We believe that being a co-op obligates us to leverage our success in support of our members' ideals — recognizing that our success is due in part to the fact that we so closely share those ideals. Our respectful and supportive participation in all the communities affected by our co-op — from the smallest to the world community — is a core value that drives our actions.
In 2014 we gave back a total of $586,563 — more than twice the total of any previous year. This amount was just under our plan goal of $592,479.
We have a social spending objective to support and fund causes that are in alignment with our mission and values. As part of our commitment to transparency with our stakeholders, we report on our total donations and the specific organizations, causes, and activities they support each year. Please email us if you have comments, questions or suggestions related to these activities.
Frontier Co-op has a number of separate social giving funds to draw upon for donations and project support. The Frontier Foundation is funded primarily through member patronage donations. The Simply Organic 1% Fund gives one percent of all Simply Organic sales to support organics. And the Aura Cacia Organic 1% Fund supports the brands organic grower communities. There is also a newly established Seafood Seasoning Fund that gives 1% of those products sales to help restore America's wetlands — it will make its first donations in 2015.
Total Grants and Donations by Source for the Last Five Years
|Simply Organic 1%||135,067||140,540||103,020||100,577||377,303|
|Aura Cacia 1%||—||—||14,106||12,941||—|
We breakdown our social giving for tracking purposes into six groupings — research; herb, spice and co-op associations and conferences; organic and sustainability organizations; Well Earth; Fair Trade; and other charitable giving. The chart below shows the amounts for each grouping. It's notable that well over half of our contributions go directly to improving life in supplier communities through our Well Earth program. The Fair Trade premiums we pay, which are not yet available for last year, also directly help these communities.
Total Past Year Giving by Category
|H&S/Co-op Assn & Conf||1,000|
|Organic & Sust Org||128,431|
Below is a look at the funds and their latest donations.
The Frontier Foundation is one source of our social giving. It is a third-party administered fund, established in 2000 to make grants that “support dynamic, social, educational, and environmental causes.” Only non-profit registered (501 3c) organizations (or their equivalent outside of the United States) are eligible to apply for these grants.
The Foundation made grants totaling $ 167,342 in 2014. The largest donations were for microlending in the communities where we source products ($50,000) and support for research at the Rodale Institute and Organic Center.
Frontier Foundation Donations for 2014 include:
$13,500 American Red Cross (Grant Wood Area Chapter)
$6,100 North Central Honor Flight
$3,490 Mercy Medical Center
$1,520 JDRF International
$1,081 Alzheimer's Association
One percent of all of Simply Organic net sales goes to causes that benefit organic farming and organic farmers. An important part of our social giving portfolio, SO1% is making a difference for organic farmers around the world. The total amount of SO1% grants made in 2014 was $377,303.
Simply Organic 1% Donations for 2014 include:
The Simply Organic 1% Fund is also the source of funding for many of the projects benefiting the communities of our Well Earth partners, such as our 2012 project of building wells in 38 villages in Madagascar.
For more information about our Simply Organic 1% Fund and donations, click here.
One percent of all sales of organic Aura Cacia products is donated to grower communities around the world. The first grant from the fund was made in early 2012 for $14,106 to build a pre-school for rural Madagascar children of ylang ylang oil farmers. Our grant paid for building and furnishing the pre-school. The following year, we provided about $13,000 worth of simple harvesting equipment to improve the safety of harvesting baobab in Senegal. There were no Aura Cacia Organic 1% Fund donations in 2014, but the fund is accruing money and assessing potential future projects.
Other donations include those allocated by the employees who staff our Community Giving Team. These monies go to charities, events and causes in our local communities where our employees live. The team also organizes the annual Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer and The Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Bowl for Kids' Sake fund-raiser.
We also strongly encourage community giving through employee volunteer time. We offer eight hours of paid volunteer time for each employee that may be used for a charitable event or project of the employee's choosing. There is a "bank" provision so people can donate unused hours for others to borrow. Unfortunately, less than 20% of volunteer hours are currently utilized. We are seeking ways to increase participation — we would like to see at least half of our employees take advantage of this benefit.
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