In this episode of Capital for Good, we speak with Stephen Grimaldi, the executive director of New York Common Pantry, and John MacDonald and Scott Crawford, the chief marketing and chief merchandising officers of FreshDirect, about the extraordinary partnership these two organizations forged in the height of the pandemic.
In this conversation, we learn how New York Common Pantry — founded in 1980 to reduce hunger, and promote dignity, health and self-sufficiency — and FreshDirect — a pioneer of online grocery — came together in a moment of crisis. In the early days of the pandemic, both organizations faced a surge in demand. In the case of FreshDirect, this came from the millions of New Yorkers who looked to online shopping and delivery for nourishment. For NYCP, food insecurity doubled early on in the pandemic, just when the Pantry’s volunteer base could no longer pack or serve meals. Building off an initial relationship between the organizations’ leaders, FreshDirect provided support in numerous forms, including sourcing, packing, and delivering food, marketing, events, and perhaps most “transformational,” according to Grimaldi: an easy way for grocery shoppers to donate directly to Common Pantry. With New York Common Pantry donations listed as a product SKU on the FreshDirect website, the online grocer’s customers have contributed more than $4 million dollars, which equates to more than 3 million meals, since the start of the pandemic. According to MacDonald and Crawford, the collaboration has been a “shining star” for the company internally. They also believe that by making community engagement easy for their customers, the partnership has reinforced loyalty to a brand and company with deep stakeholder commitment. We end with a discussion of the partnership going forward — and as a potential model for others.
Mentioned in this episode:
- New York Common Pantry-FreshDirect Partnership featured on CBS News, (2020)
- New York Common Pantry as FreshDirect product SKU
- “FreshDirect and NY Common Pantry Reimagine the Pantry Model with Launch of New Mobile Pantry,” (Bronx Times, 2021)
About the Capital for Good Podcast
Presented by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, and hosted by Georgia Levenson Keohane, seasoned executive, award winning author, and an adjunct professor of social enterprise at Columbia Business School, the Capital for Good podcast provides a chance to hear from corporate and civic leaders about their visions, plans, commitments, and on the ground efforts to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society. Each episode features in depth and candid conversations with leaders across the private, nonprofit, and public sectors on unpacking solutions to some of our most urgent challenges. Learn more at bit.ly/KforGood.