Delancey Street Foundation: Changing over 14,000 Lives and Counting

Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Entrepreneurship, Health, North America, World

In 1971, Mimi Selbert and John Maher founded Delancey Street Foundation with a paltry $1000 loan and a big dream: to provide individuals at the bottom of societal totem pole a priceless opportunity to turn their lives around. Clients include former substance abusers, former felons, teenage mothers and others individual who have hit ‘rock bottom.’

Delancey Street freely houses each individual as ‘residents’ for a minimum of 2 years and most individuals stay an average of 4 years- drug free, alcohol free and crime free. During their time at Delancey, residents work to earn a high school GED, are provided with vocational training and learn proper social and interpersonal skills, allowing them to successfully acclimate into mainstream society.

Here’s why Delancey passed our social business test.

Not only has this foundation been named the most successful rehabilitation project in the United States- turning over 14,000 lives around and counting but equally importantly, Delancey is self-sustaining and has accepted no governmental grant since its founding. Instead, it has grown into a 20 million dollar empire through the launching of a series of small businesses which provide necessary operational capital as well as providing a basic training ground for residents to acquire rudimentary entrepreneurial and business skills.

Delancey Street Foundation

  • Delancey Street Foundation is the country’s leading residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit rock bottom. Delancey was founded in 1971 and has grown to serve thousands of residents in five locations throughout the United States.
  • Organization Type: Non-Profit
  • Website:
  • Founder(s): John Maher & Mimi Silbert
  • Founded: 1971
  • Location: New York, New Mexico, Los Angeles, North Carolina
  • See complete company list here


Naiomi is passionate about business for good and social entrepreneurship. As co-founder of SocialEarth, she hopes to help create an information platform enabling those doing good to share their stories with those those seeking to help and are interested in moving our world forward.

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