The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced its $4.6 million investment in Happy Family, a producer of premium, organic foods for toddlers and young children. The mission-driven investment, a combination of equity and loans, will help the company grow its operations, expand its product lines and drive the two organizations' shared vision to make healthy, high-quality food for young children more accessible to families that would normally consider these options too expensive.
Based in New York City, Happy Family offers a complete line of organic, nutrient-dense products for various stages and ages, starting around six months. The foods are packaged in lower-cost, eco-friendly and preservative-free pouches, and are sold in 13,000 stores nationwide through mass market retailers such as Target and Walmart and regional and ethnic chains including Meijer and HEB, at prices more affordable than organic products sold in specialty grocers. The initial line of foods was launched in five neighborhood markets in New York City, with an early vision of accessibility for urban families.
"It has been phenomenal to have the support of the Kellogg Foundation, which shares a socially minded agenda that includes creating better health outcomes for children and families," said Happy Family Founder and CEO Shazi Visram. "The foundation's support has enabled us to maintain control over the company's idea of success and make decisions that we're proud of."
Firmly dedicated to being a socially responsible company, Happy Family supports breastfeeding—a baby's optimal first food experience—and healthy child development initiatives through its grassroots marketing network as well as publications in the field of child nutrition. The company employs a team of 70 moms who serve as coaches in communities across the country, giving parents information to make better nutritional choices and improve their children's health outlook.
The $4.6 million investment was part of the Kellogg Foundation's mission driven investment (MDI) arm—which seeks both social and financial returns on its investments. The foundation has allocated $100 million to invest in businesses around the globe that align with its mission of improving the lives of vulnerable children and families. WKKF seeks market-rate returns across a variety of asset classes in its portfolio of MDI investments that will preserve and grow the foundation's endowment for ongoing support of families and communities. Tony Berkley, WKKF's director of mission driven investing, said, "We are very happy with this relationship, because the company's values align so well with ours, and it is such a great model for a profitable social enterprise that benefits children, families and communities."
About Happy Family
Launched on Mother's Day 2006, and owned and operated by moms, Happy Family is the leading premium organic food brand delivering optimal nutrition for the entire family. Constantly innovating and bringing new products to market, Happy Family was the first organic brand to develop a complete line of premium, organic nourishment for babies', toddlers' and kids' growing bodies. Happy Family products are consistently recognized for superior taste and nutrition. In 2011, founder and CEO Shazi Visram earned the title of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for New York. The brand has been named as one of the fastest growing organic food companies in the nation by Inc. magazine for two years running, and was named "Rockstar of the New Economy" by Fast Company in 2012. With every product sold, the company supports Project Peanut Butter, a nonprofit that feeds starving children in Malawi and Sierra Leone. For more information, visit happybabyfood.com.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit wkkf.org.