NYC green company Urban Stone diverts stone construction waste from landfills and recycles it into green building materials. But in addition to improving the environment, they are also committed to boosting economic empowerment for urbanites through an innovative business model that provides meaningful employment and upward mobility to the formerly incarcerated and inner city jobless. The innovative initiative partners with non-profits to offer training programs that lead to good jobs which include profit-sharing and company ownership.


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“Jobs that economically empower lives and families are needed to solve our inner city crisis,” says social entrepreneur and founder of Urban Stone, Mary Cunningham. “There is untapped talent in the inner city that is overlooked. Barriers like criminal records, lack of work experience and skills, keep people in poverty and prison.”

Urban Stone’s hiring goal is 465 at risk and formerly incarcerated workers. Their website claims that bringing on just 30 juvenile delinquents would save the city $8 million annually and begin to reduce the astronomical costs of America’s prison system, which consumes four percent of the nation’s GDP. The website states that “by economically empowering the urban poor, we free up tax expenditures so that investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure, deficit reduction and other critical programs can be made.”

Related: The Empowerment Plan Provides Detroit’s Homeless with Warm Coats That Double as Sleeping Bags

Social Market Maker (SMM) is the parent company of Urban Stone. This is the first incubation for the socially responsible company that is a green building materials incubator and operator. One of the formerly incarcerated is a man named Alex Arceneaux who the company highlights in a Root for Alex video series. When Areneaux is released from prison, he will have a job waiting for him at Urban Stone.

+ Urban Stone

+ Social Market Maker

Image via Urban Stone