Piada Italian Street Food has taken an unconventional, employee-driven approach to its corporate giving. When deciding how it would distribute its charitable contributions to fight racism and support the local communities where its restaurants are located last month, the fast-casual restaurant company surveyed its employees to ensure that the company was investing in causes that were important to its team. Piada then donated a total of $50,000 to a diverse group of organizations that were picked by employees in each of its markets.
“We wanted our contributions to be meaningful and to intentionally benefit those communities where our restaurants are located and where our employees are living and working,” says Matt Harding, Chief Innovation Officer, Piada. “The best way we knew to do this was to listen to our local teams and prioritize our donations based on our employee’s interests and passions, not our own. During this time, we need to raise our employees up and make a difference in ways that mattered to them.”
Piada distributed a survey to its employees in June, asking for everyone to participate in selecting which local organizations they are passionate about and would like to see Piada support. As a response to ongoing issues of racial injustice, Piada identified a few organizations within each of its markets that benefited the Black Lives Matter movement as part of its continuing efforts to encourage diversity and inclusion within the company. Employees were able to vote for these organizations or write-in their own selections.
Each restaurant market received $5,000 to donate. Based on the total votes per organization, the appropriate percentage of the $5,000 was allocated toward each. Within its main markets across the country, Piada backed more than 25 organizations with various missions, including We Love Lake Street in Minnesota, Neighborhood Allies in Cincinnati, Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Columbus and many more.
With June being LGBT Pride month, $10,000 was donated to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that takes an intersectional approach to suicide prevention and crisis intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.
“So many restaurants and dining concepts have stepped up to help communities in need over the past few months, and to witness that expand across the restaurant industry is impactful,” says Harding. “Before making any major monetary contributions, it was important for Piada to pause and listen to our employees, and to support them in reacting to what was happening in each of their communities. This donation was purposefully different from our other community contributions in the past.”
Piada’s corporate giving is an ongoing commitment to the places and people where the company operates. In addition to the monetary donations given to organizations of its employees’ choice, Piada also fed more than 1,500 families through dry ingredient and meal donations to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in June. During the first weeks of the pandemic, the company also provided daily meals to children in its local communities who relied on lunches from their schools. Piada has long supported several community organizations such as The LeBron James Family Foundation and Pelotonia, as well.