• Charity
  • Edible Arrangements
  • Farid Foundation
  • Non-profit support
  • Philanthropy
  • Tariq Farid donations
  • Tariq Farid Foundation

One of the unfortunate side effects of our digital age is that unfounded and hateful allegations can be easily spread to the public, even years after they have been dismissed as untrue.

I have experienced this firsthand due to the recent reappearance of old rumors by extremist bloggers regarding charitable contributions made through our non-profit organizations to worthwhile causes. Even the Anti-Defamation League has dismissed the accusations as baseless, but they continue to live online nevertheless.

As I have written many times before, when I started Edible Arrangements from a small storefront in East Haven, Connecticut, I had no idea it would achieve the success we have enjoyed over the last 15 years. From the start I have focused on building the business the right way, based on the values I was taught as a child.

Thanks to the passion and trust of our franchisees, who are from all walks of life, all cultures and faiths, Edible Arrangements has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I am living proof that the American Dream is still alive and well.

As I have also written in the past, with success comes responsibility. My faith is clear that I have a responsibility to share a portion of my success for the benefit of society, and one of my true joys has been providing support to organizations and causes who are helping those less fortunate.

Sadly, two of these contributions have been the focus of the hate-mongers who have used them to attack, me, my family and, as a result, everyone at Edible Arrangements.

Anyone who knows me and my family, knows there is no truth to them.

At the time, the accusations were so outrageous that I felt it best not to acknowledge them publicly. When customers, franchisees, friends or business associates asked me about them, I reassured them they were not true. By addressing them publicly, however, I felt I would only give them the credibility they didn’t deserve and cause undue concern.

Due to the recent turmoil in the Middle East, however, those looking for villains have again given life to these ridiculous rumors. And, I feel I must address them now.

In 2011, the Farid Foundation made a contribution to ICNA Relief USA, a New York City-based subset of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), for the purpose of building housing for battered women. ICNA Relief, which has also partnered with such important organizations as FEMA, the Red Cross and Catholic Charities, provides a wide range of services designed to help those in need. I am proud that we were able to join many other businesses and organizations in providing a refuge for these women.

In 2012, we again joined many other well-known businesses and organizations in supporting a street festival organized by Inner City Muslim Action Network. Among other purposes, the event was designed to encourage healthy eating habits among youth. During a franchisee meeting in Chicago I had the opportunity to visit their clinic and halfway houses for people making the transition from prison back into society. I was moved by the work they are doing in this area. The organization’s clinic and food distribution network are nationally recognized. Our support is small, compared to that provided by the U.S. Department of State and other major corporations, but I am very supportive of the programs this organization provides in its community and proud to be among its supporters.

Even though both of these organizations and projects are supported by many well-known businesses and organizations, and both have been honored by the White House, for some reason our contributions have been singled out, and their purpose twisted by those who would use them to spread their hate.

As with most charitable organizations, I understand that questions will sometimes be raised about where the money is going and how it is used. That is why we have always been very transparent about which organizations we support.

We are very careful in our selection process to make sure that our support goes to legally recognized, non-profit organizations, and, as much as possible, that our contributions are used for the causes for which they have been requested.

Below is a list of causes that we have supported over the years. I would be the first one to take an organization to task if I ever learned that our contributions had been used to spread hate and bigotry.

Our company is based on celebrating what is good in life, and I will continue to willingly share my success by supporting those who are helping others lead a better life.

After all, helping others is the American way.


Following is a comprehensive overview of support provided through the Tariq Farid Foundation, the Farid Foundation and Edible Arrangements.









For more about the The Farid Foundation, I invite you to visit www.TariqFaridFoundation.org.


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  • community service
  • Connecticut
  • Non-profit support
  • opportunity
  • Philanthropy
  • poverty
  • Solar Youth
  • Tariq Farid donations
  • Tariq Farid Foundation

When I was young, my uncle used to tell me a story about a frog, and its lesson stays with me to this day. It went something like this:

There was a frog living in a well. One day, a bird looked in the well and urged the frog to come out. The frog declined to do so.

“I’ve got everything I need right here,” the frog said, pointing around the area of the well, pointing out the moss, the insects to eat and the puddles of water from which to drink. “I love it here.”

The bird was not moved and urged the frog to come out. Eventually the frog did come out and was in awe. He was shocked by how much more there was to the world than he knew—different animals he had never seen, things called oceans and mountains, different vegetation, sounds, smells and ways of doing things. He was shocked, and then saddened that he had limited so many years of his life to what existed down in the well.

He determined that he would never limit himself in that way again.

Solar Youth takes part in a Community Art Project.

This story immediately came to mind when I first learned about Solar Youth, an amazing organization that works with young people in New Haven, Connecticut. Solar Youth engages youth from some of the most poverty stricken and isolated neighborhoods in its service area.

