Grass roots before our official nonprofit status in 2006, we analyze what’s broken, find solutions, remove obstacles, raise awareness, forge alliances, support visionary change-makers, and foster best practices in social entrepreneurship. Since our inception, many major world events have taken place, including: The Great Recession (2007-09); Bailouts (Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008); Government Shutdown (2013);  Protests including the Arab Awakening (2010), Occupy Wall Street (2011), Black Lives Matter (2013), and Dakota Access Pipeline (2016);  Outbreaks including Ebola, Sars, Dengue Fever, Cholera, MERS, H1N1 Swine Flu, Zica; BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; Japan Fukushima Reactor Level 7 Meltdown; Rising Terrorism; Syria Refugee Crisis; Pope Francis (2013); Brexit; and a divisive and brutal U.S. election (2016).  What a roller-coaster! There’s an old curse: “may you live in interesting times.”  We certainly do.  Yet we’ve always stayed on-message: in harmony with hope.  

We got our start before America’s Great Recession brought the plight of many Americans to common awareness. We saw ourselves on the “cutting edge of hope” so we focused on shining a light on (and mitigating the effects of) domestic poverty and inequality.   Since inception we have:

  • Launched our Breathing Butterfly App to fight toxic stress, at
  • Launched our free Elfenworks Center for Nonprofit Information Security Collaboration, at
  • Established the world’s largest student social justice film award in partnership with Campus Moviefest. [read morecsumb2015
  • Encouraged student social entrepreneurship, with scholarships at California State University Monterey Bay in California (pictured).
  • Fostered social entrepreneurship, with international lectures including India, Jordan and Australia. 
  • Launched social entrepreneurship education in China, with the Elfenworks Star of Hope scholarships and social entrepreneurship competition at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, China [read more].
  • Awarded In Harmony with Hope Awards to 30 visionaries, with $25,000 stipends, and encouraged many others with Elfen Works awards.
  • Established the Elfenworks Center for Socially Responsible Business at St. Mary’s College, dedicated to fostering best practices in business, governance, and social responsibility, to promote real and positive sustainable change in the world today. [read more]
  • Established the Elfenworks Center for Employment Justice at Golden Gate University and fostered an ongoing class on poverty law. We also designed their website and supported a SALT conference on educating students in poverty law issues. [read more]
  • Helped Mills College to establish their Center for Responsible Business. [read more]
  • Built and launched the first website for Stanford’s Center on Poverty & Inequality,, co-sponsoring / producing / filming the gala event A Concert for Hope. We then attempted, with Stanford, what we think may have been a first-ever official partnership between Stanford and Harvard.  Stanford grew to one of three National Poverty Centers; now only Stanford remains.  [Stanford] [CPR] [Concert for Hope]
  • Supported UCSF Springer Lab’s research into the effects of second-hand smoke including marijuana smoke and e-cigarette vapor, and created a quit smoking public service announcement. [UCSFQuit Smoking]
  • Raised awareness, with projects such as: co-producing the award-winning awareness-raising film The Faces of Poverty [read more]; our art book and exhibit Tracks of Hope [book, exhibit];  our film A Concert for Hope [read more], and by funding IPS’ report The Poor Get Prison [read more].
  • With faculty from our academic partners, ran an online “unconference,” on responsible business entitled Fair Truth,  on 11/11/11. [read more
  • Helped nonprofits with their websites, including:, UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, Mills College CSRB, and Kelly Avenue Catholic Worker, and others, and attended various local events, sometimes sponsoring an Elfenworks table.  
  • On March 4th of 2016, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at our new permanent location in San Mateo, California.

Such successes can only be achieved with a strong team, and on Thanksgiving, 2016 we celebrated the ten-year anniversaries of seven team members and trustees.  Our team’s deep institutional knowledge and commitment are a source of strength and pride, and bring us unique strategic advantages.