5 Food & Drink Companies That Support The LGBTQ Community Year-Round
Pride season is upon us — which means a lot of much-needed attention is being given to the LGBTQ community. Not only will there be more parades and celebrations than you can shake a (disco) stick at, there are also a ton of companies that support the LGBTQ community this time of year. But, just as a puppy is not just for Christmas, the LGBTQ community is not just for Pride month. We're for life. So it’s important that allies come out and show their support all year round. Sometimes it’s easy for allies to get caught up in the rush of Pride celebrations and then tune out afterward. It's also really easy to assume that just because the people you are friends with aren’t homophobic or transphobic that nobody else is, either. But there’s still a long way to go before we reach equality, even if you don’t personally see prejudice against queer folk in your day-to-day life.
Especially now, when we live under an administration that has consistently threatened the rights of queer folk — and many other marginalized groups — it’s crucial to show your support. Luckily, there are some big name companies that come out to support the queer community year-in and year-out, not just when the rainbow flags start flying. If you make a conscious effort to be an ethical consumer — or you just like the idea of supporting a company that gives back — knowing where your money is going can make a huge difference. So here are five companies that support the LGBTQ community all year round, because we’re worth it.
Starbucks may have some awesome rainbow merch, but their support for the LGBTQ community goes much deeper than than sparkling tumblers. Through the Starbucks Foundation "Opportunity For All" grants, they've given to groups like Center on Halsted in Chicago, which supports unemployed and underemployed members in the LGBTQ community. Helping smaller groups can make an enormous difference.
2. Big Gay Ice Cream
Big Gay Ice Cream is a West Village staple in NYC — and, as the name suggests, is very much part of the queer community. But they also put their money with their mouth is. "Big Gay Ice Cream proudly supports the Ali Forney Center, which has been making a difference by rescuing homeless LBGTQ youth from the streets and placing them into safe environments since 2002," their site explains. Talk about a great cause.
3. Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's doesn't mess around when it comes to supporting local groups and the LGBTQ community. Not only has it been vocally in favor of gay marriage, the company also has a huge grant program (it gave out $2.6 million in 2014 alone). The program helps support all types of grassroots, economic justice, and community action campaigns — many of which benefit the LGBTQ community. As if you needed another excuse to eat ice cream.
Cocoa-Cola is a major sponsor of The Trevor Project, which is a big check in its favor. If you're not familiar, The Trevor Project does amazing work helping with suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. It's a hugely important organization and any company that supports it is doing something great — so I'm on board.
Pepsi continually comes out on top of the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index — and they also have frequently opened their wallet with events like sponsoring the HRC Foundation's Historically Black College and University LGBT Student Leadership Summit. Big companies have big wallets, of course, and they can always do more — but it's a good place to start.
As you see a barrage of Pride sponsorships and products head your way in June, it's important to be a little more discerning. It's one thing for a company to slap a rainbow on their merch in order to make more money or look woke — it's another thing to actually give back to communities and groups that need it. If you're curious, look into what major companies have grant programs or foundations — and try to work out if the values they claim to support are actually reflected in how they treat their workforce. Giving back isn't about using Pride to make money — it's about helping the people who need it most.