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Cannabis Dispensary Awards $50K Grant to Pasadena Chamber Foundation to Support Youth, Education and Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

Published on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 | 1:12 pm

Although no social equity program has been set up by the city’s nascent cannabis industry, at least one dispensary is taking action.

Pasadena cannabis retailer Essence and parent company Green Thumb have donated $50,000 to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The money was given with specific uses predetermined.  

“Essence has a strong commitment to equity and offsetting impacts of previous law enforcement policies that may have more severely impacted minority communities,” said Dina Rollman, Essence senior vice president of government affairs. 

“This donation to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation will help emancipated foster youth succeed in college and provide a new level of support for minority- and women-owned small businesses through the Chamber of Commerce,” Rollman said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“We are very grateful Essence and Green Thumb chose the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation for their generous support,” said Foundation Executive Director Paul Little. Little is also president and CEO of the local chamber.

According to the statement, $5,000 of the donation will be devoted to scholarships for emancipated foster youth who are matriculating from community college to four-year colleges or universities. 

Another $3,500 is intended to support financial literacy programs for local public school students. 

The bulk of the funds, $40,000, will be used to provide support for small businesses owned or operated by minorities and women.

“Essence wants to be a meaningful contributing member of the business community here in Pasadena by supporting charities and initiatives that give back to our impacted communities and provide a means to help offset inequities previous policies may have created,” Rollman said. 

“This donation and the four others we made recently directly provide for those in our community who are most in need of assistance and support,” she said.

Essence and Green Thumb have committed to a donation schedule of providing $200,000 to five nonprofits over four years. 

“These funds will be used to help local students and provide an enhanced level of support through the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce for women and minority-owned businesses in our community,” Little said.

Details on the programs and businesses being supported by the donation were not immediately available.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Foundation was created to support educational initiatives in local schools and the local economy. Prior to 2019, the foundation administered funds to support student internships with the Pasadena Unified School District and provided scholarships to deserving local students. 

The chamber serves 1,450 member companies. Green Thumb Industries Inc. (“Green Thumb”), a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer, promotes well-being through cannabis while giving back to the communities in which it operates. 

Green Thumb manufactures and distributes a portfolio of branded cannabis products. The company also owns and operates rapidly growing national retail cannabis stores called Rise™ Dispensaries, headquartered in Chicago. The company has 16 manufacturing facilities, licenses for 111 retail locations, and operations across 14 U.S. markets. 

Established in 2014, Green Thumb employs over 3,000 people and serves thousands of patients and customers each year. The company was named to Crain’s Fast 50 list in 2021 and a Best Workplace by MG Retailer magazine in 2018 and 2019. 

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