Toasting the Pursuit of Benefiting All


There’s nothing like sampling a great wine and feeling that you’re contributing to something good. And I’m not referring to the medical data that says wine in moderation can be a boon for your health. Though health is definitely the operative word in this scenario.

This is sounding like a riddle, which is not my intent. Rather, it’s a snippet from my recent Oregon vacation and my growing interest in B Corporations. As one more means of meeting the ever-expanding needs in the world, I view the spread of B Corps as a very positive development.

Going Beyond Wine Wages

To start, a quick tutorial on B Corporations. The “B” is for “Benefit” though “better” and “best” are also associated with B Corp sensibilities. Essentially it’s a business that, as the B Corp slogan goes, aims to be best for the world. To be certified as a B Corporation, a company must meet a set of standards for how it operates, with the clear goal of elevating more than the bottom line. B Corps take as their mission supporting all stakeholders – including workers, community and environment.

I got some intense and delicious cases in point of do-good passion in Oregon’s Pinot Noir country. On tour at local wineries, I frequently noted membership in ¡Salud!, a collaboration between Oregon winemakers and health care professionals to provide health services to seasonal workers and their families. One B Corp winery donates each $10 tasting fee to the fund. As ¡Salud! explains, preventative care is often missing for migrant families. The wineries that depend on these vineyard workers recognize that going beyond wages to also support individual and family health benefits all.

Building a Movement

Closer to home, we have an inspiring example of collaboration to benefit all in the O+ Festival in Kingston, New York. Full disclosure: I’ve worked with O+ on this keystone event. It’s three days of music and arts held annually to support the O+ Clinic, where participating artist members can receive health services from contributing doctors, dentists and others. To clarify, O+ is a nonprofit, not a B Corp. The coast-to-coast connection is in the health care focus and attention to serving broader community needs in the festival design. O+ describes it best: “By programming the festival’s art and music events in various venues (bars, restaurants, storefronts, even offices) throughout one [Kingston] neighborhood, O+ supports and unites local businesses and residents, artists, musicians, and doctors, strengthening the fabric of a community to make it stronger, more sustainable and more vibrant.”

Naturally, health care is only one of many needs begging for innovative solutions today. In ¡Salud! and the O+ Festival, and B Corporations generally, I see models to consider. It’s about forming more partnerships and collaborations that bring more people and more types of entities into the fight. Nonprofits can’t do it alone. B Corps represent a powerful ally, aligned in the fundamental concept of giving back. As we approach the season of thanks and goodwill, I raise my glass to all.

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