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Rapper J.I.D. and MOD Pizza Join Forces to Help People Struggling in the Pandemic

She lost her job, her health insurance and her car during the pandemic. But when it looked like things couldn’t get much worse, a young woman in Decatur, Georgia, got an uplifting surprise from MOD Pizza, a leading social impact company and one of the country’s fastest-growing restaurant chains, and Grammy-nominated rapper J.I.D., becoming the first beneficiary of the fast-casual pizza chain’s new Random Acts of MODness initiative.

In a video released by MOD Pizza (see below), J.I.D. is shown meeting with the unnamed woman at a MOD store for a pie and a chat. He then led her outside, where he presented her with a brand-new four-door sedan bedecked with a giant red bow.

Related: How Malawi’s Pizza is leading the social enterprise movement in the pizza restaurant segment

The giveaway was part of the launch of Random Acts of MODness, MOD’s year-long campaign to grant wishes to individuals or organizations in need across the United States. J.I.D will help MOD grant additional wishes via Twitter, the company said.

Beginning on March 25, Twitter users anywhere in the United States are invited to tweet their wish or a wish for someone else to @MODPizza with the hashtag #RandomActsofMODness. MOD and J.I.D are looking for large or small ways to help—whether paying a utility bill, purchasing clothes for a job interview, providing a bus pass to get to work or a gift for a special birthday. Nothing is off limits, the company said, and there are no strings attached.

As the year continues, MOD Pizza said it will look for ways to fulfill more Random Acts of MODness on social media.

“It’s been a tough year and we know folks are struggling,” J.I.D. said. “So I’m excited to partner with MOD to spread some love in our local communities. We all need a little help from time to time, so hit us up!”

Ally Svenson, MOD’s co-founder and chief purpose officer, added, “We’re so inspired by the impact that a kind gesture can have on someone’s life and the ripple effect that this can create. We call it ‘Spreading MODness.’ J.I.D is helping us spread more MODness and positively impact more lives, and for this we are so grateful!”

In a feature story earlier this year, PMQ Pizza Magazine, the trade publication for the pizza restaurant industry, asked MOD Pizza co-founder Scott Svenson if he considered his company to be a social enterprise. “I guess the answer would be yes,” Svenson said. “When we started MOD, we referred to it as a crazy social experiment that would combine the best of a for-profit business with the heart of a nonprofit, whereby the more successful we were, the better and bigger social impact we would make.”

During the pandemic, MOD has reinforced its commitment to making an impact on the communities it serves. For example, MOD said it has delivered 180,000 meals to kids and families impacted by COVID-19 and fighting food insecurity in partnership with the anti-hunger nonprofit Generosity Feeds. MOD also aided 46 local and regional food banks and backpack programs to help tackle hunger in local communities during the annual Spreading MODness week.

MOD Pizza this year partnered with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) on the HOPES Program (Hospitality Opportunities for People (Re)Entering Society), which creates job opportunities and training for young people re-entering society after serving prison sentences. HOPES is a collaboration between businesses, state restaurant associations and community-based organizations that provides pathways to success for justice-involved individuals looking for a new start. The partnership launched in March in Chicago-area MOD Pizza locations, with plans for a nationwide rollout later this year.

MOD Pizza has also made a commitment to hire people with autism and other differing abilities who otherwise have trouble finding employment.

J.I.D. was born and raised in East Atlanta, where he grew up on his parents’ collection of classic funk/soul LPs. He broke onto the scene with his 2015 EP, DiCaprio, which saw him collaborating with hip-hop duo EarthGang, whom he’d previously joined on a 2014 tour that included Bas and Ab-Soul. During that tour, he was spotted by J. Cole who signed J.I.D to his Interscope Records venture, Dreamville Records.

Soon after signing to Dreamville, J.I.D made his major-label debut with the widely celebrated album, The Never Story (2017)The effort was closely followed by the critically acclaimed DiCaprio 2 (2018), which received major looks from Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR and more. In 2019, J.I.D continued his momentum with contributions on Dreamville’s platinum-certified compilation, Revenge of the Dreamers III, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 charts and received multiple Grammy nominations, including Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance.

Fast-Growing Restaurant Chain Commits to Hiring More Employees with Differing Abilities

MOD Pizza, one of the country’s fastest-growing restaurant chains, has pledged to hire more differently abled employees—including those with autism and intellectual or physical disabilities—by 2025 as part of a larger nationwide effort to foster inclusive and diverse workplaces.

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, MOD Pizza joined the Delivering Jobs pledge, an inclusion campaign spearheaded by Autism Speaks, Best Buddies and Special Olympics in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation. MOD, a national pizza brand with a loyal millennial following, will join a coalition of companies that have committed to creating a total of 1 million new employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism and intellectual and developmental differences (IDD) over the next five years.

Eighty-one percent of adults with IDD do not have a paid job in their community. The Delivering Jobs initiative aims to help them develop the skills they need for employment and leadership positions while incentivizing businesses to hire them.

As a purpose-led restaurant brand, MOD Pizza practices what cofounder Scott Svenson terms “a more enlightened form of capitalism” that drives profits while creating a positive social impact. The company was the country’s fastest-growing restaurant chain in 2018 and 2019.

As PMQ Pizza Magazine reports, MOD Pizza focuses on impact hiring and an inclusive culture, creating jobs for people who ordinarily struggle to find employment. MOD has found success through building its MOD Squad workforce to include people with IDD, opportunity youth (young people aged 16-24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market), and those who have been previously incarcerated.

MOD currently has more than 300 Squad members with IDD, and a few of them helped to create this inspiring video, titled “Our World,” last year.

Our World from MOD Pizza on Vimeo.

“MOD exists to serve people in order to contribute to a world that works for and includes everyone,” said Ally Svenson, co-founder and chief purpose officer of MOD Pizza, in a statement about the Delivering Jobs program. “This pledge not only aligns with our mission to build an inclusive workplace and a culture of opportunity, but hopefully will also encourage other companies across the retail and restaurant industry to do the same.”

Angela Geiger, president and CEO of Autism Speaks, said hiring differently abled people can make a difference at any company. “We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of inclusive employment on businesses of all sizes,” she said. “Through [the Delivering Jobs campaign], we hope to facilitate and normalize recruitment and management practices, providing the resources for these workers to thrive.”

Delivering Jobs is challenging all businesses to identify ways they can incorporate this untapped workforce into their diversity and inclusion plans; ensure that they have access to a minimum of 1% of employment and leadership opportunities; and empower HR personnel to invest in the long-term success of all employees.  Learn more at www.deliveringjobs.org.