Obtaining one of the world’s top scores as a Certified B Corporation is just the beginning for Kansas City-cultivated Travois.
“Part of why we are different is because [the product] we have and offer is really impactful,” Elizabeth Glynn, CEO, said in explanation of how Travois — a company that promotes housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities — works to develop strong, sustainable communities.
Travois earned a Certified B Corp impact score of 134 — out of 200 possible points — in April, making it the third Missouri company to do so and the highest-rated in the state, noted Glynn’s husband, Phil Glynn, Travois president and 2019 Kansas City mayoral candidate.
Nationally recognized companies such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Athleta top the certification list.
“One of the things that B Corp measures is benefit activities — our core business is a benefit activity,” declared Phil Glynn. “Nothing against Ben & Jerry’s, but if you’re a consumer product company … its kind of like ‘We make a thing,’ but we also want to try to be a really good company and treat our people, treat the world well … but it’s over here on the side.”
At Travois, every business decision is run through a lens of people-focused impact, said Phil Glynn.
“Working with our clients to make the world a better place is the core business. That’s what we’re paid to do. It’s what we hire people to do. It’s what our board tells us to do … what our investors expect us to do. That is our core business, “ he said of reasons why the company secured such a high score.
Unranked in the rating: compassion and understanding, traits that drive business at Travois, said Elizabeth Glynn.
“The United States government has failed over the centuries to live up to the promises they made in exchange for treaties that were signed with tribes,” she added, detailing Travois’ work in Indian Country — the term used by clients to define all U.S. land inhabited by indegnious peoples.
“To understand our business, you have to understand the situation that a lot of tribes are in today, which is a severe under investment in infrastructure and affordable housing and all the other things that communities struggle with — but Indian Country started at a place that was even further disinvested,” she elaborated.
As forgotten communities across the U.S. found revitalization, Native American reservations were further neglected, she explained, further detailing the need for and mission behind Travois.
“When our business started, affordable housing was a crisis on Indian reservations. It remains a very, very difficult thing in many communities — but we’ve made a lot of strides and we’ve helped our clients build over $1.4 billion worth of economic development and affordable housing in our almost 25 years,” she said, adding that Travois is second only to the U.S. government in total investment in such communities.
Building such infrastructure as roads, sidewalks, and sewers in addition to providing communities with access to food, healthcare, water, and electricity are key focuses for Travois, the couple said of what’s to come.
“We do have the luxury and the privilege of helping really move forward some of these amazing projects all at the direction of our clients,” Elizabeth Glynn said. “We have great connections and we have employees who can really think creatively about how to solve problems. …We have an enormous pipeline of deserving projects and there’s never enough money out there for all of them but we’ve had more success than most …”
Investing in communities also brings businesses to the table and helps revitalized areas build a future, noted Phil Glynn.
“Tribes have to fill in the gaps from all these broken promises by the federal government for 200 years,” he said. “[What we do is] all about the communities. Take the lead. Say what the goals are.”