goBeyondProfit CEO Interviews: Jasmine Crowe-Houston, Founder & CEO of Goodr
Friday, October 6th, 2023
In part 2 of our conversation with goBeyondProfit Champion Jasmine Crowe-Houston, Founder and CEO of Goodr, we explore the implementation of a people-first strategy in her business that allowed her to infuse dignity into not only her business, but into the lives of those they serve.
Implementing a People-First Value
Leading with people first is one of the biggest core values here at Goodr. It’s really my guiding principle. I always go back to what we learned when we were in kindergarten – “Treat others how you would want to be treated”. That’s the simplest rule that often gets forgotten. I just believe that the power of karma is real.
When you put people first and you treat people well, the money will come, the profits will come. And that has always happened for us at Goodr. We’ve put people first, people love us, our customers love us, and they come back, and they continue to do business with us because we operate in that people first mentality. It’s so much more than just profit.
The Pursuit of Dignity Influences Business Strategy
When I talk about treating people with dignity, especially people that are experiencing the problem of hunger, it’s about changing the way we’ve solved hunger in this country for a very long time. I think we all remember doing canned food drives and you’ve maybe volunteered at a food bank or a food pantry, and you put all these items in a box and families come and get them. But we don’t ever shop like that. We go to the grocery store, we fill our baskets with things that we want, things that we know how to cook. But people who are experiencing food insecurity have to take whatever someone gives them and be happy with it because they have nothing else.
For Goodr, we offer dignity in the process by making sure that we provide families with access to foods that enable them to prepare full meals. There’s a big difference in this country between access to food and access to meals. We don’t want someone to get a box of food, get home and realize that there’s nothing they can make. For people who come into contact with Goodr, especially under our Hunger Relief Services, every time they meet us they receive seven to ten days’ worth of food.
When we deliver food to our nonprofit partners it’s full meals they can immediately serve their clients. Our services make it easier for nonprofit partners to fulfill their mission. Their food prices and food costs go down so they’re able to reinvest that money that they would’ve spent back into the services that they’re providing for their clients. Dignity is felt across the entire scope of Goodr services.
Necessary Pivots Toward a Vision
When we first started, we were taking the food that was edible and getting that delivered to nonprofits. Soon we realized we were leaving a lot of non-edible food to end up in landfills. So we introduced organics recycling to help our customers turn non-edible food waste into animal feed, compost, and in some cases even energy. That was first iteration and pivot that we had.
A year later, we fell into the global pandemic. And as you can imagine, the businesses that we were recovering food from all went out of business. They closed their doors. But we saw a heightened level of food insecurity in this country.
Little did I know that we would spin up a whole new Hunger Relief Solutions component of our business. Now we work with a lot of different brands, cities and government entities creating sustainable solutions to end hunger in their communities. In fact we just launched a mobile grocery store unit. We plan on taking that all over the state of Georgia with activations set up for Griffin, Georgia, Albany, Georgia, Savannah, Georgia. We are going to be all over the state bringing food access to people that need it the most.
I have a huge vision for where I hope to take Goodr. We’re currently operating in about 35 markets. When we first started, we were just operating in Atlanta. I’d love us to be in every city and every state and we’re working on that. We believe that we need to be everywhere.
Establishing a Foundation of Giving
I started the Goodr Foundation in 2020. What I realized was that a lot of children may get free breakfast and lunch at school, but they’re constantly playing what I would call a catch-up game. The breakfast may only be replacing the dinner that they didn’t get last night or the food that they didn’t have over the weekend. And no teacher can really teach through hunger. With our Neighborhood Eats program, we go right into neighborhoods, right into apartment complexes and provide kids with a hot meal on site and a hot meal to go every Saturday.
We make sure the children have three beverages, three meals and six snacks to get them through the weekend. We’ve held this program now in four different communities since we started and it’s just been world changing to see what we do for these children.
We live to make sure that one day everyone will have access to the food they need. This work could not be done without the people that are committed to ending this massive problem of hunger and food waste that’s plagued us for years. And more than anything, we are committed to finding the solutions. We’re committed to creating a better tomorrow for everybody that comes in touch with us.