Organic & Natural Health Association to Host Fundraiser Supporting HBCU Students Interested in Natural Health Careers at SupplySide West

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To further its commitment in raising a minimum of $50,000 for the Williams-Franklin Foundation (WFF) during the next five years to support education expenses for students of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who are interested in careers in natural health and healthcare, Organic & Natural Health Association will host a networking event to fundraise for the “Organic & Natural Health Scholarship Fund” at Old Soul Restaurant in Las Vegas. Informa Markets is the headlining sponsor for the event with a $5,000 commitment. The event will take place at the start of the SupplySide West conference.

“Increasing diversity and promoting DEI initiatives among organizations in the natural products industry is a priority focus at Informa Markets,” said Jon Benninger, vice president and market leader for SupplySide, Informa Markets. “Having more diversity in leadership positions within the industry allows us all to serve a larger audience of consumers who need to know about natural products. We see the Williams-Franklin Foundation as a good vehicle to attract new talent into the industry.”

Organic & Natural Health first announced its effort with the WFF to establish the “Organic & Natural Health Scholarship Fund” at the start of the year as an industry-wide cause, and this spring hosted its first virtual scholarship celebration and fundraiser on the SupplySide 365 Network platform, where more than $14,000 in donations were raised to fund seven scholarships for HBCU students this year.

“Through our collective fundraising efforts with the natural products industry at large, we are opening new doors for talented students who didn’t previously know the natural products industry existed,” said Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of Organic & Natural Health. “This is a systemic change that is necessary in our industry and we continue to invite all leaders to the initiative to help us expand it further. The next fundraising event at SupplySide West will be an opportunity to do just that.”

Old Soul Restaurant, located at 495 S. Grand Central Parkway in Las Vegas, is a pre-prohibition-style restaurant led by executive chef Natalie Young, who has more than 20 years of experience working in some of the most celebrated and demanding kitchens in the United States. Old Soul Restaurant includes an “elevated American classic kitchen with an emphasis on bourbon and whiskey, while you eat on grandma’s good china.” Organic & Natural Health’s networking and fundraising event for WFF will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Oct. 26. Tickets are $200 with a $100 tax deduction and sponsorship packages are also available at:

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

“Organic & Natural Health’s position as a leader in the natural products industry on the topic of diversity and inclusion has created a conduit between the students our foundation serves, and other leaders in the natural products industry, providing them with professional opportunities and critical financial support,” said Dwight Franklin, co-founder of WFF. “At the end of the day, our goal is to do our part to eliminate as much debt as possible for HBCU students and open as many doors for them as we can, so we appreciate anyone who can help us accomplish this goal.”

For leaders and companies within the natural products industry who wish to donate a tax-deductible gift directly to the Organic & Natural Health Scholarship Fund, please visit and select “Organic & Natural Health Fund” in the drop box when donating.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

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