In just over twenty years the Italian social cooperatives have become a major player in the field of social policy, as providers of social and educational services and work integration of disadvantaged people. Recently, however, many have questioned the survival of these organizations especially in the wake of the financial difficulties endured by local governments who are their main, if not exclusive, financiers. It is therefore interesting to see how these companies have performed during the crisis. This is possible using data from the balance sheet and those on employment. The results are surprising: between 2008 and 2013, in the midst of the crisis, social cooperatives showed positive economic indicators, except for the profit margin. Turnover, employment, earned income, investments and assets have grown significantly, making the Italian social cooperation relevant not only for the social value of the services supplied, but also for its capability of creating income and employment.