A local health food store is helping Stags give back to Fairfield as they pick up their fruits and veggies.

The Whole Foods Market in Fairfield at 350 Grasmere Ave. pledges to donate five percent of Thursday’s net sales to the Arts & Minds program, which is presented by the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and the Bellarmine Museum of Art.

Quick Center Director Gary Wood is especially appreciative of the donation. “It’s very generous of them,” he said. “We can’t do what we do if it were not for that generous support.”Wood said the funds could be used to offer discounts to the community members who might not ordinarily have the resources to attend events. He said this is the first time he has seen a business offer a percentage of its net sales since he took the helm of the center last year.

Christen Grasso, the grocer’s marketing team leader, said that the store was happy to support Arts & Minds.“It’s a great program,” she said. “We wanted to get involved and help.”The donation is in line with the core values listed on Whole Foods’ website, which include “caring about our communities and our environment.”

The company also pledges to give at least five percent of their after-tax profits to charitable causes every year. The company’s 2011 net income after tax was approximately $343 million, meaning the company donated at least $17 million last fiscal year, according to their annual report.

The company also runs the Whole Planet Foundation, which seeks to alleviate poverty through microcredit programs; and the Whole Kids Foundation, which seeks to end the childhood obesity epidemic through wellness and nutrition. Catherine C. Giapponi, a professor of management at the Dolan School of Business, said Whole Foods is among companies connecting philanthropy with business.“Strategically, organizations are recognizing that there doesn’t necessarily have to be a disconnect between doing good and being profitable,” said Giapponi, adding that Whole Foods’ campaign reflects that attitude. 

Giapponi also said the program could help Whole Foods broaden its market base and reach younger people who might not have considered visiting the store.But could this initiative convince students to purchase their groceries at Whole Foods?

FUSA President Robert Vogel ‘13 thinks it’s possible.“I think the more health conscious portion of our student body goes to Whole Foods, but I think Stop & Shop is something people feel comfortable with,” he said. “Maybe if they realize what Whole Foods has to offer them, they’d be more likely to stop by.”

Grasso said the store is also reaching out to students by working with the University to try to accept the StagCard at its store. If they were to do so, they would be the first grocer to allow students to pay with StagBucks, according to Grasso.

The grocer’s sponsorship is affiliated with several Quick Center performances and Bellarmine art exhibitions, including the New Orleans’ own Hot 8 Brass Band concert this Friday.  

The store, which opened last June, is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. this Thursday.

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