FRBuyer: FISH (Food Industry Serving Heroes) is Born

Discussion
May 24, 2013

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.

Some wounded veterans will soon be getting wheelchairs and service dogs, thanks to a $25,000 donation by the Southeast Association of Frozen & Refrigerated Food Councils last month during its annual conference in Hilton Head, SC.

The Councils made the donation to FISH (Food Industry Serving Heroes), a new 501(c)3 non-profit foundation whose mission is to provide active duty military and veterans with not only wheelchairs and service dogs, but financial literacy and jobs within the food industry.

"I was totally blown away by the generosity of the Southeastern leadership," Gary Spinazze, VP of vendor relations, Nash Finch Company, the wholesale food distributor, and vice chairman of FISH. "Their concern for the heroes that protect us every day is above and beyond the call. I only hope their example is copied as we launch the FISH Foundation and continue work on the causes that mirror the council’s values."

Other officers on the FISH board are: Paul Chapa (chairman), managing partner of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer; Johnny Harris (treasurer), retired Harris Teeter executive and contributing editor of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer; and Bob Savage (secretary), VP of sales at DeWafelbakkers.

Members of the board — which includes industry executives and the military — serve as volunteers so that funds raised can go directly to the support of active duty troops and veterans. They are supported by advisors with special expertise in the four pillars of FISH:

  1. Support, including emergency financial help or employment assistance through industry companies.
  2. Guidance, including personal financial literacy courses and spouse workshops.
  3. Recognition, including Heroes’ Dinners. (Cargill has generously provided meat for these events.)
  4. Health and welfare, including "Wags and Wheels," providing wheelchairs and service dogs to those in need.

The idea for FISH was born at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 of this year, shortly after a Heroes Dinner was held at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC. The four mentioned board members had been coming together regularly to serve meals on military bases to Marines who had been commended for heroism or community service. The experience was always intensely moving, both for the Marines and the people who served the meals. Ideas for FISH quickly fell into place, and the organization received its non-profit status on March 8.

"Away from their roles serving our country, service members are like everyone else," Mr. Chapa notes. "They often experience the same day-to-day trials that we all do. We have found, however, that there are times that they are very reluctant to ask for help. It is part of their ethos and training that drives them to focus on others first, not themselves."

What’s the key to success for such industry-supported, cause-related organizations? How does collaboration around causes differ from those around operational issues? Can organizations such as this take hold in other industries?

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "FRBuyer: FISH (Food Industry Serving Heroes) is Born"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Debbie Hauss
BrainTrust

I am always glad to see charitable efforts on the part of for-profit companies. Collaboration around causes is different because it’s more emotional. But working together on these types of issues also strenthens operational functions.

RetailROI is another great example of the retail industry coming together to for a charitable cause. Industry executives, analysts, media partners and family members work together to raise money to help orphans around the world.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Great cause, Kudos to FISH.

Clearly, any effort to support a cause has to be genuine if it’s going to succeed and be meaningful. Trying to fake an altruistic cause or masking a hidden agenda won’t stand the light of scrutiny, will fail, and even do damage to its supporters. Collaboration from a varied group of supporters and skill sets is always more powerful than limiting resources, possibly more so in charitable/altruistic endeavors.

Yes, other industries can be inspired by FISH—there’s no shortage of goodwill to go around.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
4 years 29 days ago

There are many people with compassionate natures who can choose to live above the level of selfishness and moral squalor and pursue worthy causes.

There is a difference in collaboration around various issues. Organizational issues that are controlled by the mind create collaboration out of self-interests. Cause-related matters are frequently not so much controlled by the mind, but rather by the human heart. We see that occurring in numerous industries today.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

This is a great program. One big key is to create awareness with the marketplace. Drive the enthusiasm into the retail outlets, collaborate with more CPG brands, online merchants, etc.

Cause-related marketing has been in existence for decades. Create a true loyalty program around this, where purchase “points” can go towards donations and then recognize the donations publicly. Create a huge buzz around every aspect of the effort.

This can work in most any industry.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

Just doing something to help others without an alternative motive. It is not what you do when people are looking, it’s what you do when no one is looking.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
4 years 29 days ago

The key to success is involvement. Organizations in any industry can take hold with the right individuals who care about the cause. Kudos to FISH and good luck! What a great cause. They should connect with another charity called “Cell phones for soldiers.” They refurbish and donate old cell phones for soldiers and their families.

Ron Margulis
BrainTrust

The cause itself is most often the key success factor for industry supported charitable efforts. Certain causes are naturals—supermarkets and their suppliers supporting food banks and toy companies supporting children’s hospitals, for instance. When there isn’t that direct connection, there is more than occasionally a challenge. It could very well appear disingenuous for a candy company to work with its convenience store customers on a campaign against diabetes.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
4 years 29 days ago
While not exactly applicable to the questions asked, I listened to an interesting TED talk the other day that really turned my whole way of thinking regarding fund raising associations. The common way I (and I think many others) have measured the effectiveness of a charitable organization has been a ratio of overhead to total revenue or the ratio of actual giving that goes to the clients. The thought being that we don’t want our donations going to high administrative expenses instead of reaching the target audience. The point of this TED talk was that the ratio is important, but not necessarily the most important factor. Often the overhead such as advertising, well paid executives who are good leaders, local fundraising events, etc. can help more people by increasing the total amount they are able to raise for their clients. If increased overhead creates a much larger pie, the fact that one charity has higher overhead than another may not be the right way to measure effectiveness. The challenge with this whole perspective is that no one knows what the total possible revenue might become. We do know by looking at private enterprise that companies who reward their employees well… Read more »
Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Mel said it so well. It is what you do when no one is looking. Causes are important because of the emotional response and benefit to the recipients. This is especially meaningful. These wounded warriors certainly can use our assistance working their way back into society after having protected our borders and the rights of others. Kudos to those who are involved.

Carrie Pascarella
Guest
Carrie Pascarella
4 years 29 days ago

The project a company chooses to take part in is not the key aspect of a charity event. The important thing is that the company is giving back to the community. However, in doing so, the company is able to get their name out there, such as an advertising investment. In addition, people and potential customers are more likely to engage in business with companies that have a humble, professional reputation which is established through the charity events. While I am not suggesting a charity event simply to enhance business, I do believe that it is a great business approach that is a “win, win” situation for both parties.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Is it tougher for industries to collaborate around operational issues or causes?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...