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Academies for Social Entrepreneurship

 1006 Nancy Lane
 Costa Mesa, CA 92627
[P] (949) 500-2381
[F] (818) 225-9151
[email protected]
Betsy Densmore
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs (fiscal sponsor)
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 95-4116679 00001


Mission StatementMORE »

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship promotes innovative solutions to society's problems by providing training and mentoring for social entrepreneurs. ASE services create and sustain business ventures that meet educational, health,environmental and other pressing social needs.

Mission Statement

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship promotes innovative solutions to society's problems by providing training and mentoring for social entrepreneurs. ASE services create and sustain business ventures that meet educational, health,environmental and other pressing social needs.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Expenses $149,934.00
Projected Revenue $150,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Social Enterprise Academy

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship promotes innovative solutions to society's problems by providing training and mentoring for social entrepreneurs. ASE services create and sustain business ventures that meet educational, health,environmental and other pressing social needs.

Background Statement

Background Statement

The vitality and sustainability of the nonprofit sector is critical to California’s future. Despite the riches that California is blessed with, our state faces challenge including the highest poverty rate in the country, near the worst educational outcomes, and environmental impacts that affect our population’s health outcomes. Nonprofit leaders need to adapt the business and funding models of their organizations more rapidly than ever before. “Hybrid” or “blended” models, which draw from the best of the for-profit and non-profit sectors, can increase their income and their impact.  

Us Too Center is a nonprofit that serves autistic children and their families by providing a safe place to play and learn gymnastics. Recognizing that the organization needed to diversify revenue sources, Founder Dena Lusardi enrolled in the Social Enterprise Academy. The Academy enabled them to develop a successful and realistic business plan, and taught them to focus on how they were marketing the Center. 

In 2005, several people with Donor-Advised Funds at the Orange County Community Foundation, began talking about ways to encourage the use of social enterprise to strengthen and sustain local nonprofit organizations. Within a year, assisted by OneOC and the Foundation, they founded the Social Enterprise Institute. The Institute's core program was peer leadership forums, modeled after Vistage and YPO gatherings of business executives. The forums helped build interest and support for existing social entrepreneurs but they did not address the needs of folks who were just starting to contemplate creating a social enterprise. ASE emerged in response to this need.

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship is provoking new leadership skills and organizational capabilities for a wide range of Orange County nonprofit organizations. Through workshops and collaborative programming, ASE works with nonprofit leaders to evaluate the feasibility of social enterprise ideas, and to assemble the resources to make them successful. The goal is thriving social enterprises that helps charitable organizations to more effectively deliver on their mission and to become more self-sufficient.

Impact Statement

1) Each year, ASE typically serves approximately twenty nonprofit organizations whose teams participate in our six month business development program, the Social Enterprise Academy. During an Academy, participants select a promising, mission-related earned income strategy, and then receive training, mentoring and the chance to participate in a Venture Competition where they present their plan to potential investors.

2) ASE annually hosts over a dozen workshops and symposiums designed to educate and inspire leaders in the social sector and potential investors about the virtues of "double-bottom line" businesses;

3) ASE was retained by Oak View Renewal Partnership to help develop the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship Leadership & Opportunities (CIELO), which serves micro and social entrepreneurs from low wealth communities in Orange County. We are coordinating curriculum development for the program.

Needs Statement

We seek individual, corporate, and foundation investors to support our mission in Orange County and beyond. Programs range from $800 for a single workshop to $100,000 for a large regional "Academy."


We are also informal "brokers" for our clients. Once they have developed a solid business plan, we try to connect them with appropriate funding sources. Grants, loans or equity investments could be directed to our "graduates" to help them launch or scale their ventures.


CEO Statement

In the past nine years, ASE has produced twenty-six regional social enterprise “Academies” and three social innovation “fast pitches”. The unique combination of training, mentoring and pitch training has expanded capacity for approximately two hundred social entrepreneurs, producing more than 10 million dollars in new investment and earned income streams. Post-Academy surveys indicate that two thirds of participants launch their enterprise and 94% say that the Academy had a valuable, significant impact in the way that they manage their business and recommend it to their peers.

Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, which is fiscally sponsored by SEE, welcomes financial donations to support our service programs as well as our research and development activities. Additionally, our core programs utilize pro bono assistance from private sector entrepreneurs and professional business advisors to mentor fledgling social entrepreneurs.

