Ground Up is a for-profit business intent on training disadvantaged women in the Greater Portland area in marketable skills through the production and sales of delicious & nutritious nut butters! We take a holistic approach to empowerment, offering personal development services and mentoring during the workday. Our goal is for women to engage in creative self-expression with the hope of gaining confidence and realizing their full potential. Women will work with us for 6-9 months and then transition into full-time employment at Portland-area businesses.
The need for this bridge program is great and the statistics are sobering:
A third of Oregon’s single working mothers and their children live below the poverty line
41% of female-headed families with children are in poverty
44% of Oregon households receiving federal food assistance are headed by women
70% of those in poverty are women and children
We believe that it is wiser to teach a woman to fish, than to feed her fish. Rather than fundraising, our energy goes towards producing meaningful, quality products that create jobs and provide a platform for skills training. We’re convinced if you create economic and personal stability in a woman’s life, the trickle down effect to her family and community will be powerful and dramatic.
Julie recently returned from Uganda, where she was overseeing production for 31 Bits Designs, a company that employs women overcoming poverty. She developed and implemented an employment training program for women in Uganda, igniting a passion. After witnessing the success of this model of empowerment, she sees the opportunity (and need) to implement a similar program in her home community of Portland. Julie has a degree in Sociology and Business from Whitworth University.
Julie's favorite Ground Up flavor is Coconut Cardamom with Chia Seed—she loves having it on-the-go with banana and apple!
Carolyn has been making and selling nut butters for years to friends and family, and has been perfecting her unique recipe. After developing a passion for nutrition and wellness through dealing with her own health issues, she began to notice a gap in the marketplace for nut butters made with simple ingredients, original flavorings, and without the addition of sugar, peanuts and other additives. Carolyn has a business degree from Babson and a full-time job in online marketing.
Carolyn's favorite Ground Up flavor is Lavender Honey—it's delicious swirled into oatmeal or added to morning smoothies!