My best friend, partner and husband passed away on January 26th, 2003, after a 17-month battle for his life. Through that fight for his health, and through watching how 9/11 and other disasters during that time changed the world, we saw that one life had no value, that it all came down to economics.
He and I had talked often about an organization we wanted to start, so after my husband’s passing, I began a foundation in his honor that was based on 5 pillars: all children should be guaranteed: access to water, health, education, proper nutrition, and play.
I had already worked in philanthropy as the CEO of Diesel Canada. We travelled through Haiti, Africa, USA and Canada and helped establish numerous programs. In Haiti, we were the first non-military flight into the airport, and we worked tirelessly to help the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. In Africa, I saw firsthand how local entrepreneurship helped people build a sustainable livelihood.
As I was helping both my foundation and ONEXONE grow, and it became clear to me through both of those organizations that pure philanthropy was difficult to sustain. I wanted to figure out a way to continue to help local causes in a way that would last.
In 2014, I retired from Diesel and decided that the last 12 years experiences had given me a vision that i wanted to establish. In 2015 I moved to Venice, California, and the Dept. of GOOD was born. The model was based on all my experiences, both corporately and philanthropically. I was seeking to solve some basic issues with one model.
- In building multiple brands during our career, I saw independent, small retail as the critical partner in helping develop those brands. In the last decade we could see the erosion of small retail and in turn the deterioration of local communities. I also understood that small business made up over 97% of all business in North America and hired over 70% of the workforce. These businesses which had always been the cornerstone of our communities was being decimated by the major players.
I saw the difficulties of new, innovative products making it to the marketplace and was shocked to understand that the small percentage who had the resources were the only ones making it.
Pure philanthropy is rarely sustainable—building in a community impact in all our businesses is the answer.
More and more artisanal goods are available to the expanding market, and cottage industries are a wonderful way to help community and at the same time create a network of locally sourced products.
The consumer is more sensitive to their purchasing power and how they can leverage that.
Technology is our friend, when used in a healthy and democratic way.
Women-run businesses and female empowerment (not at the expense of men) can really help society flourish.
Over the last few years, we have developed a team to figure out how to inculcate all these opportunities and challenges in one business model?
So, we created the Dept. of GOOD. Click here to see how OUR MODEL works.