Toward a More Sacred Economy
At Uplift, we believe in the potential of business. Unfortunately, today’s economy celebrates power, control, and wealth. Conventional companies reward their owners with these perks, and the result is cut-throat competition, short-term thinking, and work that deadens the soul.
But a new class of entrepreneurs is structuring their businesses differently, inviting stakeholders to participate, developing fresh approaches to timeless needs, and sharing surplus with the community. When focused on these outcomes, businesses contribute to positive social change.
The truth is, the way a company is funded matters. Distant owners cannot comprehend the impact their decisions have on a local community. This model that maximizes the financial return for outside investors is not only outdated, it threatens the well-being of people, who want to exchange their gifts at work, and our planet.
By thinking long-term and remaining independent and steward-owned, we are insulating Uplift from the pressure to deliver for shareholders. Our management philosophy weaves together the best of free market, cooperatives, startup culture, movement building, and mindfulness. Those closest to the work make the important decisions. Over time, we intend to encode our values legally in the organizational charter. Uplift is a living organism, and our team serves as stewards of its evolutionary purpose, offering our collective head, heart, and hands to bring its ideas into form.
Success is measured by how well we fulfill our mission, not by the size of our profits. Any surplus is reinvested in the enterprise, distributed to our stakeholders, or donated to charity.
Uplift is the first venture to emerge out of a new social innovation lab based in Salt Lake City. Our in-depth interviews with people in the area revealed a series of tensions many experience in the workplace:
- Purpose. Success feels empty when work isn’t connected to making a meaningful difference in the world.
- Power. Although people long for more autonomy at work, they act cautiously to avoid those in power coming down on them.
- Growth. Developing professional excellence is deeply satisfying, yet growth involves more than skills — it’s about wholeness.
- Trust. People want to bond with their co-workers but seek reassurance they won’t jeopardize their position when they reveal their truths.
- Money. Workers expect fair compensation. But once a financial comfort threshold is met, they prioritize contributing their talents to a greater cause.
- Burnout. Managing chronic stress is considered an individual’s responsibility even though our current system is designed to create unrelenting pressure.
This lab uses market forces to address challenges afflicting our community, not only through products and services that serve unmet needs but also by building these businesses differently. With each new project, a more sacred economy that alleviates suffering and supports human flourishing comes into being.