Geographic Area Served

US-based projects preferred. We focus on Southern California but have done programs in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas & Nevada.Our 2016 Soc Ent Venture Challenge attracted contestants from all over the world.

Organization Categories

  1. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Economic Development
  2. Education - Management & Technical Assistance
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Leadership Development



Social Enterprise Academy

ASE’s core program is Social Enterprise Academies, which engage 8 to 12 organizations in a rigorous growth planning process. The unique combination of training, mentoring and pitch training has expanded capacity for over two hundred social entrepreneurs, producing more than 8 million dollars in new investment and earned income streams.

The cost of an Academy is a function of the comprehensiveness of the training and mentoring offered, its length and the size of the awards pool provided during the Venture Competition Showcase.
Budget  $65,000.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Organizational Development & Training
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
ASE tracks how many organizations launch a social enterprise. Studies conducted on ASE clients from one to three years after they participate, indicates that approximately two-thirds actually launch a social enterprise which stays in operation for more than two years. This benchmark means that we are solidly beating typical results in the private sector.

Moreover, unlike most investments directed at programs that have a one-time impact, each academy has a “multiplier effect.” It creates enterprises that

Ø Address community needs such as health care, nutrition, and economic development;

Ø Generate income for their host charities; and

Ø Create and/or sustain jobs.

Program Long-Term Success  Although there is much “buzz” about social entrepreneurship, almost all existing support programs are directed at for-profit entrepreneurs rather than tax-exempt organizations. ASE’s academies “level the playing field” by equipping social entrepreneurs with skills to access funding opportunities in the emerging social capital market, which is populated by a growing number of foundation programs, local philanthropists, and socially responsible investors.The feedback we have received from participants consistently acknowledges the program for shifting the way they think about the way they do business and expanding both their source of income and their impact
Program Success Monitored By  ASE has commissioned six studies to do follow up with participants in our programs. We are dedicated to tracking the fiscal and programmatic results of those we work with. We arrange for surveys and interviews with in a year of participation and again within 3 years. Besides an interest in tracking the venture's success, these evaluations have also informed ongoing program refinements.
Examples of Program Success 
We have worked with dozens of organizations. Here are three local examples of program success:
Council on Aging- Orange County hit on the idea of launching a resource guide that would serve those caring for aging family members. Besides fulfilling their mission, ad sales on line and in print make the Guide very lucrative.

The Illumination Foundation is a grassroots organization that provides integrated services to the homeless. The Recuperative Care program cares contracts with hospitals to take care of homeless patients and helps find them long term housing. The hospitals pay the Illumination Foundation a fee to assist the homeless through this process.

The SMART Foundation earns income by renting musical instruments to generate funds for music education programs.



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Betsy Densmore
CEO Term Start Oct 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Betsy Densmore has a long career of providing leadership and developing leadership in others. As Founder/Executive Director of the Academies for Social Entrepreneurship (ASE), She has worked with over two hundred not-for-profit organizations, catalyzing tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for innovative charitable ventures. Annually, one “Academy” is conducted as an Economics course at UCLA. She previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Education and Psychology, teaching in their Social Entrepreneurship and Change Masters Program, She is also a part time faculty member in the Golden West College Business Department.

Densmore is an entrepreneur herself, having founded three hospitality businesses, an insurance agency and two nonprofit organizations. In addition to running ASE, she is part owner of two Mexican restaurants. Immediately prior to launching ASE, she managed an office and lead programs for a global training and development organization for six years. Her prior experience also includes a decade of service as the Executive Director of a community foundation, running an energy services social enterprise, and serving as the Manager of Consumer and Community Affairs for a Fortune 500 retailer.

Born in Massachusetts, and a veteran of 25 years in the Midwest, she  is currently serves on the Innovative Housing Opportunities and as a Vestry Member for her church. She recently completed two terms on the board of LA Social Venture Partners. She holds an MA in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Jan Cohen Training Director

Jan Cohen has been a consultant, speaker, and trainer working with nonprofit organizations for more than 20 years. Her specialties are diversification of revenue, earned income, marketing planning, and strategic planning processes. Ms Cohen serves as Training Director of the Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, training & coaching fledgling entrepreneurs that are developing social enterprises. She also serves in Interim Executive positions in organizations with an earned income focus during periods of transition in leadership.

