Natural Grocers Marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Annual Fundraiser

Last month, Natural Grocers announced its support of the Jack and Jill of America Foundation (JJOAF) with an in-store fundraiser on January 15th. The natural and organic grocery retailer aimed to raise $60,000 or more for JJOAF’s College Graduation Assistance Program (GAP) Fund by donating a portion of their Martin Luther King Jr. Day sales at their 167 stores across the country.

The GAP Fund provides scholarship endowments, directly alleviating tuition debt for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In honor of the National holiday, Natural Grocers pledged to contribute 1% of sales to support the educational goals of students attending HBCUs.

“Since 2019, our GAP Fund has facilitated the graduation of over 1,300 HBCU students. In May 2023, we invested $239,000 in 258 graduates across eight schools,” said Pier Blake, Executive Director of the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. “This underscores our dedication to fostering futures filled with opportunities and success.”

The Foundation is the philanthropic division of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated (JJOA, Inc.). In 1968, mother members of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated— recognized as the largest and most prominent African American family organization in the country – formed Jack and Jill of America Foundation. This charitable entity was established to address social issues and challenges impacting African American communities, families, and children. Currently, families associated with Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, including mother members, fathers, children, teens, and associates, actively contribute to charitable giving and fundraising efforts for the foundation. Collectively, they raise more than $2 million annually.

A GAP Fund beneficiary recently expressed the positive impact of this financial assistance in her life, illustrating the importance of the program. Delores N. Bivini, University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Alumni, said , “After receiving support from the Foundation, I completed my bachelor’s degree in management information systems and recently earned a master’s in business administration with a specialization in Marketing. This academic journey paved the way for my career. I’m now leading a marketing department in a prominent company and interning at my country’s embassy in their Department of Business and Trade. My career has taken an exciting and fulfilling path, thanks to the initial support I received from the Foundation. I urge anyone who can to support the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. Your contribution makes a significant difference, uplifting thousands of students like me. The impact you have on our lives today is immeasurable, and its ripple effects will continue to be felt in the future. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

The decision for Natural Grocers and Jack and Jill of America to join forces was born of a shared value system. Both entities share a commitment to the communities and families they serve through teaching and empowerment. Natural Grocers has a longstanding history of community giving since its establishment in 1955, with a focus on supporting health and well-being through free Nutrition Education and affordable, high-quality health and wellness choices. In addition to the national fundraising campaign, the partnership extends to a year-round give-back program with 13 Jack and Jill of America, Inc. chapters in Colorado, Texas, Oregon, and Arkansas. Members in these chapters receive a Natural Grocers + Jack and Jill of America Partnership card, triggering an uncapped 5% of sales give-back to the Jack and Jill of America organizations at checkout.

Founded in 1955, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is a specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries, body care products, and dietary supplements. The company’s products adhere to strict quality guidelines, excluding artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils. Natural Grocers offers USDA-certified organic produce, exclusively pasture-raised non-confinement dairy products, and free-range eggs. The company’s flexible smaller-store format provides affordable prices in a clean, shopper-friendly environment. Natural Grocers also offers free science-based Nutrition Education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Established as a public charitable entity in 1968, Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Inc. is the oldest African American-led philanthropic nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting underserved communities and populations. As the philanthropic division of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, the foundation focuses on addressing issues affecting African American children and families by giving resources to programs that provide quality education, healthcare, and a safe environment. The Foundation’s mission is to create a strong foundation for children’s long-term growth with the purpose of transforming African American communities, one child at a time. Founded in 1938, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. nurtures future African American leaders by stimulating the growth and development of children through educational, cultural, civic, recreational, health, and social programs inspired by mothers. With 262 chapters across seven regions in the U.S., Jack and Jill is considered the largest African American family organization, representing 70,000 family members, including mother members, fathers, and children ages two through 19.