Meet local nonprofit Common Good + learn about its social enterprise, Matchstick Goods

Learn about the local nonprofit Common Good + how it formed its social enterprise and ceramics business, Matchstick Goods.

A group of 20+ young students sitting on the steps of a church making funny faces.

Common Good’s after school program offers a supervised space for kids to be kids. | Photo courtesy of Common Good

In case you missed it, a new local-to-Lexington partner has joined our local businesses shop Six & Main — Matchstick Goods.

But this isn’t a run-of-the-mill pottery brand. Today, we’re sharing with you a nonprofit created this social enterprise + its powerful local impact.

Meet Common Good

Common Good is a local nonprofit housed in the basement of Embrace Church in north Lexington. For the past 12 years, the team — along with ~40 volunteers — help mentor youth on the Northside.

For $10 per semester, parents can be at ease knowing their kiddos will be fed, receive homework help, and even have a little recreation time through the after-school program. Fun fact: Around 80 students in K-12 participate in the program.

As the students aged throughout the programs, organizers saw there was a new set of needs for high schoolers — job training. Enter: Matchstick Goods, an arts-based social enterprise where students are hired to create and sell pottery.

“It was a a natural extension of what we’ve been doing,” said Dan Fowler, Social Enterprise Director. “The kids were wanting good quality jobs as they were beginning to enter the workforce. And within their work, they wanted to be creative and express themselves.”

A young woman creating pottery on a pottery wheel

During the summer months, student employees design, create, and market new products. | Photo courtesy of Common Good

Molding future leaders

Through work with Matchstick Goods, participants receive training in hard and soft skills including:

  • Being a good employee
  • Punctuality
  • Communicating with your boss

Students also learn how to apply and interview for a position. “A lot of those things that they are not explicitly taught,” Fowler said.
Matchstick Goods is made up of four high school student-employees, who make $12/hr, and five additional staff. During the school year, students work five hours a week on Mondays + Thursdays and ~20 hours per week during the summer youth employment program.

How to get involved

In addition to supporting their work by purchasing items from Matchstick Goods, Common Good is always open to volunteers. You can mentor after school, in the summers, prepare meals + more.