Why we shifted from a non-profit to a social enterprise

Why we shifted from a non-profit to a social enterprise

Toques From The Heart began with a unique product and a sustainable repurposing practice that was designed to help as many Canadians as possible. Beginning with a simple process of collecting hockey socks, repurposing them into toques, then giving them to Canadians in need, Toques From The Heart set out on a mission to support homeless Canadians, one toque at a time.

Over our first year of operations, we believed that Toques From The Heart would be best operated as a non-profit organization to support our sole mission of giving toques away and supporting homeless Canadians across the country. After a year of establishing ourselves as a non-profit, it became clear that in order for us to grow and help more Canadians every year we had to change lanes in terms of our overall structure. Thinking long-term and how we could make a larger impact, we made the shift to operate as a social enterprise moving forward.

Toques From The Heart now operates as a social enterprise that is still dedicated to giving a toque to every Canadian experiencing homelessness. 35,000 Canadians experience homelessness on any given night. We strive to provide all of them with warm and durable toques during the cold winter months. We now donate our toques Canada-wide through partnering with many amazing non-profit organizations who make gift packages for the homeless and efficiently deliver our toques to Canadians who need it most.

Why a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is an organization that uses normal “for-profit” business strategies to simultaneously grow financial and social/environmental welfare initiatives. In our case, we wanted to start a business that is not only fiscally responsible but also is giving back to our communities.

We wanted to operate Toques From The Heart in a sustainable way, without relying on monetary donations and philanthropy, but primarily through the sale of our unique hockey sock style toques. We realized that the best way to move forward and grow was to be independent and make a change by connecting the hockey community with the more than 35,000 homeless Canadians who could use one of our toques during the cold winter months.

Taking this route, we knew with full confidence that we could grow the business through investing in necessary resources such as marketing, manufacturing, and team growth so we can have a Canada-wide impact. We are now able to sell more toques than ever before and in return, we can make more toques to give to those who need it most.

Toques From The Heart and its employees have and will always be committed to delivering quality products to both its customers and the Canadians that receive our toques. No matter the title and structure of our organization, our goals and mission have stayed the same: to warm hearts across the country by supporting homeless Canadians, one toque at a time.

-Co-founders

Matthew and Casey