RSF Seed Fund Grantee Provides Smart and Compassionate Delivery

RSF Seed Fund Grantee Provides Smart and Compassionate Delivery

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RSF Social Finance provides a Seed Fund Grant to B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery in support of their B-shares program.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 2:40pm


Here at RSF, we are always thrilled to hear about for-profit and non-profit enterprises taking innovative actions to catalyze social and environmental change.  During this year’s Seed Fund grantee selection process, B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery quickly caught the attention of the RSF staff selection committee.  Take a look at why we are so thrilled to support this organization.

What does a sustainable city look like?  That is the question B-Line has set about to answer for the city of Portland, Oregon.   B-Line is a founding B-Corporation and seeks to rigorously measure not only financial success, but the social and environmental impact of their business activities.  B-Line is a delivery company serving Portland’s downtown core with zero-emission vehicles.

The company’s B-share program, also leverages the sunken costs of their existing delivery routes to pick up and deliver surplus food to agencies providing food assistance at a cost of 50% or less than existing food assistance networks.  Employees make seven or more round trips daily on 800-pound capacity cargo trikes to various grocers, restaurants and other food providers, utilizing a reverse logistics model to pick up and deliver surplus food to those in need in the urban core. With established food donor partners such as Whole Foods Market, the Doubletree Hotel, local farmers’ markets, and other grocers and event caterers, B-Line makes regular, daily pickups of surplus food and delivers it to its recipient partners—Portland Rescue Mission, Sisters of the Road, Blanchet House, and St. Francis Dining Hall—on return routes to its warehouse facility.

Since its inception in July 2010, B-Line has delivered over 30,000 pounds of food (roughly 23,000 meals) to their recipient partners, at a cost of approximately $0.50/meal.  Their goal is to deliver 60,000 meals (78,000 pounds of food) in 2011.  Because of B-Line’s capacity to provide time-sensitive delivery directly from donor to recipient, the B-share program offers a unique solution to the delivery of fresh, perishable food products such as produce, juices, whole grain breads, and prepared foods, dramatically increasing access to these healthy food choices to underserved populations.

Powerful metrics about B-Line’s impact include:

  • Delivery to over 200 destinations in downtown and close-in Portland

  • Nearly 10,000 truck/van deliveries replaced with 12,000 pedal-powered miles

  • 50,000 lbs of carbon dioxide reduced

  • 400,000 lbs of food carbon-free food delivered to local businesses

  • 40,000 lbs of food delivered to people experiencing hunger in Portland

The RSF Seed Fund provides small gifts (between $1,000 and $5,000) to launch new, mission-aligned initiatives that fall within one of RSF’s  three focus areas—Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

To learn more about the RSF Seed Fund and how you can help support new and inspirational projects like this one, click here.

Catherine Covington is Program Associate, Philanthropic Services at RSF Social Finance.