Since the first MOD Pizza store opened eight years ago, one of the company’s focuses has been community.
With the opening of each new store, the company partners with a local charity in that community and a portion of the proceeds from opening day go toward that organization.
MOD has taken this a step further in the last couple years with its Spreading MODness campaign. The campaign falls on the week of Thanksgiving, which also marks the company’s birthday. This is the third year for Spreading MODness, which began Tuesday and runs through Sunday.
During this time, $1 from every pizza sold at MOD stores will go toward a local nonprofit organization chosen by the employees of that location — oftentimes, it is the same charity the store partnered with for opening day.
Proceeds from the three Redmond-area locations in downtown, on the Microsoft Corp. campus and on Redmond Ridge will go toward Friends of Youth (FOY) in Redmond, Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA) and Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Redmond, respectively.
Co-founder Ally Svenson said Spreading MODness is one of the ways they are using their business for a force of good. With MOD’s birthday falling on the week of Thanksgiving, she said they wanted to echo the theme of giving to others because that is one of the key factors behind happiness.
“It’s not really about receiving,” she said.
Svenson said they wanted this for the MOD Squad, or employees, and they have really embraced it. Some locations have even gone beyond the campaign. For example, she said, one store in Portland, Ore. partners with a local food bank and when the MOD staff learned about some of the food bank’s struggles, some of the store’s employees spent a Sunday volunteering their time at the food bank.
“They were paying attention to what was happening in their community,” Svenson said.
According to a MOD press release, the company expects to donate more than $250,000 to 165-plus nonprofits this year through Spreading MODness.
“It’s become such a big undertaking for us and we love it,” Svenson said about the company’s growth in the last few years and the work it now takes to coordinate the campaign.
Svenson said in addition to the financial resources Spreading MODness provides for the chosen nonprofits, the campaign also shines a light on them and raises awareness of their cause within the communities they serve.
Deborah Crawley, executive director of BIAWA, said while their organization is tiny and the number of folks who support them is not very big, the community support they do get is “huge.”
As an organization, BIAWA works to support individuals and their families who have been affected by brain injuries such as hits and strokes.
The money raised through Spreading MODness will go toward various programs at BIAWA such as its peer navigator program, which Crawley said pairs someone who has been recently injured with someone who is at least two years out from their injury to help them along their journey.
At FOY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting youth and families in challenging circumstances, the money from the Redmond MOD store will go toward the nonprofit’s youth service center at the Together Center in downtown Redmond.
President and CEO Terry Pottmeyer said the Issaquah MOD location has also chosen FOY as their charity of choice and the proceeds from that store’s sales will go toward counseling services at their Issaquah location.
Pottmeyer said they cannot do their work alone so community partnerships like the one they have with MOD are very important.
She described MOD — who FOY has been partnering with for about a year — as a second-chance employer that will hire people who may have difficulty finding a job for whatever reason.
For both BIAWA and FOY, their partnerships and connections with MOD have extended beyond the fundraising campaign.
Crawley said the downtown Redmond MOD store has hired one of their members, Chanel, who received a brain injury when she fell on a camping trip. The young woman also volunteers at the BIAWA and also works at a senior center.
In a video produced by BIAWA, MOD marketing director Mary Douglas said one of the company’s core philosophies is “acceptance, hope, opportunity, leading to gratitude.” Douglas said they are trying to create a place of belonging and that it’s been exciting to build the partnership they now have with BIAWA.
“You know, we get just as much out of having Chanel as she’s getting out of, I’m sure, coming to MOD,” Douglas said.