Venture Spotlight on DIIRI: Empowering Individuals and Families in the Community


2014 was a big year for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, whose IITranslates business is expected to exceed a million dollars in sales, making it one of the largest interpreting and translation service businesses in Rhode Island. However, increasing the bottom line doesn’t just mean growing their organization, it also means Dorcas will be able to extend their immigration and refugee services to more deserving individuals and families.

DIIRI was founded on June 28, 2011 when The International Institute of Rhode Island and Dorcas Place adult and family literacy merged, combining Dorcas’ highly regarded adult education and workforce development programs with International Institute of Rhode Island’s myriad of human services for immigrants and refugees. Today, the organization strives to “empower individuals and families, especially the underserved, immigrants, and refugees, to become self-sufficient and fully participating members of our diverse community through innovative programs and advocacy that promote education, training, and cultural understanding.” From refugee resettlement, to running the states largest legal immigration service, to GED and college readiness, and family literacy, DIIRI is committed to creating and sustaining programs that provide life-long tools for self-sufficiency and success.

A recent participant in SEG’s Huddle program, Dorcas couldn’t be more excited to continue their growth and prepare for the next stages of their business. Kathleen Cloutier, CEO of Dorcas writes:

“I found the SEG Huddle to be a unique service offering for social enterprises; one I’ve not previously seen before.  As a process to assist ‘well established’ ventures in developing strategies to move their business to the next level of growth and development, I found it to be extremely productive in prodding us to think differently about how we view ourselves.  SEG provided a team of business professionals to ask provoking questions, offer innovative ideas, and assist us with system analysis and developing our strategic roadmap. Although provided at no cost, the value of these professional level services is worth thousands of dollars in the for-profit sector, and is truly invaluable for the not-for-profit entrepreneur.  Thank you SEG!”

For SEG and Dorcas, strategizing plans for growth is exciting because it means Dorcas will be able to help more families like Egle Rosales, who before going through Dorcas’ Family Literacy program was unable to help her children, who were failing in elementary school. An immigrant from Guatemala, Egle didn’t have the tools, resources, or English skills to help her children with their homework, or navigate the U.S. education system. Now Egle is doing more than supporting her children in their school work, she’s helping shape their educational future by serving as an active member on their schools PTO board.

It’s stories like Egle’s that inspire the work that Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Dorcas do every day, and we hope stories like Egle’s inspire you to help continue to grow social enterprise in Rhode Island. Learn more about how you can help support Social Enterprise Greenhouse here.

Emily Mooney
Impacts and Metrics Manager

Emily is excited to join the Social Enterprise Greenhouse team as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She recently earned a B.A. in Psychology, Business, and Women and Gender Studies from Franklin & Marshall College, where she also served as a captain of its equestrian team. Her interest in social enterprise stems from coursework in business and women and gender studies, as well as her former role as a research assistant in F&M’s business department, where she worked to increase awareness and knowledge about gender based discrimination and harassment in service based industries. Through her work at Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Emily is excited to contribute to the growth of the Rhode Island social enterprise ecosystem, as well as to support her particular interest in empowering women through enterprise and access to opportunity.