Image by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis
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People

Our Operating Principles

We come together to create a place for our team members to collaborate, thrive, grow personally and professionally, and be their best in an environment that is inclusive, safe, and motivating.

 

We want all employees to be proud to work for Food For Thought and assist us in building a diverse organization that is the model for all team members, clients and other organizations to follow.

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Everyone is awesome!

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A Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

A diverse, inclusive workplace is a better workplace, as well as a reflection of a better society. We are committed to providing an environment that makes all associates feel at home, building and growing inclusive behaviors while improving our methods and processes to ensure equal opportunities for all.

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A Family-Friendly Workplace

As a company, we understand the importance of family and the life challenges our team members might be faced with.  By supporting our parents, partners, and caregivers, we can have a positive impact on their children and families.  We work with team members to modify schedules, accommodating for illness and appointments as needed to relieve the pressure of having to make these hard choices.

Image by Sharon McCutcheon

People are Treated Equally 
& with Respect

Easy to understand. We do not tolerate discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement on the grounds of gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, race, color, age, sexual orientation, religion, political opinion, nationality, ethnic origin,  disease or disability.

Image by Dylan Gillis

Responsible Business Practices

We work with integrity and transparency, considering responsible business the only way to operate on behalf of our clients, team members, and suppliers. Our intent is to build long-term relationships and work together both internally and externally to solve prevalent challenges, and identify opportunities to reward those who strive and uphold our best practices.

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FFT Cares is an internal employee led team creating and determining how the organization can continuously
make a positive impact on our employees and communities in which we operate.

College Campus

FFT Education Scholarships

We all believe in the importance of education for ourselves and our children. The FFT Education Scholarship fund was established to assist employees and their children with educational expenses and get them started on their pursuits. Each year the committee chooses up to five recipients to receive these grants.

Volunteers

Employee Giving

We consider ourselves fortunate and, as such, are driven to help others.  Team members decide on the groups they are interested in supporting and coordinate Employee-Giving Teams to volunteer.  The recent groups that have been chosen include: RefugeeOne, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Lakeview Pantry, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Random Acts of Flowers, and the Make a Wish Foundation. But we're not stopping there! Our 2025 goal is to have 30% of our team participate annually in the giving program.

Laptop Loaner Program

Laptop Loaner Program

Amoung children from ages 3-18, 17% live in households without a laptop or computer. This access is no longer a privilege but a necessity in life. We recondition, prep, and upcycle our computers for learners in need. 

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FFT University

Continuous learning and development is important for organizational and personal growth. Through classroom, on the job, web based and lectures - FFT University offers opportunities for team members to learn a variety of topics.

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Equality Institute Certified

Food For Thought’s LGBTQ Wedding Specialist is certified through the Equality Institute’s LGBTQ+ Weddings Certificate Course and serves as a resource for all team members.

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Curt Sharp Foundation

When established in 1985, the founders of Food For Thought simply wanted to create a “better place to work”. There was no ulterior agenda or strategy of “social responsibility” or focus on treating workers equally and with respect - it was just who they were; how they acted towards people.

 

All people were always welcome at the table. Discussions of women's equality were unnecessary as two of the three founders were women (Nancy Sharp and Susan Trieschmann) and kindness and appreciation towards others was just a way of life.

 

When the organization lost one of its founders and guiding lights in 2005, the Curt Sharp Foundation was created in remembrance of his principles of Kindness, Respect and Responsibility. With this light to follow, we honor and carry on the ideals of Curt. It was not his “mission” but simply how he lived his life.

Plan 2025

EXPANSION OF THE FFT CARES PROGRAM


To expand this program an internal employee led team has been assembled and determine how the organization can expand its positive impact on our employees and communities in which we operate.

- Employee Giving

- Day of Service

- Social Partnerships

- Giving Thanks Program

INCREASE PARTICIPATION IN EMPLOYEE-GIVING PROGRAM

The Employee-Giving Program gives employees multiple ways to give and volunteer for a variety of organizations and causes. Employees get to give back to the causes they care about and create a better world. Our 2025 goal is to have 2/3rd's of all team members participate in community giving.

YEAR

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

PERCENT

20%

35%

45%

55%

65%

FFT UNIVERSITY, A FULLY DEVELOPED EMPLOYEE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Giving team members access to training and coaching in Job Related Topics, Leadership, Business Topics, Personal Finance, Time Management, Stress Reduction and the Culinary Arts. This is important because we believe in the well-being and growth of each and every one of our team members.

- Personal Instruction

- Professional Growth & Develoment

MODEL AND LEAD IN OUR PRACTICES SO OUR INDUSTRY, SUPPLIERS, AND PARTNERS ARE EMBRACING OUR RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRINCIPLES

We have a zero tolerance towards suppliers who intentionally misled us or any of our representatives and such actions can result in termination of the business relationship. Our goal is to create and share our practices so that others including suppliers, competitors and partners will strive to create a value-based culture.

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Positive Change Organizations

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Headquarter: Chicago, IL
Industry: Homelessness Prevention and Safe Space for Women
 

Sarah’s Circle provides a full continuum of services for women, including housing, life necessities, and supportive services, to help them permanently end their homelessness.

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Headquarter: Chicago, IL
Industry: Refugee Resettlement Organization

RefugeeOne not only provides refugees with needed survival skills but a full range of coordinated services that empower them to build foundations for flourishing lives here in the US.

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Headquarter: Evanston, IL
Industry: At Risk Youth Training and Placement

Curt’s provides skills training focused for at-risk youth ages 15-24 years, who are living in an at-risk situation such as incarceration, homeless, food insecurity or have dropped out of school.

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Headquarter: Chicago, IL
Industry: Feeding Those in Need

The Food Depository is part of a united effort working to bring food, dignity, and hope to our community, feeding hungry people while striving to end hunger in greater Chicagoland.