COMMUNITY IMPACT GUIDING PRINCIPLES: INTEGRATE. ENGAGE. EMPOWER.
Giving back to the community by assisting vulnerable populations, providing community services, and through philanthropic giving. Medical and adult-use cannabis dispensaries will collect donations for the homeless, canned foods, hygienic products, and other items that may help disadvantaged populations, in addition to providing new employment opportunities.
COMMUNITY IMPACT PLAN
CEO OPENING STATEMENT
Our business optimizes its positive impact on the community when we fully integrate and engage in the communities we serve. We seek to add value to the efforts already underway in our communities and want to be valued partners in helping to build them up. Creating a community identity is critical to our success and we identify this opportunity as the process of Mapping our Community DNA.
We are truly excited about our community engagement and partnership opportunities in Southwest Pennsylvania. We have “boots on the ground” working to learn as much about the patients we will serve and the neighborhoods that make up the great cities in Allegheny, Greene, and Indiana Counties. We are confident that the relationships we are building are ready to blossom into sustainable partnerships not only in the pre-licensure phase, but definitely in the post licensure phase.
From the Community Action Agencies to the local Chambers of Commerce—we are listening to the voices of the community leaders who understands the people that live and work in them. We share the concerns of the community related to the growing opioid epidemic that is destroying families and deteriorating the Southwest Pennsylvania area. We hear the voices of the former coal miners and their families and how unemployment and the underemployment negatively impacts their families. We also hear the voices of patients who look to medical marijuana as a viable option to treatment and improvement in quality of life as a result of the benefits that this medical intervention can provide. Our goal is to increase access to this medicine and offer our patients the ability to have this value in their community.
These voices matter. They matter to AGRiMED Industries and they matter to those that work to manage our foundation AGRiCARES. We see opportunity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We see opportunities to make real and lasting change in the lives of patients and we want an opportunity to engage and invest in a community that has welcomed us so warmly.
AGRiMED plans to be a staple in the communities where we have established a presence and a valuable asset to the people that we impact. We are excited to share our Community Impact Plan, and we are sure that our organic, grassroots approach to engaging Southwest Pennsylvania has allowed us to gather quality data and forge genuine relationships with many leaders across several fronts. Building on these relationships is our essential focus and our first priority in our Community Impact Plan.
CHAIRMAN & CHIEF FOUNDER’S STORY;
The AGRiMED Chairman, Sterling Crockett, has spent decades building communities and empowering people to be the best version of themselves. Under Sterling Crockett’s guidance, AGRiMED has a well-mapped track record of service. Community engagement is simply in the company’s DNA and we want Pennsylvania to know that AGRiMED is a partner that can be trusted to deliver on its promises to be purposeful in our pursuit to help improve the quality of life of our patients in Southwest Pennsylvania. Our focus on community has been forged from the vision of the Chairman and Sterling Crockett has always endeavored to leave the world better than how he found it. His vision has a very powerful purpose behind it and ultimately we seek to have a positive impact on the people of Southwest Pennsylvania.
Approaching his senior year of highschool, Sterling found himself at a crossroads. A talented basketball player, Sterling received several division one scholarship offers, but could not take advantage of them as he didn’t quite apply himself enough to make the grades. He persevered and enrolled in community college and began to apply himself and excelled as he knew he could. Soon into his 2nd year at college, Sterling quickly found himself facing financial challenges which drove him to having to decide between enlisting in the Army or finishing college. After sharing this dilemma with his coach, an anonymous citizen familiar with his situation and who had been impressed watching him grow over the previous year, blessed him with the financial resources needed to finish school. There were only two conditions: the donor was to remain anonymous and Sterling was to promise that when given the opportunity in the future, he would help others in the same way. Every accomplishment Sterling realized in his life – from helping to rebuild the Pentagon after the 9 – 11 terrorist attacks to founding AGRiMED – was borne from this life lesson. Today, the Sterling & Florence Crockett Scholarship Endowment gives two students a year the opportunity to continue their journey in higher education. This commitment is going strong for ten years now.
Today, Sterling is a blessed husband and father of two. He is a mentor and leader to countless people. When asked about his ambitions, Mr. Crockett always points to his childhood experiences. Though his 3rd Great Grandfather was a slave and Sterling himself was raised in small town rural Virginia, he still fondly remembers the love of the family and community that surrounded and protected him from the harms a segregated south brought to many. Sterling remembers his neighbor treating him like he was his own son. He was nurtured and taught to love regardless of color, race or creed. Befriending others because of the content of their character was his most remembered life lesson. This neutral and unconditional love is what has guided Sterling’s life.
