LOS ANGELES— Project Potluck, a nonprofit organization operated by and for people of color in the consumer packaged goods industry, is set to double in size this year, supported by donations from Once Upon A Farm, Chobani, PepsiCo Ventures Group and others.
Founded in 2020, Project Potluck provides opportunities for people of color to network, learn and grow from industry leaders and veterans with a broader vision to increase representation on grocery store shelves. The organization aims to topple systemic barriers, including inherent bias in hiring, networking gaps and lack of access to capital and resources for diverse founders. The group was established by Ibraheem Basir, founder and chief executive officer of A Dozen Cousins, alongside founding board members Ayeshah Abuelhiga, founder and CEO of Mason Dixie Foods, and Arnulfo Ventura, CEO of Alter Eco.
“Today, 40% of the United States population identifies as a Person of Color, but they make up only 16% of leadership teams in natural CPG,” said Kathleen Casanova, executive director of Project Potluck. “We are looking to change this. With support from DEI-minded companies, Project Potluck is able to grow and continue to provide opportunities for POC to have a seat at the table and enrich the products and brands we all know and love.”
Additional donors include Color Capital and Club CPG, New Hope Network, King Arthur Baking, DeeBee’s Organics, ForceBrands, Touch Capital and Startr Co.
Once Upon A Farm, maker of organic snacks and meals for children, has committed to donating $100,000 to Project Potluck over the next five years.
“The work Project Potluck is doing to change our industry for the better is imperative, and we see this as a cause that is worthy of everyone’s attention,” said John Foraker, CEO of Once Upon A Farm.Project Potluck is accepting new members through its online community portal at potluckcpg.org. Members have access to programming that includes a speaker series, mentorship, career coaching, in-person and digital events and more. The organization is planning a community event at Natural Products Expo West in early March.
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