San Dimas resident Clint Berry wants to make social entrepreneurship a household term.
The 31-year-old CEO founded the Glendora-based nonprofit Experiment Inc. to create “a better brand of capitalism.” The nonprofit group launched the program Mark It Place Inc, which allows consumers and businesses to donate a portion of their transactions to the local nonprofits of their choice.
“We’re teaching consumerists to think differently and realize that they have the power over the system,” said Berry.
Through the use of a mobile app, consumers and businesses can log in their transactions at participating businesses to make sure a portion of the money goes to their favorite nonprofit.
Having just launched a month ago, Berry said about 40 local businesses in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and other surrounding communities have already pledged their support, donating anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of transactions to local nonprofits of their choice.
While still in its developing stages, the program has raised hundreds of dollars for local nonprofits, including Shepherds Pantry, Stepping Stones for Women and a number of local churches.
“We love the part that we got to choose the percentage we donate,” said Joyanne Postajian of Martha’s Candy. The downtown candy shop is donating 20 percent of purchases made to Stepping Stones for Women. “We already have seen quite a few customers come in using Mark It Place.”
While the program gives businesses the opportunity to give back to their community, there’s also something in it for business owners.
“It’s a great way to attract new customers,” said Berry.
Berry said Mark It Place initially got its start through one of Berry’s MBA projects while a student at Walden University.
“I wanted to merge my values and business and give young people an opportunity to be a part of something in the real world, but still live for others,” said Berry.
Although the country’s economics is constantly at the center of national political debate, Berry, a former youth pastor and graduate of Life Pacific University in San Dimas, said the inspiration for the program has more to do with his faith than politics.
“We’re not trying to make things Democrat or Republican,” said Berry. “We don’t have any political systematic agendas or anything. Just the fact that there’s so much extravagance and waste when there’s so much hurting in the world and there’s so much resources out there that can change lives, inspires us.”
Part of the program’s proceeds goes to Experiment Inc., although Berry said his eight-member team is made up of all volunteers who all have other full-time jobs. Berry currently works as a server at the Green Street Tavern in Pasadena.
“The whole idea, as lofty as it may be, is that we want profit serving people and not people serving profit,” said Berry.
Berry said their mobile app, as well as their website, is still a work in progress, as the organization prepares relaunch its site in several weeks.
But he’s hoping the small venture will grow into a national effort.
“It would be great to get on a plane to New York, and then use the app to eat at a restaurant that supports your favorite nonprofit,” said Berry.
But for now, Berry said Experiment Inc. is focused on making an impact in one community at a time.