Cannabis company wants to give back to communities

Green Thumb Good Green Team with Zenobia Williams, Director of Employment Training, and Janelle St. John, Executive Director, Growing Home, Inc. PHOTO PROVIDED BY GREEN THUMB INDUSTRIES
Green Thumb Good Green Team with Zenobia Williams, Director of Employment Training, and Janelle St. John, Executive Director, Growing Home, Inc. PHOTO PROVIDED BY GREEN THUMB INDUSTRIES

 Cannabis company wants to give back to communities

By Tia Carol Jones
The Green Thumb Industries is passionate about giving back to the community. Through Good Green, the company wanted to create ways to reinvest cannabis funds back into communities that had been impacted by the war on drugs. What was created was the Good Green Grant Program
Green Thumb Industries, a multi-state operator that sells cannabis consumer packaged goods and is a retailer, is headquartered in Chicago. It has 77 dispensaries and 17 cultivation facilities across the United States. It was established in 2014.


The Good Green Grant Program is looking for 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that work in marginalized communities and supports three pillars: Education, Employment and Expungement. The program provides unrestricted funding to these organizations on a rolling basis.


“The Good Green Grant Program was born out of the desire to reinvest cannabis funds back into the community and create opportunities for nonprofit organizations who are doing the groundwork to create real and sustained progress against the War on Drugs,” said Green Thumb Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler in a release. “Through this program, we are supporting nonprofits to help create opportunity and change in impacted communities.”


Jai Kensey, the director of social impact for Green Thumb, said the work is important and the focus on the local level, because it is imperative that people who live in a community work with people they trust. Those people are already in the trenches in those communities, they have a level of trust and respect from members of the community.


“You want to be helped by your own people,” Kensey said, adding there is a level of comfort people feel when they know there is someone who looks like you and supports your community, and a level of pride that comes with that.


An example is a non-profit founded by formerly incarcerated women that received the Good Green Grant previously. The founder knew how to support the women who it helped because she was formerly incarcerated and knew what they were experiencing.


Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, founded by Tyrone Muhammad, who also is the executive director, has also received support from Green Thumb Industries.


“With the work that he’s done as someone who has spent 21 years in prison, he knows the challenges that individuals in the community face. Same thing with the women who lead Growing Home. Those women live in the community, and they know what the needs are for those individuals to support them as much as possible. Through Good Green we really work hard to partner with those organizations that are in the trenches,” Kensey said.


Good Green has awarded eight organizations unrestricted funds through the grant program, with a total of $500,000. The goal is to award $1 million by the end of the year. For this grant cycle, it will award up to five organizations that align with Good Green’s three pillars, and the diversity of the organizations.


The goal is to align Green Thumb with organizations that have a strong impact on the community. They want to know that  by providing the support, there will be some tangible changes made in those communities.


The deadline for the Good Green Grant is Friday, Aug. 19. For more information, visit www.good.green.com

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