Natural Grocers has joined forces with Jack and Jill of America Inc. (JJOA) for a first-of-its-kind innovative partnership to “Support America’s Families Together.” The program incorporates a multi-faceted approach:
- An investment campaign inclusive of donations, customer fundraising and ongoing sales-based giveback;
- Support for JJOA’s Graduation Assistance Program (GAP) Fund; and
- Access to job and internships opportunities, as well as Natural Grocers’ Store Manager Accelerated Readiness Training (SMART) program.
Supporting America’s families together
Founded in 1955, Lakewood, Colorado-based Natural Grocers was built on and continues to operate by its Five Founding Principles, which the company say play a key factor in its commitment to its customers and the communities it serves. JJOA, founded in 1938, is a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19, dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.
“At Natural Grocers, our core principles not only define who we are, but also who we partner with in our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities by providing access to affordable, high-quality food and nutrition education,” said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers chairman and co-president. “As our partner, Jack and Jill of America, helps us to reinforce our purpose-driven mission to all communities across the country.”
With 154 Natural Grocers in 20 states, and more than 245 JJOA chapters with more than 40,000 family members nationwide, the two organizations have established a partnership based upon their shared values of:
- Commitment to education and empowerment;
- Commitment to the communities that they serve by making high-quality affordable health and wellness choices accessible to all; and
- Commitment to providing opportunities for growth and advancement through purpose-driven institutionalized programs offered by each organization.
“Standing by our principles is paramount to the success of our organization and to our ability to keep our families and children our number one priority, so when we found our values shared amongst the team at Natural Grocers, we knew we’d found an invaluable partner,” said Danielle Brown, national president of Jack and Jill of America Inc.
The campaign started in October 2019 when each member of the Portland Willamette Valley (PWV) JJOA chapter received a Natural Grocers + Jack and Jill of America Partnership card, which when presented at a Natural Grocers check out automatically triggers an uncapped 5 percent of sales give-back to the organization.
- 2.5 percent of these purchases go directly back to participating local JJOA chapters.
- 2.5 percent of the purchases go to the JJOA GAP Fund, which provides scholarship endowments to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“We have been thrilled with the response to the Portland Willamette Valley Jack and Jill of America and Natural Grocers partnership,” said Tracy Mack-Askew, president of Portland Willamette Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. “Our members have risen to the occasion and together with our favorite organic grocer, we have truly been impacted by Natural Grocers’ investment in our families and community.”
2020 initiatives in support of the partnership and HBCU students
With the goal of raising a minimum of $120,000 for Jack and Jill of America in 2020, Natural Grocers is launching two fundraising efforts starting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20, 2020:
- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2.5 percent of all Natural Grocers sales across the country will be donated to the JJOA’s GAP Fund. The sales-based donation goal for the day is $60,000.
- Additionally, starting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020 and running through Black History Month (Feb. 29, 2020), Natural Grocers’ customers will have the opportunity to make contributions directly to the JJOA Gap Fund at any one of Natural Grocers’ 154 store locations. The fundraising goal is $60,000 of customer donated dollars.
Growing the Natural Grocers family through the JJOA partnership
Fundamental to the partnership, Natural Grocers will recruit good4u Crew team members from the JJOA network and will offer careers and training opportunities for the JJOA family network in the states it operates in, including:
- Potential career paths that include nutritional health coaching and roles in the Natural Grocers store support center and bulk food distribution center;
- Benefits, perks and discounts at Natural Grocers, structured and accelerated career paths and ongoing education and training throughout employment;
- SMART Program, a 9-month program which provides fast-tracked training to department managers to transition to store managers; and
- Internship opportunities for JJOA youth who are 18 years of age or older.