Above: Fustini’s founder Jim Milligan and General Manager Liz Lancashire
Founded in 2008, Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars quickly became one of Michigan’s most desirable, respected, and trusted speciality food brands, and that only happened through innovation, bold optimism, focus, and a belief in possibilities. Founder Jim Milligan and General Manager Liz Lancashire saw those same traits in the team at Groundwork and also saw a shared mission of working toward a better world. That’s why, through our Corporate & Community Partnership Program, Fustini’s became a sponsor of our programs that expand the local food economy, speed the transition to an equitable clean energy economy, and promote strategies to create livable, accessible, thriving towns.
We asked Jim and Liz to answer a few questions about what it is about the work of Groundwork that convinced them to join Groundwork supporters, staff, and board on this remarkable journey.
What’s your Groundwork story?
We met Hans Voss [executive director] way back when and then started to see the organization’s name (then MLUI) everywhere—seemingly connected to great projects. And the offices were right across the street from our store, so we made acquaintances through daily interactions.
Our philanthropic goals as a company are becoming clearer, and it is great to see the collaboration between farmers, food pantries and nonprofits.—Fustini’s
How does Groundwork align with what is important in your work?
They are the ones who get things done. The scope is wide, and they get straight to the heart of the solution, whether it be with government or fundraising, or grassroots connections.
Why do you choose to support Groundwork?
Their longevity and effectiveness indicates they know what to do and how to do it. We have no business trying to fix food insecurity—where to begin?—but Groundwork has the right systems and people in place, and can get further with our support.
What is something you are currently excited about in your work and something on the horizon?
Our philanthropic goals as a company are becoming clearer, and it is great to see the collaboration between farmers, food pantries and nonprofits.
What’s something that you love about your local and sustainable community?
Most everyone is on the same page. Supporting sustainability for farmers helps the individual, the community and the environment.
What is your niche in the community and your market?
We provide excellent products for people to enhance their home cooking and eat healthier, all in a warm, friendly environment.
What does “community” mean to you?
The connection between retail, business, tourism, agriculture; the understanding that what is good for one is most likely good for all.
Visit Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars @ fustinis.com to see store locations and learn the company’s story..
Learn more about the Groundwork Corporate and Community Partnership Program on our website.
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Stephanie Prall, Development Specialist