By Kelly Medinger
The League for People With Disabilities uses human services grant to generate jobs and revenue
Words like “variable data printing” and “tray sequence numbers” are standard vocabulary at League Industries, a program of The League for People with Disabilities. As a full-service print and mail house operation, League Industries utilizes an array of commercial-grade automated equipment and an affirmative business model employing people with and without disabilities to do over $1 million of business every year.
Taking League Industries from Small Shop to Big Business
League Industries was founded in 1933 to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Over the past 80 years, the operation has evolved from a small workshop where people with disabilities constructed lampshades, to an affirmative, social enterprise that has successfully secured major direct mail and printing contracts from local, state, and private business entities.
The League for People with Disabilities (“The League”) offers individuals the opportunity to gain independence, increase self-sufficiency, and improve their overall quality of life through rehabilitative and support programs. League Industries is a special program of The League that provides employment for skilled individuals with physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities, while also helping to subsidize The League’s general programming.
“League Industries was founded as a way to keep people employed and perform job training. But it’s become a real social enterprise,” shares David A. Greenberg, CEO of The League. Indeed, League Industries’ business has grown 35% over the last two years. It generated nearly $170,000 for The League last year. “Frankly, the financial support from this operation helps us run important programs like our state-of-the-art wellness center and provide more scholarships to Camp Greentop, which are important to both our clients and the broader community,” remarks Greenberg.
How a Grant Augmented the Capacity of the Enterprise
The Knott Foundation has awarded more than $150,000 to The League since 2000. The most recent grant allowed League Industries to hire a Customer Service Representative and purchase commercial-grade mail house equipment, including a high capacity paper cutter, binding machine, printer and envelope inserter.
With the help of the added staff, League Industries was able to focus on more intense business development activities. Thanks to the Knott Foundation’s support, the added staff and machinery enabled League Industries to secure new, multi-year contracts worth over $250,000. Meanwhile, the new staff person was able to implement a more regular billing system, which reduced the number of outstanding account balances four-fold and increased the cash flow of the operation.
The benefits, however, extend far beyond financial subsidies. “Seeing League Industries makes you think about how important work is to life. In the typical workplace, you tend to hear people complain about work. But here, people love to work. Here, work is like gold,” says Greenberg.