When we first caught up with Cole Riley, it was early spring of 2020. He put his plans to launch a new food media company on hold as the pandemic unfolded. Instead, a more critical need emerged.
Inspired by his desire to help front-line workers, he launched an initiative called Founders Give where he orchestrated a distribution pipeline to deliver much-needed consumer products directly to those at the heart of the pandemic.
Now, he’s taking that cause one step further with Wellfare, a nonprofit delivering nourishing snacks and drinks directly to those who need them, at low to no cost.
We caught up with him to learn more.
Check out some highlights below:
On Wellfare’s Disruptive New Platform
When we look at the food pantries, or federal subsidy programs, or at the states, or small little nonprofits, they’re usually tackling the problem from one vantage point — maybe it’s cost, maybe it’s geography, or education and teaching people how to eat better. “For us, it’s the intersection of all three issues: it’s affordability, it’s accessibility, it’s awareness. It’s all three.”
On the Logistical Challenges Amid COVID-19
“I have had my fair share of experience during Founders Give and that logistics operation was something we built in three days. It was quite quick. It’s really just a puzzle, that’s all it is. The product’s there, the people are in need and they’re screaming at the top of their lungs and they need help, and all it is is about connecting the dots. And I don’t want to make it sound like it’s that simple but from what we’re doing and the way we’re approaching this … it’s really just about connecting the dots.”
On Redefining Welfare
“For us, there really isn’t anything out there. And there’s nothing out there that is going to be talking like us in that manner of disruption that things need to change. Even down to our name and the incredible stigma that surrounds this really noble idea of taking care of one another. How do we disrupt that? How do we reclaim that really beautiful, original definition of welfare.”