.9’s Community Impact Series.

Steering Committee & Technical Assistance Providers

The initiative is led by a Steering Committee of 15 organizations and is facilitated by LifeCity, a membership-based organization that makes social and environmental impact profitable for business, who are working with the community to establish:

  • A common agenda and language to grow the for-benefit sector
  • Shared measurement systems for community “impact”
  • Coordinated technical assistance, investment, and policy platform to develop the sector
  • Infrastructure to connect investors, consumers, institutions, and talent to for-benefit / shared value opportunities


Algiers Economic Development Foundation (AEDF)

City of New Orleans

Delgado Community College

EcoUrban, LLC

Horizon Water Initiative

Joule Energy

LifeCity, LLC

Lighthouse Louisiana

Louisiana Association for Non-profit Organizations (LANO)

Propeller, a Force for Social Innovation

The Foundation for Louisiana (FFL)

The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF)

The Urban Conservancy / Stay Local

The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce

Tulane University, Office of Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship


Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC)

Sally Anne McInerny, P.E., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, College of Engineering

Louisiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Consultation

Incline Innovation, LLC Member of Innovation Engineering Network

Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses

Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana (MEPOL)

What is Pay for Success or a Social Impact Bond?

Social impact bonds (SIBs) are a pay-for-success contract in which a private investor provides the investment capital to fund an intervention to address a social challenge, typically related to behavioral change (e.g. recidivism, homelessness, childhood obesity, etc.).  This is just one tool of the new impact economy that can support the development of for-benefit organizations and strategies.  In a SIB, the investor is paid a financial return based on the savings actually achieved as a result of a successful intervention (e.g. fewer people in prison save the government money; the government pays the investor out of these savings). SIBs are often structured such that a private foundation guarantees a portion of the initial principle invested by the investor, allowing philanthropists an opportunity to leverage their balance sheet for more impact (they only pay if the intervention is successful)


In December of 2013, LifeCity received a small grant to design a For-Benefit Development strategy for our region: the Value Louisiana initiative, through the “Growing the Impact Economy” (GIE) Conference held at Harvard University. Learning about the Federal Government’s Economy, Energy, and Environment (E3) framework at the conference. LifeCity saw potential to bring the coordinated federal and local initiative to provide small and medium-sized manufacturers with lean, clean, energy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) assessments to Louisiana as a model for Value Louisiana’s collective impact approach for all sectors.


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