Every year, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce doles out its “Excellence Awards” to celebrate the successes of local businesses and nonprofits. This year, the Chamber has created a category specifically for social enterprises: The Impact PHL Award.
Named after the newly launched impact investing coalition, the award recognizes the work of a company or organization actively creating a positive social, economic and environmental impact in the region.
Message Agency, a local social enterprise that develops websites for nonprofits and foundations, beat out eight other nominees for the inaugural award.
Founder Marcus Iannozzi, who has been a strong representative of and advocate for social entrepreneurship within the tech community, local government and beyond, prides the 20-year-old company on its “narrow distribution of wages” and its diversity: 65 percent of its staff and 87 percent of its management team are women, minorities or LGBT — and the company is transgender-owned, he said.
“As a fundamentally different type of digital agency, we are truly grateful for this acknowledgement of our commitment to ensuring the sustainability, vitality, and impact of the nonprofit sector through the use of technology,” wrote Iannozzi in an email. “We maintain that commitment in many ways, including keeping our services accessible and affordable by leveraging efficiencies in our business process and charging sliding scale fees.”
Iannozzi also emphasized Message Agency’s commitment to addressing the digital divide by serving small organizations in addition to larger, higher-profile clients.
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The B Corporation has doubled in revenue and tripled in size over the past two years, said Iannozzi, and will soon be rolling out a “new product and service line” that helps organizations with tight budgets access a “full suite of digital services” to increase their impact.
It’s worth noting (if only because it’s interesting) that despite receiving an award named after a venture capital impact investing organization, Message Agency is a bootstrapped business that has not taken any outside investment.
“We help to prove that you can do well by doing good,” said Iannozzi.