Welcoming Blue Circle!

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Hello everyone, my name is Emily Rangel and I am an intern at Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County. As part of my undergraduate field placement program for Collaborative Human and Health Services (CHHS) and California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB).

This week, we at Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County would like to shift the spotlight to Blue Circle; Blue Circle has been doing some amazing work in Santa Cruz County. They provide certification of livable wage based on the city of Santa Cruz Living Wage Ordinance; Additionally, the organization recognizes that the livable wage is changing by definition yearly due to inflation and cost of living. They are continuously working to collect data and gather information to keep the livable wage up to date. Below is an article providing more information on Blue Circle’s goals, mission, and values. Additional information on how to donate and become Blue Circle Certified is included, as well as the businesses and nonprofits in Santa Cruz County that Blue Circle would like to Certify! Use this link to learn more about what certification means and get Blue Circle certified. Furthermore, this Spotlight will have a second part, where we will recognize Second Harvest Food Bank as one of the first nonprofit organizations that have been Blue Circle certified.

Introductory Article By Alexander Pedersen, CEO, Blue Circle USA

Blue Circle is a newly founded non-profit in Santa Cruz County that aims to encourage sustainable local economies by providing Fair Wage certification and marketing for businesses who offer their employees a living wage. By highlighting living wage businesses, we provide our community with a resource to aid ethical consumerism and help to encourage an economy where people can afford to live and have a generally improved quality of life. We recently accepted our first certified members and are currently assisting more local businesses to meet certification requirements.

Our Fair Wage certification is freely available to businesses and organizations whose minimum salary meets or exceeds a living wage in Santa Cruz County. To become certified, complete our online form at www.bluecircle.page/apply-now. Applications will be processed by our program coordinator who will reach out to arrange a date and time to drop off your certification and marketing materials. Based on the City of Santa Cruz living Wage Ordinance, our current criteria for rates of Fair Wage are $18.10 per hour if benefits are provided and $19.74 per hour if benefits are not provided.

The concept of Blue Circle and our Fair Wage index began in 2020 after reading an article about Amazon labor conditions and thinking that there should be an easily accessible way to identify companies that support my beliefs. Although salaries are not the only indicator of ethical practice, we believed it to be a practical target with the potential to significantly benefit society.

The idea slowly developed until April of 2021 when I built a simple website and went to work learning more about non-profits and building a team. Our board of directors consists of Andrew Pedersen (Biology student at CSU Channel Islands), Valerie Thorp (Doctor of physical therapy), Taylor Abad (biology lab coordinator at UC Santa Barbara), Chris Tai (research data supervisor for the Department of Social Services), and myself, Alexander Pedersen (small business owner and mechanical engineering student at Cabrillo College). We are currently working to build our network of certified businesses and grow as an organization. and are very excited to work for this cause and see how Blue Circle develops.

There are differing views on the economics of living wages as the term living wage is most commonly known in the context of a minimum wage which can have unintended implications if laws are not aligned with market conditions. The economic theory of our Fair Wage certification is based on a growing demand for ethical consumerism. We believe that most people are inherently good willed and that empowered consumers will usually support ethical practices and encourage more businesses to naturally follow suit. Some examples of success in ethical consumerism are Fair Trade who offer their fair trade certification for products and B Corp certification which certifies corporations based on a number of ethical concerns. Visit our website to learn more about the many benefits of living wages for community members and businesses.

We are currently seeking funding to support our operations and would greatly appreciate any financial assistance. If you would like to donate to Blue Circle please click here. If you are interested in supporting our work through partnership, event collaboration or other means, please reach out to me at Alexander.dean.pedersen@gmail.com

Blue Circle is committed to helping break cycles of poverty by empowering the public to identify and support organizations who have made the commitment to fair wages, in recognition that fair wages benefit businesses, employees, and the local economy.

Follow us on Instagram @blue_circle_usa or learn more online at www.bluecircleusa.org

Alexander Pedersen
CEO, Blue Circle USA


Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County is a 501(c)3 corporation, Federal Tax ID# 87-2130376

PO Box 1894
Soquel, CA 95073

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