The 2014 Community Impact Awards: Business of the Year, Small Companies

October 21, 2014

NICK HORTON

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WINNER

Cedar Grove Composting

Seattle

Most washingtonians know of Cedar Grove as a cutting-edge urban composter and producer of topsoil products and compostable food packaging. But the company is also an innovator when it comes to corporate citizenship. It chooses to focus its charitable efforts on the areas surrounding its Everett and Maple Valley composting facilities, understanding that the local communities are populated by the employees and families who make Cedar Grove work.

Stephan Banchero III is Cedar Groves general manager and is a third-generation member of the family business. Our foundation is our staff, our customers and our surrounding neighbors, Banchero says. We like to give back to the areas that give us the opportunity to be in business.

Cedar Groves Seeds for Scholars program awards four area high school seniors with $2,500 scholarships and the chance to interview for paid summer internships. Students must show a demonstrated interest in sustainability to be eligible. The company also donates soil to local food banks and gardens, and each winter holiday, Cedar Grove volunteers create food packages for needy children at Maple Hills Elementary.

All that good work is in addition to the 400,000 tons of residential and commercial food waste the firm composts every year. Its easy to see why Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman chose Cedar Grove as a 2013 Corporations for Communities award winner.

Molly Moons homemade ice Cream

Seattle

Molly Moons recipe for success doesnt scrimp on the essentials. The business sells delicious ice cream, 90 percent of which is sourced from the Northwest. At five retail locations around Seattle, that ice cream is served in 100 percent compostable containers by employees who receive 100 percent coverage of health and dental insurance premiums. The cherry on top of it all? The Anna Banana Milk Fund, founded and sponsored by Molly Moons, has provided more than 2,000 gallons of milk to the 1,200 needy households served by the Family Works Food Bank.

Theo Chocolate

Seattle

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Joe Whinney had an idea: Start an organic, fair trade chocolate company that pays premium prices for top-notch cocoa beans bought directly from farmers in Panama, Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Whinney, the founder of Theo Chocolate, now looks like a genius. Theo products are sold in all 50 states, and sales for the year ending in June 2014 were expected to exceed $15 million. The companys Partner Bars benefit nonprofits whose mission statements run close to Theos ideology, including the Jane Goodall Institute and the PCC Farmland Trust. Theos staff and customers get to eat chocolate and feel good about helping the farmers who grew the beans in the first place.