MOD Pizza, a purpose-led fast-casual pizza brand, today announced a nationwide partnership with Best Buddies International, the world’s leading organization dedicated to providing inclusive opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Through this partnership, MOD will focus on raising awareness for inclusive hiring practices, along with funds to support the Best Buddies Jobs Program.
With National Disability Employment Awareness Month coming up in October, MOD is committing a minimum of $50,000 to Best Buddies to support the organization’s mission of inclusion – most notably the Best Buddies Jobs program which focuses on helping people with IDD find competitive, integrated employment opportunities within their communities. In turn, Best Buddies will provide development and training tools designed to support MOD store managers with hiring and developing individuals with IDD. Today, MOD has approximately 300 supported employees with IDD across its 455-plus locations in the U.S. and U.K., and as they continue their expansion, they are committed to strengthening their inclusive employment practice.
“At MOD, we often say ‘talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.’ And when we learned that 81% of adults with disabilities do not have paying jobs in their communities, we knew the platform of MOD could be used to address this social issue,” said Ally Svenson, co-founder and chief purpose officer of MOD. “Great partners make us better, and Best Buddies brings incredible programs to help us be a great employer for our Squad members with IDD. Our ultimate goal is to positively impact our employees and through them, the communities we serve – creating a more inclusive place for all, and hopefully, an example for other companies to follow.”
“The MOD ethos is rooted in acceptance, opportunity and development — and we’re beyond grateful to have found a partner that shares our commitment to inclusion in the workplace,” said Anthony K. Shriver, founder, chairman and CEO of Best Buddies International. “MOD’s dedication to the Best Buddies mission of inclusion and integrated employment will help bring even greater awareness to the infinite abilities people with intellectual and developmental disabilities possess, in addition to the resources needed to further expand our programs.”
The MOD and Best Buddies partnership will come to life in many ways:
- Limited-Time Fall Seasonal Menu Offerings
- From September 23 to November 4, 2019, or while supplies last, the Best Buddies “No Name Cake” will donate 20 cents from every cake sold to Best Buddies International, with a minimum donation of at least $25,000. The Best Buddies “No Name Cake” is a vanilla cake with a strawberry cream icing topped with white glaze and multi-colored sprinkles, retailing for $2.47.
- The “Jeffrey” – this seasonal pizza celebrates a beloved member of the MOD Squad. Jeffrey was one of MOD’s first employees with IDD who, according to Svenson, “helped show us the positive impact of a diverse talent pool. Jeffrey has been with MOD for over six years and continues to be a solid contributor, providing great inspiration to many.” The Jeffrey pizza features an olive oil base, fresh house-roasted apple, Canadian bacon, fresh arugula, shredded mozzarella, crumbled gorgonzola, finished with a swirl of sweet balsamic fig glaze.
- Regional Fundraiser Day
- On October 19, at more than 100 locations across the U.S., MOD will donate 20% of all sales to Best Buddies International. Find participating stores here.
- “Our World” Poem
- Acclaimed poet Andrea Gibson created “Our World” for MOD, a poem that imagines an inclusive world, welcome to all. The poem is recited by several members of the MOD Squad, and can be downloaded and shared by friends and customers of MOD. Gibson writes poetry focusing on social reform, gender norms, politics and the struggles LGBTQ people face in today’s society – and was the first poet ever to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam.
- All Pizzas Welcome Book
- Written for MOD by Andrea Gibson and illustrated for MOD by Oscar Cauda, All Pizzas Welcome shares the unique stories of several members of the MOD Squad and the world they’re helping to create. Customers can Spread MODness by downloading and sharing this free e-book from the MOD website.
- MOD Squad Support
- MOD will leverage Best Buddies’ expertise, best-in-class training programs, and resources to ensure that the entire MOD organization is best equipped to support their Squads and customers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Materials include diversity and inclusion training, accessibility checklist, sensitivity etiquette, interviewing tips, onboarding checklists, and top 10 questions asked when hiring a person with a disability.