“Our success proves that a sustainable business can be driven by a social vision: provide well-paying jobs with low-cost childcare, invest in employee training and development, and advocate for social change.”
-Susan Matteucci, Executive Director
Southwest Creations Collaborative is an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based manufacturing social enterprise that provides cut, sew and handwork services to companies across the USA while pursuing a larger social mission to help our community alleviate poverty and build economic opportunity across generations. Our business operations are 100% self-sufficient and contribute over $100,000 annually toward the cost of our employee and community programs.
Since our inception in 1994, Southwest Creations has pushed the boundaries of both the social enterprise model and the nonprofit model of foundation-funded social change. We employ a three-pronged strategy to achieve our mission:
- Invest in women who in turn invest in their families. Worldwide, studies and experience have shown that when a woman is given the opportunity to earn income, she will spend it on her children and family first.
- Provide financial stability through living-wage consistent employment. Financial stability gives a woman and her family the ability to pursue new skills, educational goals, and employment opportunities.
- Provide an infrastructure of employee programs that teach essential skills, increase employability, and promote community engagement, helping women become leaders in their families and communities.
Southwest Creations knows that economic stability is vital to educational success and that youth and adults must be engaged in education together in order to end cycles of poverty. As a result of 20 years of experience, our model evolved to focus on the whole family, concentrating simultaneously on academic achievement and college readiness for children and youth and income generation and skills development for adults. Our staff learned that students do better in school when the adults in their lives have the skills they need to find and maintain employment and navigate systems.
Southwest Creations creates opportunities for our employees to build “employability skills” in English, computer skills and GED completion through our Buena Fe programs. We also know that students do better in school when the adults in their lives set their own goals for learning. So even if a mother has no aspirations for higher education for herself, her decision to take a class a few times a week has great results. The effort, commitment and process of goal-setting and problem solving that a mother invests in her own education positively impacts her children as she models the value of life-long learning and opens doors for a successful future.
Our efforts over the past two decades have helped us employ over 100 people, create 35 living wage jobs and design college-readiness programs for our employees’ children that have achieved 98% high school graduation and 85% college attendance rates. In addition to our successful social programs, our revenues have grown from $30,000 to $1.4 million annually. We work with both local and national companies including West Elm, Dwell Studios, Clariant and Ten Thousand Waves.