As with any poverty-stricken area across the world, these neighborhoods struggle with crime, a lack of resources and lack of opportunity. Despite this, these areas are full of good people, and families who are working so hard to try to make a better life for themselves and their children. Sometimes it is easy to forget the good being done by these passionate and dedicated people when we are barraged with negative news stories of crime and violence that occur in these neighborhoods.

Often, parents are busy working numerous jobs to get by. As a result, their children don’t have access to the activities and exposure to the bigger world “out there” that many of us take for granted. This can present a desolate environment for a child and their future chances of success; which is such a waste of potential.

This is where Solar Youth comes in.

Solar Youth’s mission is to provide opportunities for young people to develop a positive sense of self and connection and commitment to others through programs that incorporate environmental exploration, leadership development and community service.

Youth are drawn to Solar Youth for its promise of outdoor adventure and fun activities. These structured programs engage the youth in structured, yet fun learning activities designed to let them know about opportunities outside their immediate world and teaches important psycho-social skills.

Solar Youth:

  • Teaches ecology, caring for the environment and its impact on human health through hikes, education trips and nature.
  • Teaches youth how to work collaboratively to problem solve and improve conditions in their own community.
  • Teaches strategies to express anger, stress and frustration in a healthy and productive way without turning to violence.
  • Develops older youth into mentors so that they can, in turn, work with the younger children but still stay engaged in the organization.
  • With the older youth, through an internship program, Solar Youth offers weekly training on relevant topics including college applications, resume writing, future career planning, to prepare them for the transition out of high school.

This summer, a series of shootings occurred in the neighborhoods in which Solar Youth works. Children witnessed some of it; some children were related to one of the victims. Solar Youth was there, working with the youth through a difficult time, and ensuring that the children would not accept this violence as “normal.” Counselors were brought in. Youth were supported and engaged in a community art project where they made signs that contained important messages for themselves and others, such as “YOU MATTER TO US” and “ALWAYS CHASE YOUR DREAMS.”

Because of this amazing organization, the dreams of these youth will likely be much more far-reaching than those of the frog when he was in the well. And that is so important because they are our future and no human’s potential should be wasted. I am extremely proud that I am able to support their work through the Tariq Farid Foundation.

To learn more about Solar Youth, go here and explore their website. To donate to support their important work, go here.

Here are a few photos of the people involved in Solar Youth as well as those they support. You can also follow their activities on Facebook.

Members of Solar Youth go on a hike and explore a pond and park in New Haven, learning about ecology along the way
Solar Youth learn how to plant, grow and raise their own vegetables.
Solar Youth takes part in New Haven’s Annual Rock-to-Rock Earth Day Bike Ride.
Solar Youth do a neighborhood clean-up and help prepare an area for a new community garden.
Older members of Solar Youth attend an in-depth seminar that covers everything about applying for college
Older members of Solar Youth talk to graphic designers, engineers, small business owners, chefs, clothing designers and more at one of many Career Days
Joanne Sciulli, Solar Youth Executive Director and one of its founding members, poses with the organization’s first ever student intern. He now has a BA in Business Management and is working as an estimator.


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  • Charity
  • Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen
  • GivingTuesday
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA).
  • Non-profit support
  • Philanthropy
  • Tariq Farid donations
  • Tariq Farid Foundation

In 2012 Henry Timms, executive director of the acclaimed cultural and community center 92nd Street Y, created #GivingTuesday as a way to harness the goodwill of the holiday season. His idea was to use the day as a time to promote giving back to those in need, to your community, to raise awareness of important causes and to simply perform acts of kindness that make the world a nicer place. All of these things are important year-round, but especially on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Very quickly, more organizations joined the #GivingTuesday effort, including our friends at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) as well as the United Nations Foundation , Mashable and many other organizations and companies.

That’s why I am so happy to share the news that I have made a contribution to another amazing organization that helps those in need, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK).

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, DESK has been in existence for 30 years and serves thousands and thousands of meals every year. As I have heard from many of the other soup kitchens and food pantries that are supported by the Tariq Farid Foundation, the need has been increasing steadily over the past couple of years even after a large portion of the economy is said to have been recovered.

In 2013, DESK provided 132,333 evening meals at its soup kitchen, 65,114 food pantry bags and 22,600 bag lunches. In 2010, shortly after the height of the great recession, these numbers were lower at 104,008; 58,522 and 14,760 respectively. Even as the economy improves as a whole, it is clearly not improving for everyone.

The faces of those who need to use the services of the DESK soup kitchen are also changing, and now include more working adults and working families with children who, even though they are working, cannot always afford food.

Despite the growing need for the services provided by DESK, some funding sources have dwindled, making it harder for DESK to meet demand. If there is an organization you’d like to assist this #GivingTuesday, I’d proudly suggest DESK. To learn more about DESK, go here and to donate, go here.

