· By Jason Katz
Popcorn for the People partners with Rutgers Enactus to create sustainable autism employment
Enactus is an international nonprofit organization which focuses on making sustainable social impact in the local, national, and global community. All across the world, colleges and universities seek problems in their communities and offer sustainable solutions, all through their Enactus Chapters. The Enactus Chapter of Rutgers University, Rutgers Enactus, was created in 2014 by a group of undergraduate students: “Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.”
Popcorn for the People, first located in East Brunswick and now located in Piscataway, just three minutes away from the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus, was introduced to the Rutgers Enactus chapter back in 2016 by the Dean of the Rutgers Business School, Martin S. Markowitz. Thus started a relationship between Rutgers Enactus and Popcorn for the People.
Rutgers Enactus saw Popcorn for the People and believed in its mission to help employ adults in the autism community. The organization of undergraduate students partnered with the nonprofit and sought ways to grow the business in order to increase the impact made by Popcorn for the People on the autism community.
Rutgers Enactus decided to help Popcorn for the People in four areas: marketing, external relations, finances, and operations. In all of these areas, their goal was to help spread Popcorn for the People’s mission, increase its source of funding through grants, and make their operations and manufacturing process more efficient.
Through the past 3 years of working with Rutgers Enactus, Popcorn for the People has grown immensely! Rutgers Enactus was able to connect Popcorn for the People with the Rutgers Athletics department, which led to Popcorn for the People to sign a contract with RU Athletics to be able to sell our gourmet popcorn at sporting events all over campus! This strategic partnership enabled Popcorn for the People to grow and create their own partnerships thereafter.
Additionally, the past Enactus Project Manager of Popcorn for the People, Rachel Cheng, graduated from Rutgers University and became Popcorn for the People’s Chief Operating Officer.
When Popcorn for the People was first introduced to Rutgers Enactus, more and more adults on the autism spectrum were provided meaningful employment opportunities. Popcorn for the People was also able to increase hours of each worker, giving them more work to be able to sustain themselves in their daily lives.