Nominated by Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Indian Creek Nature Center, Catherine McAuley Center and Willis Dady Homeless Services for Outstanding Large Philanthropic Organization.
Frontier Co-op, a Norway, Iowa-based company that offers a full line of products for natural living including culinary and bulk herbs and spices, teas, and aromatherapy products, has provided more than $1 million of support to organizations and projects in this region since 2017.
Each year, Frontier Co-Op gives back 4% of its pre-tax profits to causes and organizations around the world that inspire wellness in communities where their products are produced. The Frontier Co-Op Giving Fund at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation alone has provided grants to more than 150 different nonprofit organizations since it was established in 2000.
From the company’s earliest years, they trained farmers around the world to grow organically to protect themselves and the environment from toxic chemicals. As they grew, they created charitable funds for each of their three brands, Aura Cacia, Simply Organic, and Frontier Co-Op, to implement their social giving. They actively support local organizations through through monetary donations and sponsorships, in-kind donations and employee volunteer time.
Recent philanthropic projects in Eastern Iowa include donations to the HACAP Food Reservoir and Mobile Pantry, support for Table to Table’s Big Truck program which distributes substantive food donations to pantries throughout the area, and Matthew 25’s Groundswell Cafe, an organic pay-it-forward restaurant that allows patrons to receive a fresh meal at whatever price they are able to afford. Other innovative efforts include initial funding and volunteer support for Indian Creek Nature Center’s Etzel Sugar Grove Farm and the Midwest Organic Center, which brings together Indian Creek Nature Center and Rodale Institute of Pennsylvania as expert resources and pioneers to help start a new chapter of organic agriculture in the Midwest. Frontier’s partnership with Willis Dady and the Catherine McAuley Center works to address a major barrier to employment and financial stability faced by many individuals in our community: transportation.
It is indicative of their philanthropic perspective that Frontier is always looking for innovative ways to positively impact their community. “Social giving is a major component of Frontier Co-op’s unique cooperative business model,” said Tony Bedard, CEO. “We believe that being a co-op obligates us to leverage our success in support of our members’ ideals—recognizing that our success is due in part to the fact that we so closely share those ideals. Our participation in all the communities affected by our co-op, from the smallest local opportunity to the world community, is a core value that drives our actions.”