The organic and natural health industry has a story to tell. It’s about health and wellness. It’s about empowering people to own their health outcomes using food, lifestyle choices, and nutritional supplementation. Many of us in the industry believe that we have an obligation to the Earth; that we must have a healthy planet to ensure the health of people. Our collective contribution has never been more important as we face today’s challenges. The Organic & Natural Health Association takes its responsibility to consumers seriously and has created an effective action plan.
COVID-19 shined a bright light on health disparity among Black and brown Americans, and the correlation of health outcomes to vitamin D levels. In response, we created the “Get On My Level” campaign, and to date have garnered more than 60 million media impressions. The Black Lives Matter movement shined an equally bright light on the lack of diversity in our own industry, and so too have we responded.
On January 27, we announced our partnership with Williams-Franklin Foundation. Our goal is to open up more opportunities in the natural products industry for students and graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The Williams-Franklin Foundation is led by the dynamic husband and wife team, Dwight and LaShelle (Williams) Franklin, both HBCU graduates, who used their own seed money to launch the foundation in 2014. In a very short time they have successfully raised thousands of dollars that have since impacted the lives of many HBCU students.
As part of the partnership, Organic & Natural Health will help raise a minimum of $50,000 funds for Williams-Franklin Foundation during the next five years to support education expenses for HBCU students. In addition to raising scholarship monies, we are committed to supporting networking opportunities for HBCU students, graduates and natural health executives with the purpose of igniting internships and career opportunities, while helping create a more diverse and inclusive industry.
Within this industry lies a treasure trove of opportunity. Jobs range the gamut across food and beverages, dietary supplements, personal care, fashion and home goods, and even pet food. The industry is hot, growing at double digits year to year, and looking for graduates who want to pursue mission-driven work in nutrition science, biology, business, supply chain management, communications, marketing, legal, HR and technology.
The current generation of college students is clear in their intention to do good work that serves their communities and steers the world in a direction that inspires hope and creates possibilities. In our world, doing good is good business. Our ethos is rooted in education, creation, and quality. HBCU graduates are renowned for their leadership skills and commitment to excellence. Organic & Natural Health believes the contributions of HBCU change agents will inspire our work, enable our efforts to reduce health disparity, and bring us one step closer to ensuring a healthy planet for healthy people.
Are you interested in supporting this initiative? It’s not ours to own, everyone can be a part of this crucial change by contributing a tax-deductible donation that goes directly HBCU students in need to support their education through Williams-Franklin Foundation’s established fund – just select “Organic & Natural Health Fund” in the drop box to designate to our collective cause when donating. Together we can take effective action and make the change we want to see in our industry.
More on Organic & Natural at www.organicandnatural.org follow on Twitter @OrgNatHealth or www.facebook.com/organicandnaturalhealthassociation.
Biography: Karen Howard, CEO and Executive Director of Organic & Natural Health Association, is a visionary and results-focused leader who has spent more than 30 years working with Congress, state legislatures and healthcare organizations to develop innovative healthcare policy and programs. She has held a variety of executive positions, including serving as professional staff for a Congressional committee, and has policy expertise in the diverse areas of integrative and complementary medicine, managed care, healthcare technology and mental health. An advocate at heart, she has worked to strategically advance the mission and vision of organizations through effective advocacy and strong collaboration.