Because the Chairman of AGRiMED Industries spent his life building things and building people–the building of a company with professionals that have also dedicated their lives to serving their communities isn’t at all surprising. Sterling has built a company that has a clear understanding and an intentional culture of inclusion. The opportunity to help patients and families improve their quality of life motivates us – this is a significant prospect, and we don’t take it lightly. The partners of AGRiMED are real people that don’t just talk about serving, they do it. They have been actively engaged and giving back to their communities collectively for over 150 years. Simply put, AGRiMED cares about people and communities and it puts the collective talents of its people where its promises are. AGRiMED’s commitment to community service does not extend only to the words on these pages, but will be a natural extension of our daily activities.
From scholarship endowments to building charitable foundations–the Crockett family has a well-defined fingerprint of service behind them and they continue to blaze trails ahead. Sterling Crockett is a champion for building communities and has received many awards and accolades for his many good works. AGRiMED is positioned to deliver on Southwest Pennsylvania commitments. The biggest fight out there is the battle to tackle the opioid epidemic. Pennsylvania can trust AGRiMED to be a laser-focused partner to help eradicate this threat to families and the community. The core objectives of integrating, engaging and empowering the communities AGRiMED employees will live and work in will focus first on this fight.
With these established goals, AGRiMED has begun to lay foundations to build strong and lasting partnerships in Southwest Pennsylvania. Community service partners in Allegheny, Indiana and Greene Counties have already shown great interest in our company, its history and our current commitments to become a staple in their neighborhoods. Our mission is to serve our patients and provide them with medicine that can help improve their quality of life. We look forward to working and growing in Southwest Pennsylvania.
Focus on Community Impact
Our Community Impact Plan (CIP) sets the direction for community improvement and a positive future. It crafts strategies driven by local assets and realities, recruitment policies that target local residents, a commitment to diversity and equality of opportunity for disadvantaged or vulnerable groups along with sustainable practices. Our CIP, along with our commitment to act in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of the community, will ensure a strong foundation for long-term stability and growth for our communities. Creating and sustaining a positive community impact is a fundamental element of our corporate social responsibility.
AGRiCARES and AGRiMED’s Executive Leadership and Board of Directors approved a focus on four impact areas, as a result of its community needs assessment and how they relate to our overall Company Mission:
- Improve the quality of life for our patients by providing the highest quality medicine at prices that allow access to medicine at all levels of the socio-economic scale.
- Support the work of local charities and organizations that have an intimate understanding of the challenges within their communities.
- Be an economic catalyst to communities in Southwest Pennsylvania that have been hardest hit by the slowdown and fundamental change in the economic forces in the area.
- Lead the effort to rebuild communities that have been most impacted by the destructive and rampant opioid epidemic.
We believe that we can most effectively and positively impact our communities by doing these three things:
- Engagement, and
Our Community Defined
In Greene County we will operate a growing and processing center as well as a dispensary. In Indiana and Allegheny County we will operate a dispensary. Elected community officials and other leaders have been genuinely receptive to our efforts to partner with them.
- Located 55 miles south of Pittsburgh in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, Greene County has a population of 38,686 and is considered “The Cornerstone of the Keystone State”. It ranks 60th out of 67 counties of Pennsylvania in per capita income at $20,258. This makes Greene County one of the poorest counties in the country.
- Greene County’s economy at its peak was based on coal mining and the energy industry. During this time, Carmichaels Township saw coal industry tax revenues represent upwards of 70 percent of its tax revenue. Today, this number is under 1 percent. Greene County Trustees and its Sheriff welcomes the medical marijuana industry to the community as they are actively seeking investors to provide jobs and new business in general.
- Partnered with Wellington Development, we are seeking to launch a $1 billion project in the region. Two new power plants and AGRiMED Industries will share a parcel of land that will host nearly 150 jobs at the peak of construction. We anticipate nearly 75 permanent full time jobs moving forward (inclusive of the dispensary, grow/processing center and power plant).
- Greene County ranks as the 5th highest county in the state for overdose deaths in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at 41 deaths per 100,000.
- Home to 5 school districts and one college or university.
- 15.1% poverty, 13.6% disability, 8.9% lack health insurance
- 6.7 percent of residents are racial minorities.
- 6.3 percent unemployment rate.
- Located 55 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Indiana County and has a population of 86,966. and ranks 53rd out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania.
- Indiana County employment opportunities are limited. An indication of this is demonstrated in a recent opening for 50 new hires that drew 1000 applicants.
