By Gianni Vasquez
Not only is making a profit a part of a company’s business model, but creating methods of positive social impact is equally important. This is characteristic of social enterprises such as Kind Snacks LLC, which was founded in 2004 by Daniel Lubetzky, a Mexican-American entrepreneur, author, and renowned activist. The company is using the marketplace for manufactured foods as a platform for the company to drive revenue growth and invest revenues into social initiatives.
Headquartered in New York City, the Kind Snacks leveraged the globalization of technology to create Empatico, a free online learning tool utilized by educators to connect classrooms from various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds around the world. Empatico has enabled nearly 60,000 unlikely connections to form since this digital tool launched in April 2017. The company invested 20 million dollars to fund the global effort of connecting educators worldwide.
Separately from its snack bar revenue, Kind Snacks catalyzes initiatives to advance the Empatico platform. The technology combines reliable and intuitive video conferencing technology with standards-based activities on universal topics that supplement the existing curriculum.
Empatico aims to reach more than one million students in 25 countries by the end of 2020. The intended demographic for this technology is within the range of 8-10 year-olds. The next goal is to go beyond the classroom and connect kids around the world. Where education is not commonplace, technology can bring a classroom to kids in need and provide educators with the tools to meet learning objectives. The Executive Director of Empatico, George Khalaf, notes that “kids are asking questions about their place in the world, giving them an opportunity to develop this curiosity and have positive experiences with diverse people can strongly influence how they perceive others in the future.”
Through Empatico, kids are familiarized with other cultures and ideas, a feat that may have otherwise been impossible without the platform. The online tool operates under the Kind Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by Lubetzky, which functions as the charitable branch of the company.
The Kind Foundation invests resources in social projects such as in Making Caring Common, a program that is actively integrated within the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In partnership with the school, the foundation is also the host of the KIND Schools Challenge, an annual event that invites middle and high school students nationwide to submit a project to make their school communities more kind and inclusive.
The snack company diversifies its social impact with other investments that branch into sister organizations like Feed the Truth, a non-profit that seeks to improve public health by making truth, transparency and integrity the foremost values in today’s food system.
A social enterprise gains recognition for more than its products and services. It also serves a social mission by addressing pressing issues such as inequality, healthcare, and education. The marketplace responds in collaboration with the actions of the company and economic value is created. Kind Snacks LLC prioritizes the importance of their social impact by focusing on making a profit and by reinvesting into its mission to create a customer base that is supportive of their educational objectives.
The snack company has garnered a renowned reputation for selling nutritious snacks at an inexpensive price and establishing a benchmark for charitable acts in the business. The technological and economic approach of Kind Snacks LLC toward the marketplace differentiates it from its competition. Education-focused objectives and a market-oriented business model empowers the company with a dual plan of action that characterizes itself as more than a for-profit business.