WASHINGTON, Feb 4, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – To open up more opportunities in the natural products industry for students and graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), the Organic and Natural Health Association announced a new partnership with Williams -Franklin Foundation during its annual conference held practically on January 27-28. As part of the partnership, Organic & Natural Health will help raise a $ 50,000 minimum for the Williams-Franklin Foundation over the next five years to support HBCU student education spending, which will be held in a fund for the industry called, “Organic & Natural Health Scholarship Fund.” Organic and Natural Health, a leader in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the natural products industry, is also committed to supporting networking opportunities for students, graduates and executives of HBCU Natural Health aims to spark internships and career opportunities while helping to create a more diverse and inclusive industry.

“This is an Organic and Natural Health initiative, but it’s not ours to own,” said Karen Howard, executive director of Organic and Natural Health. “We want to make this a broad industrial initiative for diversity and inclusion, and we want it to be just as big and just as important as what Vitamin Angels have achieved in distributing dietary supplements to countries in need. “Our industry is the biggest obstacle to the lack of diversification in our organizations. Together, as industries, we can actively work to change this dynamic.”

The Williams-Franklin Foundation is a nonprofit involved in 501 (c) 3 that offers scholarships, business / career networks, and mentoring opportunities for HBCU students in extreme financial need. Led by the team of husband and wife, Dwight and LaShelle (Williams) Franklin, both HBCU graduates who used their seed money to start the foundation in 2014. In a short time their organization has raised thousands of dollars since have impacted the lives of many HBCU students.

“Karen’s initiative and leadership with the presentation of the Williams-Franklin Foundation is really valuable because our ultimate goal is to help students graduate with minimum debt and maximum opportunity,” said Dwight Franklin. “We are looking forward to this partnership and providing our students with opportunities to succeed in the natural products industry,” added LaShelle (Williams) Franklin.

Managers and companies within the natural products industry wishing to donate a tax-deductible gift directly to the Williams-Franklin Foundation Organic & Natural Scholarship Fund can select “Organic and Natural Health Organ” in the drop-down box when donating to: https : / /www.wmsfranklinfoundation.org/donate/.

Other topics on diversity and inclusion covered at the Organic and Natural Health conference included strategies for a more inclusive workplace with Nordic Naturals’ Brian Terry and Corvus Blue’s Kantha Shelke. The conference also addressed, with the Scientific Advisors of Organic and Natural Health, the experience of COVID-19 from what happens after the vaccine with Dr. Michael Murray, to research and take on immune health with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., As well as first-hand experiences from the front line with Drs. Ken Redcross. Also featured was a panel of consumers of different ages and backgrounds who shared their personal experiences with COVID-19, including those dietary supplements they used before, during and after contracting the virus, as well as other prevention traps that encountered.

“This is important information for our supply chain members to hear so they can meet and serve customers where they are currently in the fight against COVID,” Howard said. “We are also committed to continuing our education campaign for vitamin D consumers called ‘Get My Level’, which, to date, has garnered more than 60 million media impressions.”

The conference ended with a panel discussing thought-led policy addressing the challenges of the old-fashioned party and one-sided perspectives in a new administration. Carrie Balkcom of the American Grassfed Association, Charlie Brown of Mercury Free Dentistry, Ronnie Cummis of the Organic Consumers Association, Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides, Alan Lewis of Natural Grocers and Todd Harrison of Venable, LLP, had an animated talk about creating the road innovation and partnership through agriculture, environmental and state-based concerns to safeguard policies that lead to a healthier planet and population.

To get involved with Organic and Natural Health initiatives, visit: https://organicandnatural.org.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at: