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How Cruzan Rum Raised $2 Million for Social Purpose … and Counting.

The Plenty Team
October 16, 2019

Plenty is thrilled to celebrate alongside our client Cruzan Rum as they pass yet another significant milestone: $2 million raised for the Island Spirit Fund to support hurricane relief efforts. Getting here took conscious leadership, commitment to social purpose, and inspired idealism in the face of tragedy. 

Early last year, the Cruzan executive team participated in Plenty's Meridian Strategy Process to develop a social purpose strategy after Hurricane Hurricane Maria demolished St. Croix – and shut down their distillery in the process. As they looked at an island in ruins, the Cruzan leaders knew they were facing more than a business imperative. Help was needed, and they had help to give.

Using Meridian, the team re-positioned their business around three core questions: 

Question One: What is the impact you want to make? 

As they witnessed their Crucian neighbors coming together to rebuild and renew the island, the Cruzan team was inspired to amplify and sustain the same spirit. Through Meridian, the team dedicated themselves to helping ensure that "no one needs to weather a storm alone."

This powerful sentence became our rallying cry. Led by this vision, the team gradually aligned around a few key objectives:

  • A dedicated effort to raise at least $10 million over five years.
  • Assisting communities weathering storms of all kinds, both in St. Croix and across the U.S. and its territories.
  • Supporting direct, local, on-the-ground efforts to rebuild.  

Question Two: How will you drive revenue?

Any social purpose commitment is only as effective as the engine driving it forward. At Meridian, the Cruzan team carefully considered how to best ensure that their work was scalable and sustainable.  

We settled on three main revenue-generating pillars:

  1. Create a stand-alone fund. Plenty helped Cruzan Rum established the Island Spirit Fund, a proprietary fiscal sponsorship entity. By creating a dedicated fund, the Cruzan team ensured that the work could adapt and evolve with changing needs on the ground.
  2. Build growth into sales. The Cruzan team committed that for a five-year period, a portion of proceeds from every case of rum sold would support the fund. This simple mechanism aligned the growth of both the company and its mission work. 
  3. Engage the company. The team implemented an inspired effort of employee engagement, presenting its work throughout the organization at a variety of town halls and conferences.

Question Three: How will you foster engagement? 

True impact comes from aligning all your stakeholders around a powerful future. In Cruzan's case, consumers are the largest and arguably most important stakeholder group. The plan to engage consumers was built slowly and thoughtfully, with the intent to be authentic above all else.  

Cruzan's biggest education opportunity is on the bottle itself. By 2020, every package will feature messaging to teach people more about the work – and need – addressed by the Island Spirit Fund. Concurrently with the product redesign, Cruzan has reached deep into their supply chain and distributors to understand their interests and needs, and align future work to address them. 

Engagement isn't just about quick activations and partnerships – it often builds slowly, from thoughtful design. Cruzan has laid a great foundation for long-term growth. 


Last year, we left the Cruzan Meridian fulfilled and inspired by our work together. As we've seen their progress, our pride has grown right along with their results. Congratulations to Cruzan Rum for leaning into a bold vision of change for everyone!

To learn more, visit the Island Spirit Fund. 

Great strategy has passion at the center.

Drive Purpose. Lift Profits.

Build your business and make a difference with an integrated social purpose strategy.

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