Part of an ongoing series about interesting, #socially responsible food companies.
What the company does: Women’s Bean Project (WBP) hires chronically unemployed women and teaches them how to work by making nourishing products.
How is the company #socially responsible? Women’s Bean Project (WBP) transforms the lives of chronically unemployed women by providing them work for a period of six to nine months. During their employment, the women process, handcraft, and package shelf-stable food products like bean soups, mixes, organic fair trade coffees, marinades, salsa, spices, and more. All of their products are plant-based and free of additives and preservatives, and all spices, herbs, and grains sold are GMO-free. (Women’s Bean Project FAQ)
WBP understands that chronic unemployment is caused and sustained due to a myriad of reasons, including a lack of education, former addiction or incarceration, mental health issues, and so on. Rather than just providing work for a short period, WBP seeks to rebuild the confidence of the women they employ. The program hires approximately 10-15 women every 8 weeks, so they can keep the cohort small enough to give each employee the individual attention they need. (Colorado 211) (Women’s Bean Project FAQ)
WBP employees spend at least 30 percent of their time meeting with career coaches, attending support groups and mock interviews, and learning skills like resume writing, financial literacy, and computer skills. The women are paid for every hour they spend at WBP, regardless of whether they are working or learning. By the end of the program, graduates will have taken the first step towards financial and mental self-sufficiency. 93 percent of these formerly chronically unemployed women are still employed a year after completing the WBP program. (Women’s Bean Project Program Overview)
In 1989, Jossy Eyre was volunteering at a women’s shelter in Denver, CO. Though the shelter kept the women safe in the short-term, Eyre realized that in order for them to become independent, they needed steady employment and a strong social network. That year, Eyre invested $500 of her own money and put two women from the shelter to work, packaging soup mixes. 30 years later, the Women’s Bean Project now rakes in over $2M per year in revenues, and their products are sold in nearly 1,000 stores nationwide. (Women’s Bean Project)
Latest “socially responsible” project:
WBP hosted their annual fundraiser, Ready, Set, Grow!, on April 25th 2018 to celebrate their graduates and to raise money and awareness for the project.
Any upcoming notable projects or products:
WBP has outlined a strategic plan for 2018-2021. The goals of the plan include creating an advisory board chaired by WBP graduates, improving recruitment, and implementing brain behavioral science in their mentoring program. Additionally, this year’s Ready, Set, Grow! event will be on April 24th, 2019.
Where to buy: https://www.womensbeanproject.com/
King Soopers, Whole Foods, Safeway, H.E.B., small realtors, Amazon.com
Fact Sheet and Details
Interesting Stories about Women’s Bean Project in online media: