This week, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Newman’s Own to tip our hat to the man who decided to launch a food business that gives away 100% of its profits to charity. Read on to learn more about how Paul Newman accidentally found himself at the center of a successful food business and the impact of his incredible philanthropy:
Paul Newman’s craft was acting, his passion was auto racing, his love was his family and friends. But his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place. His commitment to philanthropy was clear — he used his influence, gave of his financial resources, and personally volunteered to advance humanitarian and social causes around the world. While Paul Newman was a Hollywood star of extraordinary celebrity and a person recognized for exceptional commitment and leadership for philanthropy, he lived his life as an ordinary person, which he always considered himself. He was a man of abundant good humor, generosity, and humility.
Newman’s Own began as a bit of a lark. In 1980, Paul Newman and his pal A.E. Hotchner filled empty wine bottles with his homemade salad dressing to give as gifts for the holidays. After friends and neighbors came clamoring for refills, Paul and “Hotch” were convinced that the special recipe was good enough to be bottled and sold.
Newman’s Own Salad Dressing was officially launched in 1982 and, surprisingly, became an instant success. The first year of profits exceeded $300,000 and Paul declared, “Let’s give it all away to those who need it.” Without ever taking personal compensation, Paul shared his good fortune. It was a unique concept at the time – giving away all after-tax profits, but he believed that helping others was just the right thing to do.
In these thirty years, Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $460 million to thousands of charities. Newman’s Own Foundation is an independent, private foundation formed in 2005 by Paul Newman to sustain the legacy of his philanthropic work. Funded entirely through the profits and royalties of Newman’s Own products, the Foundation does not maintain an endowment, raise funds, or accept donations. The Foundation believes that each of us, through the power of philanthropy, has the potential to make a difference. Since 1982, when Paul Newman first declared, “Let’s give it all away,” more than $460 million has been donated to thousands of nonprofit organizations helping people in need around the world.
Today, Newman’s Own produces over 200 individual products across 20 categories. Always great tasting, always top quality, just the way our founder, Paul Newman, insisted. We’ll always follow his vision for putting quality first. The Newman’s Own business model has remained the same over the years. The enterprise remains true to Paul’s original mission and values, using only all-natural, high-quality foods and donating 100% of profits and royalties to charity. Who would’ve thought that so much good could come from a simple idea? As Paul said, it has been “a heck of a ride.”