Helping Hand Rewards (HHR), a Chicago-based organization that provides business development and marketing assistance to social enterprises, has added The Chicago Lighthouse to its list of mission-driven partners. HHR is helping this important social service agency promote the wall clocks made by Chicago Lighthouse Industries-its modern manufacturing facility employing blind and visually impaired workers-to the corporate, incentive, promotional, and recognition markets.
Since 1906, the Lighthouse has been a national trendsetter in providing educational, clinical, vocational, and rehabilitation services that open doors of opportunity for people with visual impairments. Chicago Lighthouse Industries holds the official contract for manufacturing clocks for the U.S. government. In a given year, it manufactures between 160,000 and 200,000 clocks distributed around the world. The sale of this merchandise helps fund a wide array of social service programs, including the nation’s oldest Low Vision Clinic, a nationally acclaimed school for children with multi-disabilities, an innovative Legal Clinic to help combat discrimination, and a VA program to assist veterans in all 50 states.
Helping Hand Rewards was founded in 2006 by Michael Arkes, CEO of Hinda Incentives. His goal in starting the organization was to stimulate mutually beneficial relationships between businesses committed to social responsibility and social enterprises, like The Chicago Lighthouse, that manufacture and sell merchandise for the sole purpose of giving people in need the knowledge and resources to take charge and improve their lives.
“With the unemployment rate for blind people hovering around 70 percent, there is a tremendous need to support the agencies and organizations working proactively to provide training, job counseling, placement services, and employment opportunities to people with visual impairments,” said Arkes. “Organizations like The Chicago Lighthouse understand the critical and fundamental importance of giving people the knowledge and resources to be economically independent and self-sufficient rather than just giving them a hand-out.”
In addition to The Chicago Lighthouse, HHR partners with nine other social enterprises that primarily focus on creating opportunities for people to overcome barriers to employment and self-sufficiency. Using a zero-based profit structure, HHR provides marketing, business development, and distribution expertise to these partners and helps them connect with potential customers. For more information, visit www.HelpingHandRewards.org.