- Home to 11 school districts and three colleges and universities
- 18.2% Poverty, 9.4% Disability, 11.9% lack health insurance
- 3.5 percent of residents are racial minorities
- 6.2 percent unemployment rate
- As of 2014 the population was 1,231,225, making it the second-most populous county in Pennsylvania
- The current recession has had a powerful effect on Pennsylvania, especially in urban areas. In 2010, Pennsylvania’s metropolitan districts’ poverty rates rose 2 percent to a total of 1,360,202 people living in poverty. Poverty is much higher in urban areas (14.7 percent) compared to rural (9.5 percent) [Keystone Research Center, 2011]
- Allegheny County has the highest density of racial minorities in Southwest Pennsylvania
- Home to 46 school districts and 15 colleges and universities
- 12.2% poverty, 8.8% disability, 8.0% lack health insurance
- 19.1% of residents are racial minorities
- 4.7% Unemployment
Create Positive Community Impact
AGRiMED anticipates creating nearly 75 permanent full-time jobs (inclusive of the dispensaries, grow/processing centers and the power plant). This influx of new jobs will have a ‘multiplier effect’. When more employment opportunities are introduced into a community, everyone enjoys the benefits. Employees will have more money to buy goods and services provided in the local community, which in turn may result in further jobs creation. Money spent at a local business can stay in the community and help spawn a far greater economic significance. The positive community impact moves beyond the local economy. Research by Michael H. Shuman, a community economics specialist, shows that vibrant local business communities lead to more charitable giving in a community.
- We will hire directly from the local community, with a goal of 100% local staffing after initial start up
- Our present estimates call for approximately forty full-time employees at the grow / processing center and twelve at our three dispensary sites.
- Compensation for all entry-level jobs will be at $15.00 per hour and above
- Our recruitment efforts will target a minimum of 30 percent be filled by a member of a protected class.
- Our business plan is purposefully and distinctly focused on assuring that no inappropriate or artificial barriers exist for any underrepresented population.
- Our goal is to assign a minimum 25 percent of our contracts to diverse groups.
- Our initial financial investment in buildings and infrastructure to bring product to market is $40 million. Much of this investment will flow outward into the local community and economy as we purchase the goods and services we need to build the business.
- The Economic Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado (Marijuana Policy Group, October 2016), showed that ‘each dollar spent on retail marijuana generates $2.40 in state output. This compares favorably with general retail trade, which yields $1.88 per dollar’.
Opioid Addiction Reduction Program
Over the past 15 years, more than 165,000 people in the United States have died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, and millions more have suffered adverse consequences. The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids have contributed to a steep increase in heroin and fentanyl overdoses, JAMA (2017). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ranks 8th in the nation for opioid death rates in the country, with the southwest region being home to 4 of the top 5 counties for opioid deaths in the Commonwealth (Armstrong #2, Cambria #3, Indiana #4, Greene #5). During this epidemic, rural communities are seeing a much faster increase in the spread of this destructive health crisis. Rural areas have seen a 385% increase in heroin use and a 285% increase in the use of pain medication. The urban areas have seen a 143% increase in heroin use and a 208% increase in the use of pain medication.
As a core element of our CIP we will establish an Opioid Addiction Reduction Program in coordination with local abuse and outreach centers and through liaison with local pain doctors and healthcare professionals. Our program will be advertised through our website and through social media outlets. Bill Zimmerman, Greene County Chairman, has lost two brothers to drug overdose. We will employ licensed social workers in each of our dispensaries. This, along with our holistic approach to healthcare can have a synergistic effect on the treatment of patients who find themselves helpless to these addictive opioids.
Financial – We will offer product discounts to patients who are on public assistance, medicare and medicaid to remove as many of the financial barriers to access that challenge these patients.
Location – Our dispensaries will be located on the busiest traffic streets, near major intersections, and will be easy to find. Public transit via bus and light rail is nearby and we will ensure free and ample parking.
Health – Our Chief Operating Officer is a RN/MSN and is experienced in collaborating, communicating and coordinating with hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and healthcare advocacy groups. We will seek to establish robust relationships and direct dialogue with the local healthcare community.
AGRiMED will continue to build community relationships and develop new and stronger partnerships with business, faith, government, civic, education and nonprofit organizations to focus on what matters most to our community.
- Connect with Community Action Agencies that are the community leaders fighting poverty. They are resource rich agencies that have helped us connect to several other sources of community ‘hand-up’ organizations, and we will continue exploring ways in which our foundation can work with them. Members of our executive team have served on Community Action Boards and will continue to do so.
