Ted accepting the Hal Taussig Award in New Orleans
Governments can only do so much to address societal inequities; it requires individuals and businesses to get involved to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society. We know there is strength in numbers and Rhino Foods feels it is the best way to address society’s challenging problems, which is why we became a Certified B Corporation in 2013. The B Corp community, made up of over 2600 companies in 150 industries in 60 countries, is unified in the goal of using business as a force for good.
Certified B Corporations meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Becoming certified is not for the faint of heart. The lengthy assessment digs into a company’s and its leadership’s impact on customers, employees, suppliers, community, and environment. If a company passes the rigorous assessment their Impact Report is publicly posted on the B Corporation’s website.
B Corps gather at an annual Champion’s Retreat to share ways to impact business and to learn from each other, inspiring the community into further action and continued effort. Each year B Lab, the non-profit that certifies companies, selects the person from the community they feel best embodies the group’s values and is recognized as a change-maker. The award is named after the founder of Untours, Hal Taussig, an extraordinary man who in the 1990s began donating all the profits from his travel agency to support low-income people and communities working to improve lives with low-interest loans. Sadly, no longer with us, Hal’s work continues through Untours and the Untours Foundation.
This year’s recipient of the Hal Taussig award is our founder and CEO Ted Castle. Ted’s and Rhino Foods’ mission has been to impact the manner in which business is done for over 30 years. The Hal Taussig award recognizes the many ways Ted is working to realize this goal. In 2018, Ted founded the Rhino Foods Foundation, a non-profit focused on employee financial stability with the current focus on spreading our Income Advance Program to other companies. Simply put, any Rhino employee in good standing can get up to a $1000 loan from our partnering credit union the same day. The loan is paid off through payroll deduction. This is a win-win. Employees are able to meet unexpected expenses and build credit history. With this worry taken care of the employee’s attendance and focus on work is not impacted, which is good for business.
Ted’s and Rhino’s work advocating the adoption of the Income Advance Program has resulted in over 50 Vermont employers implementing the program. In 2014, the Filene’s Research Institute and the Ford Foundation piloted the concept for 18 months with 13 financial institutions in eight states with 48 employers. The study confirmed the benefits to business and employees and in 2016 they created a free implementation guide to support spreading the concept.
We’re not resting, we’ll continue to think of ways to improve first our business and then others and live up to the honor Ted was given in receiving the Hal Taussig award.