Since their founding over a decade ago, the American Licorice Company has been recognized in communities across the country thanks not only to their candy, Sour Punch and Red Vines, but their constant dedication to giving back.
Founded in Chicago and now based in La Porte, American Licorice Company runs a diverse array of programs that give the company and its employees ways to engage with the community. Helping spearhead these efforts is Nicole Krol, Community Outreach & Sustainability Specialist.
“It’s incredibly important for us to find ways to give back,” Krol said. “We really rely on our neighbors and community to show us where there is the greatest need. They let us know how we can make the biggest impact.”
At the core of their community and sustainability efforts is their sponsorship program. Nonprofits and other organizations across the Region are always in need of support in order to help organize their events and fund projects.
“We’ve sponsored the Autism Society’s Walk-a-Thon, Girls on the Run, and countless other events,” Krol said. “A lot of our associates have spouses, children, or grandchildren involved in these organizations. I’m proud to say that we really try to sponsor things that matter to our associates. We want to give back to the areas and organizations that are important to them!”
But nonprofits often need more than money to accomplish their work, so Krol looks for and establishes all kinds of ways to help out.
“We really try to be versatile. For instance, we always participate in Toys for Tots, but this year, we added in our four-legged friends by collecting pet food and toys for the St. Joseph Humane Society,” she said. “We also did a collection of gently worn clothing for those that need these items for job interviews, and safety shoes for those that do obtain a position but maybe can’t afford the cost. The United Way’s been a great help with this, we collect the items and they come to pick them up to make sure they get distributed to the correct organizations. They’ve been a great partner for us.”
The company also works closely with the La Porte Community School Corporation. In particular, they are very active with the Slicer Champions Mentorship Program. The initiative identifies students who could use a strong adult mentor to help them navigate the challenges that come with growing up.
“We step in any way we can and really rely on school administrators to let us know what needs to be addressed,” Krol said. “We have associates who are mentors, and we’ll also be offering two scholarships to deserving students in the community.”
Their unique and comprehensive approach to community support has earned American Licorice Company respect from organizations around Northwest Indiana.
“I think they realize we really want to make a difference; We don’t just want to throw money at problems,” Krol said. “We want to be a part of the solution. That’s why we have associates sitting on boards, mentoring our youth, and donating their time to improve our community.”