- Network with religious organizations and charities. Several church leaders in the Southwestern Pennsylvania community have identified to us the unique challenges they face as the number of active memberships in religious organizations continue to decline in the communities we serve. These institutions continue to do great work to feed the underprivileged, including forming a food bank or working with food banks ministries around the region. Youth outreach initiatives are underway to curb community violence as well as many initiatives celebrating youth being successful. AGRiMED has several leaders who have strong religious roots and we will encourage them to assimilate into and help serve the Southwestern Pennsylvania religious community.
- Engage with neighborhood revitalization groups. We have met many leaders of neighborhood development companies and were impressed by the number of community building groups and even more impressed by their recent and current successes. These groups gave us meaningful insight about the character of the neighborhoods in our proposed service areas.
- Work with Neighborhood Watch groups. We have spoken with neighborhood watch leaders and learned of the concerns about crime in some neighborhoods, property values and neighborhood improvement needs in another, and underway building improvements and neighborhood revitalization in others. We are encouraged that the Southwestern Pennsylvania communities we are looking to serve have strong and vital Neighborhood Watch groups. We are committed to building up our neighborhoods and will seek opportunities to work directly with these groups.
- Communicate with elected officials. AGRiMED has engaged with several elected officials across the communities we want to serve. Without exception, every community and every official has been gracious and accommodating, and has demonstrated a willingness to work with us to help improve the lives of their respective constituents.
- Build relationships with local Chambers of Commerce. Building business relationships in our communities is a crucial part of our Community Impact Plan. We believe it is important to effectively assimilate into the business fabric of each of our communities. We will join the Chambers of Commerce in our neighborhoods and participate in their efforts to grow their business communities and partnerships.
We believe the best way to impact our communities is through community involvement, collaboration and through direct engagement in activities that positively impact its residents. AGRiMED leadership champions this approach and sets the tone for a community engaged culture at AGRiMED.
- Serve on local community boards. AGRiMED leadership will actively seek opportunities to serve on community boards that align with company philosophies. These opportunities will allow us to identify and understand the community needs and add value to community improvement efforts already underway.
- Volunteer to community causes. We will identify opportunities to offer volunteer in-kind service hours to community causes and initiatives that directly improve the lives of our local patients and the community at large.
- Build partnerships. We will further enhance the work of serving on community boards and volunteering in our local community activities and initiatives to continue building strong and lasting relationships with Southwestern Pennsylvania communities to partner on future local initiatives.
- Donate to local initiatives. The AGRiCARES Foundation will seek opportunities to contribute to local initiatives that advance its overall mission and commitment to our Southwestern Pennsylvania communities. This includes providing resources local law enforcement which have seen budget shortages and increases in crime during this economic hardship.
- Participate in community events. AGRiMED and AGRiCARES will participate in and sponsor local community events in Southwestern Pennsylvania that we identify as having positive impacts on the community and that align with our overall mission and philosophies as a company/foundation.
- Initiate outreach programs to the local community as well as to healthcare professionals throughout the region. Our Educational Ambassadors, primarily registered nurses trained and educated on the value of medical marijuana as well Pennsylvania regulations, will inform the healthcare community on the value of medical marijuana as well easing and facilitating the enrollment process of patients.
We believe that empowerment of the community requires a participatory approach to communication, programs and opportunities. Empowerment will help individuals and communities pave paths to greater outcomes.
- Establish how the AGRiCARES Foundation will serve as our vehicle to deliver our commitments to our communities.
- Award scholarships to Southwest Pennsylvania students. Scholarships will be offered to students studying Agricultural Sciences, Horticulture, Pharmacy (for Agricultural Science and/or Horticulture Coursework) and Social Work Majors who are attending local colleges and universities in the communities we serve. This directly and positively impacts the community as the investment assists with the Commonwealth’s goal to increase college graduation numbers.
- Offer internship opportunities to Southwestern Pennsylvania students in our target communities. Lincoln University and community college paid internships; advanced opportunities to diversify rural communities.
- Organize preceptorships at our dispensaries for practicing physicians to volunteer to mentor, give personal instruction, train, and supervise pharmacy students so that they might gain valuable experience in working with patients and understanding the health properties of medical marijuana.
Our Community Impact Plan to integrate, engage and empower is at the core of our daily operations and guides our future progress. It outlines plans and policies that target positive impacts on local residents and the community as a whole. Our commitment to diversity and equality of opportunity is unwavering and fully integrated into our structure, motivations and actions. Our commitment to act in a way that contributes to the health and welfare of the community provides a solid foundation for long-term stability and growth in our communities.