It’s great to have a day set aside to bring recognition to the importance of giving back—to your community, to a cause, to those in need. But this is just one day! Let’s use this day to remind ourselves that giving back is always important and shouldn’t happen only once a year! So, whether it’s a small donation, a large donation, helping to raise awareness of a cause, volunteering your time or performing acts of kindness, let’s keep the spirit of #GivingTuesday alive year round!

And in honor of #GivingTuesday, I want to share a few photos of some of the DESK volunteers who are giving on a daily basis.

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  • Bloom Again Foundation
  • Charity
  • Dr. Lois Frankel
  • Lunafest
  • Non-profit support
  • Philanthropy
  • Tariq Farid donations
  • Tariq Farid Foundation

For many, few things cause more stress than the fear of missing a paycheck. Add the stress of a serious medical illness and you can understand the challenge facing many in our community on a daily basis.

Fortunately, there are people like Dr. Lois Frankel. While recovering from cancer back in 2008, the best-selling author began to think about the many women who were living paycheck to paycheck.

“I couldn’t imagine how they would make it if they couldn’t work for even one day, let alone months due to a serious medical illness,” Frankel recalls.

As soon as she recovered, Frankel established the Bloom Again Foundation to provide rapid relief to economically vulnerable working women when they need it most due to personal or family medical emergencies. Many women who are very ill and in need do not even have the luxury of time to fill out a lot of paper work and wait weeks for a response.

Bloom Again provides whatever is needed, from rental payments to money for food, so that the woman can focus on healing, not losing her home. Then, upon recovery, they can return to work.

“These women work hard and are proud. They don’t want a hand out. We give them a hand-up and help them get on their feet,” Frankel has said.

The Bloom Again Foundation has zeroed in on a profound need and created a targeted and beautifully simple solution that truly helps. And they do it with an all-volunteer staff that relies on a network of nonprofit community agencies to refer women who, despite working full time, were still living in poverty prior to falling ill. Thanks to their low overhead costs, over 90 percent of donations go directly to women in need.

For all of these reasons, the Tariq Farid Foundation was honored to be able to add its support to this worthy cause recently. Our commitment to the organization comes on the heels of Bloom Again’s 5th Annual Lunafest, which will be held on December 7 from 11 am to 5 pm at The Autry Museum, 4700 Western Heritage Way, in Los Angeles.

The Tariq Farid Foundation is the presenting sponsor of this event, which serves as a celebration of all women but also as a fundraiser for Bloom Again and features short films by, for and about women. If you are in the area, I encourage you to join the celebration to find out more about the great work this organization is doing. For more information on Luna Fest or to purchase tickets, please click here.





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  • Charity
  • Farid Foundation
  • Holidays
  • meals
  • Non-profit support
  • nutrition
  • Philanthropy
  • Tariq Farid donations
  • Tariq Farid Foundation
  • volunteers

With the arrival of November, my thoughts naturally turn to the holidays . . . and food. One of my true joys is celebrating with family and friends at a dinner table overflowing with good food and great conversation.

For many, however, food is not about celebration. It is about survival. That’s why my thoughts at this time of the year also turn to organizations such as the Community Soup Kitchen of New Haven. This small group of dedicated individuals is at the forefront of making sure that everyone — regardless of personal or financial situation — has access to regular nutritious meals.

With a paid staff of only three, a volunteer coordinator, an all-volunteer Board and an enthusiastic army of volunteers, the Community Soup Kitchen provides breakfast and lunches four days a week as well as other services. Their guests, as they refer to those they serve, include the jobless, homeless, elderly, those living with AIDS, those living on welfare, the mentally ill, chronic substance abusers, single parents, the working poor, veterans, and the lonely and hungry people of our community.

Their mission is simple, yet inspiring:

  • To provide free, nutritious meals on a regular basis in the downtown New Haven community for the benefit of the poor and underprivileged.
  • To enhance the dignity and sense of worth of all those who come to the kitchen by welcoming them wholeheartedly and warmly as guests of CSK.
  • To provide our guests with access to various services during their visits, such as flu shots, warm winter clothing and educational and job referrals.

As their mission states, in addition to providing free nutritious meals, the Community Soup Kitchen also often teams with other agencies such as Hill Health Center, and the ACCESS mental health outreach team, as well as employment and pre-employment resources.

Twice each week they work with Saint Luke’s Services to provide lunch for needy women and children and they also provide bagged lunches for the homeless outreach program at Fellowship Place.

Director Dave O’Sullivan and his team make all of this happen with an annual budget of just a few hundred thousand dollars and without any state or federal funds. Fortunately they receive some food from government programs, grants from the City of New Haven as well as contributions from individuals and organizations. I am honored to say that those supporting organizations include the Tariq Farid Foundation, and it is my hope that others will join us in making sure that no one in their community goes hungry, not just during the upcoming season of celebration, but every day of the year.

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