Ms. Cohen has been a featured speaker or trainer at more than 200 meetings and conferences within California and nationally. She has led work sessions, from 2 hours to multiple days, focused on business development or earned income strategies that diversify sources of funding while providing mission driven services. Her clients come from all corners of the social sector, from workforce development to health to environmental focused groups.

Ms. Cohen has served on the Boards of both local and national nonprofit organizations. Currently she is a member of the Social Enterprise Alliance SF Bay Board and is Vice Chair of the Board of TransAccess in San Jose.


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


All of our programs are developed in collaboration with other strategic partners such as management support organizations, universities and business associations. This helps to ensure that we are building on existing resources and NOT reinventing the wheel. The Executive Director is very involved with organizations that have symbiotic missions- such as the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship Leadership and Opportunity at Golden West College, Social Venture Partners of LA and the local chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance.

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 4
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 1
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No --
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No --
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency -- --

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Andrew Beath
Board Chair Company Affiliation Earthways Foundation
Board Chair Term Jan 2015 - Dec 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Andrew Beath Earthways Foundation Voting
Max Gail Local Access Places (LAP) Voting
Cecily Jackson-Zapata Sustainable Law Group Voting
Sarah Vaill Women With Altitude Voting
Richard Wegman -- --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Scott Bechtler-Levin Community Information Exchange Voting
Ms. Cindy Goss Propel Business Solutions Voting
Mr. Robert Greenberg RS Crum Voting
Ms. R. Christine Hershey Hershey/Cause Communications Voting
Mr. Don Kasle Aldas Partners Voting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths --
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 0%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation --

CEO Comments

ASE's legal Board of Directors are the men and women who guide Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs, listed above. However, we are more actively advised by the following Board of Advisors, many of whom reside or do business in Orange County:

Scott Bechtler-Levin brings more than 25 years of experience in executive leadership, marketing management, and strategic planning. A serial entrepreneur, he is currently works for BCG Digital Ventures. He is a former Executive Director at Community Information Exchange, which is weaving meaningful connections between health / software / nonprofits in San Diego.

Cindy Goss is CEO of Propel Business Solutions, Inc., which helps organizations develop new business and increased revenue. In the not-for-profit arena, she held executive-level positions with Orange County agencies, serving the homeless and women in crisis.

Bob Greenberg, CFP™, recently retired as a Principal at R.S. Scrum, Inc, an SEC registered investment advisory firm. An avid supporter of social enterprise, Bob has mentored several organizations through the launch process and served as chair of a Social Enterprise Leadership Forum for several years. In addition, he founded the Nonprofit President’s Forum, focused on improving not-for-profit organizations throughout Orange County.

R. Christine Hershey is the founder and catalyst for Cause Communications, guiding its overall strategic and creative vision. Her experience in both the corporate and philanthropic sectors includes such Fortune 500 companies as Disney, Wells Fargo, and AT&T (Cingular) as well as the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine and The Nature Conservancy.

Don Kasle, a retired bank CEO, is an active investor in and a coach for start-up companies through his membership in the Tech Coast Angels where he is immediate past Chair of the entire southern California organization. In addition, he serves as a Senior Consultant to TriTech SBDC in Orange and Riverside Counties.

Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Fiscal Affairs


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $150,000.00
Projected Expenses $149,934.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

Audit Documents

2013 Audited Financial Statement

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $126,612 $231,125 $78,604
Total Expenses $188,334 $170,799 $78,595

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$45,029 $55,400 $6,895
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $79,606 $175,725 $71,709
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $1,977 -- $0
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $0
Other -- -- $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $172,535 $136,932 $65,771
Administration Expense $11,445 $24,927 $12,824
Fundraising Expense -- $8,940 $0
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.67 1.35 1.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses 92% 80% 84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 16% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets -- -- --
Current Assets $5,390 $60,236 --
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
Current Liabilities -- -- --
Total Net Assets -- -- --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf nan

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets nan% nan% nan%
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments

ASE is a project of Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs, whose fiscal policies and practices are reflected in the answers above. ASE's annual  revenues are a small part of SEE's overall revenues.
ASE is annually able to conduct two Social Enterprise Academies with our current staffing. We are also exploring other strategies for supporting social enterprise and micro-enterprise development, especially in Orange County. To this end, our Executive Director is now teaching at a college and at a university.

Foundation Comments

ASE is a project of Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs.  990s belong to Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs. Summary financial data is per the financial information povided by ASE. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.