Welcome to Live & Learn! Our approach emphasizes strategic partnership-building and multi-pronged approaches to address overlapping societal problems with mutually beneficial outcomes for all who are impacted. Live & Learn is premised on the idea of intersecting interests and experienced-based problem-solving by actively addressing historical lessons-learned in the context of our current systems.
Why a small business model?
With a mission to address social problems, you may be wondering why Live & Learn did not form as a non-profit. While non-profits in the United States must have a societal benefit and a "zero-balance" on the books, small businesses can serve many of the same purposes while also operating with more flexibility and efficiency.
The federal government has a set-aside for contracts to go to small businesses--and particularly those that are considered disadvantaged or underrepresented, including women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). For instance, in 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set-aside 22% of prime contracts for small businesses, and 5% for WOSBs; 33% of subcontracts to small businesses and 5% for subcontractors who are WOSBs.
This means that Live & Learn can partner with other entities that are non-profits or for-profits in order to maximize opportunities to for cross-learning with diverse community representation in science and policy. In the near future, Live & Learn will be investing in growth through local and federal small business grants and contracts, and building partnerships with other organizations who share our values. In the case of grants that must go to non-profits, Live & Learn is interested in subcontracting; in situations where a project can or must go to small businesses, Live & Learn can act as a prime applicant to expand opportunities for non-profits.
More than healthcare research?
Live & Learn will also seek to expand into media and the arts for the purposes of public education on issues of social justice and science. While it is often the case that policy-makers want hard data to make decisions on behalf of the public, the public is often galvanized by art, writing, music, film, and public protest. Live & Learn will create opportunities for engagement not just "for the powerful", but for the people.
In the near future Live & Learn will be creating a subscription-based periodical to provide the behavioral health research and advocacy communities with news and analysis from the mental health and substance use fields, as well as other fields of healthcare and other social movements and causes. It will include a range of material that critically assesses issues in research methods and civil rights movements. We will recruit writers from other disciplines and movements to demonstrate the intertwining nature of society.
Additionally, Live & Learn will emphasize entrepreneurship with an anti-poverty motive. Often it is the most disadvantaged in our society that are negatively impacted by a culture of acceptable volunteerism--people with disabilities, women, and people of color paid less than counterparts, students forced to intern for free to get ahead, an idealistic reliance on volunteering to take the place of necessary services for people. For as long as we claim that volunteerism is anti-capitalist (and therefore in the public's best interest), selected members of society will remain disadvantaged. Live & Learn is dedicated to promoting sustainable capacity among groups of people who traditionally have had fewer opportunities for self-sufficiency--and hence what we call "recovery" in the behavioral health sector.
Live & Learn will also build a membership and professional network structure of people who have "lived it" and people who have "learned it" in order to pool intellectual, political, financial, and social resources. We are particularly interested in networking with other organizations and businesses that are owned by women, people with disabilities, veterans, and people of color.
We want you!
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