After speaking with Eric Schnell, the co-founder of Steaz, one of the most well-known organic beverage brands, it is no surprise that he and his company have just launched a really fantastic program that seeks to help women.
And, I am not just saying this because he is a fellow Bostonian.
Giving back and creating a better world is something that he has been taught his entire life.
During his childhood in the 1970s, he grew up in a house that had solar panels, spent a few years living with his family in an ashram and was fed organic food from the very beginning.
Each year since the founding of Steaz, Eric and his team have tried to do something new and different to promote these same ideals and values.
Previous endeavors include: becoming the first sparkling beverage company to have the USDA Organic seal, switching to all Fair Trade ingredients and operating a carbon-neutral business. The goal this year was to create something very their own and long-lasting.
Hence, the idea for the SEED Initiative.
The program, which stands for Social, Environmental and Economic Discovery, uses a three-dimensional model of giving. Steaz makes grants in the form of cash, products and mentoring to women who have done outstanding work in the community.
Six women, all of whom now form the committee to select future winners, have received the award this year and can direct the grant to the charity of their choosing.
The Steaz Women’s Wellness Committee’s founding members include: Judith Schnell Fogarty, Schnell’s mother and holistic psychotherapist; Chef Akasha Richmond, celebrity chef, organic food activist, author, and restaurant owner; Jennifer Greenfield, philanthropic management expert; Patty DeDominic, founder of the International Women’s Festivals and successful entrepreneur; Jean Weidemann, PhD, founder and president of the Weidemann Foundation and global pioneer of women’s development issues; and Kathryn Schuett, Editor of Organic Processing Magazine, holistic living expert, and industry champion.
According to Eric Schnell, “we wanted to do something that would be our own and that would grow and grow. Our goal was to create a program that encapsulated the good that we want to do in the world. To be able to give away millions of dollars one day to women all over the globe would be amazing.”
Full details of the SEED Initiatve will be up by the beginning of April on the Steaz website, and the company is open to receiving applications throughout the year via regular mail, the website or through its vendors/partners. Recipients will be announced each March, women’s history month, at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in California.
“As of now, there is no strict criteria for winners except that a woman has to be doing something socially good and be really inspirational,” says the co-founder.
I love what you guys are doing Eric and truly appreciate the difference that your company is making.