Blog · October 23, 2017
How Gourmondo Integrated Giving into the Everyday
Giving is an essential ingredient in Gourmondo’s recipe for running a meaningful business. Our founder Alissa Leinonen’s giving philosophy centers on a commitment to community. She strives to chose projects to which Gourmondo “can give a full commitment,” nourishing long-lasting, integrated relationships with local organizations. This holistic style of giving goes beyond one-time donations. Wherever possible, we bring the benefitting entity into our Gourmondo family—such as working with YouthCare and hiring the homeless youth they help and giving them opportunities in our company.
We choose organizations that support issues we are passionate about: fighting hunger, benefitting youth, and strengthening our local community. Gourmondo’s giving comes in many flavors including the edible – providing food to local food banks; the financial - donating proceeds from our sales; and the professional – offering internships in our company. Here’s a taste of some of our charitable endeavors to date:
The moment we heard about LunchDebt.org, we immediately reached out to them to see how we could help. LunchDebt.org was founded as an effort to end “school lunch shaming,” where students who don’t have enough money to pay for lunch are denied food, singled out with stamps or wristbands, or given an alternate meal. LunchDebt.org’s mission is to wipe out the school lunch debt in Washington state.
We are supporting LunchDebt.org with our Giving Box, a special boxed lunch created by Chef Tom Black and delivered in a custom black box. Our Giving Box is like our everyday, thoughtfully-crafted lunch boxes, but with an additional special ingredient: charitable giving. Starting this October, a portion of the proceeds of the Giving Box will benefit LunchDebt.org. As our roots started in boxed lunches, we feel it is appropriate to donate to this cause.
YouthCare is a Seattle nonprofit that supports the needs of homeless youth by providing emergency shelter, education and employment training. We began our partnership with this incredible organization last year – read about it here!—by hiring baristas from their internal training program, as well as choosing the organization as our first Giving Box recipient.
Inspired by Alissa’s belief in the importance of investing in youth and providing jobs that enrich kids with indispensable work training, Gourmondo has launched several 5-week internships for YouthCare participants. These internships are either in the kitchen, the “back-of-the-house” in restaurant lingo, or in the café, the “front-of-the house.”
We also provide a weekly meal to the roughly 40 kids in their program—we mix up the menus to get the youth excited about cooking. We are proud to use our catering expertise to fulfill an immediate need. Our YouthCare partnership illustrates how our collaborative giving model makes for a more meaningful, engaged experience.
Since February, we have donated a percentage of the proceeds of our most popular box lunch—the Roast Turkey Panini—to the ACLU of Washington to aid their work to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. As a company that employs a broad spectrum of workers, we are galvanized by the ACLU’s efforts to support ALL Americans.
To date, we’ve raised close to $7,000 thanks to the help of our amazing customers. Our ongoing relationship with the ACLU embodies Gourmondo’s commitment to our causes, and the benefit in cultivating long-term engagements.
As a top Seattle food business, Gourmondo is particularly passionate about fighting hunger in our state. Each year, we donate our “extras” to the White Center Food Bank—last year valued at roughly $15,000—and we give overages of produced meals to Mary’s Place, a nonprofit that empowers homeless women, children, and families. Alongside 15 other catering companies, we participated in the Catering4Cans initiative, motivating our staff, vendors, and neighbors to collect over 1600 cans to benefit Food Lifeline, Washington state’s largest hunger relief organization.
We hope you are inspired by our efforts to help, feed, and strengthen our local community, just as we are awed by the generous work that they do. We run our company like a family, which is why we proudly welcome those that we give to into our Gourmondo family.