Changing Lives Through Gourmet Food
By Alison Hamm, Grassroots Staff Writer
This is the first impact update in a three-part series featuring some of our favorite social venture partners. The series celebrates our reaffirmed commitment to businesses doing good with the launch of Groupon Grassroots for Social Ventures.
Purchasing salsa is typically not a life-changing event, no matter how tasty the blend. But when Groupon Grassroots customers bought a southwest-salsa mix from the Women’s Bean Project, they were helping change a woman’s life.
The southwest-salsa mix is just one example of the gourmet food and jewelry made by women participating in Women’s Bean Project’s job-training program, and one of the products that was featured in the organization’s recent campaigns—including its April 2012 campaign—with Groupon Grassroots. As part of WBP’s six- to 12-month job-training program, women with significant barriers to success, including chronic poverty, felony convictions, or histories of addiction, develop the necessary talents and skills to build a stable career. During the program, women participate in both part-time work and life-skills training, which is supported by the sale of the products the women are learning to make. Over the course of its three campaigns, the organization has raised $14,220, enough to provide 56 women with five months of life skills training or allow 142 women to attend forklift training.
Women’s Bean Project CEO Tamra Ryan says the national campaign with Groupon Grassroots was a key way to expand their reach. While the organization is based in Denver, they can ship products everywhere across the country. Yet they had not fully tapped the national market. Ryan explained that exposure generated by the Grassroots campaign led to a whole new audience of customers—and even better, “those people become our ambassadors,” she says.
“The concept resonates with people all over the country, just knowing they’re helping these women.”
A born and bred Hoosier, Alison Hamm now lives in Chicago’s Logan Square, where she spends too much time explaining how small her hometown is and searching for bars with Hamm‘s Beer specials.