When people do business with Cook, we want them to know that we have a unique portfolio of medical devices but also that they are doing business with a company that understands its obligations to be an active partner in making our communities better. We’re not your typical company.
We believe that it’s the responsibility of all businesses, not just Cook, to use our resources, skills, and opportunities to elevate the communities that we operate in by being actively engaged. It ties into our fundamental belief that it is possible do good business and do good in the community, too.
Many years ago, an individual approached Bill Cook and expressed that they wished a family member with special needs could have an opportunity to work at Cook. Recognizing that a person with a physical or mental disability would have challenges working in one of our facilities, Bill Cook sought out a partnership with Stone Belt to find a solution.
Today, Stone Belt and Cook have worked together to deliver life-saving technology to patients for over four decades. Established in 1959, Stone Belt provides resources and support for individuals with disabilities. It is the oldest and largest agency of its kind in south-central Indiana. The nonprofit’s clients provide some production support for Cook Inc. Additionally, through a program called Project Search, some Stone Belt clients have done internships at local Cook facilities. Several of these interns have gone on to become full-time Cook employees.
In 2020 alone, Stone Belt clients manufactured more than 5 million medical device supplies for Cook. The work they do for Cook not only helps us fulfill our mission of improving the lives of patients, but it provides Stone Belt clients with essential job skills, a sense of fulfillment, and the ability to contribute to the community in a meaningful way.
We partner with organizations like Goodwill because we recognize that we can’t do it alone—we need the skills, assets, and expertise of other organizations to help us identify and fill gaps that prevent communities and individuals from reaching their full potential. After touring their Indianapolis facilities and seeing the breadth of programs and services they offer to help individuals become self-sufficient, Cook and Goodwill partnered to expand some of those programs in south-central Indiana.
Cook was an early supporter and advocate for establishing an Excel Center in Bloomington, Indiana, to provide non-traditional students the opportunity to earn their high-school diploma. The Excel Center is Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults that also offers on-site childcare, transportation assistance, coaching, accelerated courses, and flexible scheduling around work and other outside commitments.
By removing common barriers that prevent adults from completing their education, The Excel Center helps students continue their education and advance their careers by earning free college credits and industry-recognized certifications. In the summer of 2019, Goodwill Commercial Services, which provides contract manufacturing and packaging solutions, opened its second production facility in Bloomington. The facility currently employs over 50 people, the majority of which have an employment barrier like a disability, previous incarceration, or a lack of education. Cook Medical was the facility’s first customer.
William Cook Australia recently partnered with Multicap Limited to provide employment opportunities for people with a disability. This is a significant milestone for both WCA and its new employees, Alex and Jeffrey, as they continue their journey of employment with the support of Multicap. “At Cook, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and providing meaningful opportunities for all people to participate in the workforce,” said Dr Samih Nabulsi, Vice President and Managing Director, William Cook Australia.
“Our values are aligned with Multicap and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to develop their independence, confidence and skills in a safe, social and supportive workplace.” Multicap has helped individuals with disabilities live rich and full lives for almost 60 years. Alex and Jeffrey had been employed at Multicap’s Monte Lupo Gallery Café for several years, which is part of Multicap’s Work Readiness and Employment pathway. At the café, Alex and Jeffrey developed confidence and learned many valuable skills, including customer service, teamwork and managing tasks, all of which are transferrable to Cook. Today, Alex and Jeffrey work as production assistants in IVF Manufacturing.
“We have task rotations which makes the job interesting plus working in a cleanroom is different,” said Alex. “We can go from manufacturing, putting tubing and filters together, to packaging the product and then finally sealing the pouch with the product in it.” Chris Cutter, manufacturing supervisor, who was integral to establishing the partnership with Multicap, said the project has been a success, “Alex and Jeffrey are dedicated employees who welcome every challenge. They’ve been progressing really well with the increased number of hours and tasks we’ve given them, and we look forward to identifying ways we can expand this partnership. ”In the summer of 2019, Goodwill Commercial Services, which provides contract manufacturing and packaging solutions, opened its second production facility in Bloomington. The facility currently employs over 50 people, the majority of which have an employment barrier like a disability, previous incarceration, or a lack of education. Cook Medical was the facility’s first customer.
After the 2020 murder of George Floyd and other acts of social injustice were pushed into the public spotlight, we made a commitment to use our time, resources, and business expertise to help empower a community that has experienced extensive socioeconomic challenges. Northeast Indianapolis has neighborhoods with some of the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in the state. To help address some of the challenges this community is facing, Cook Medical, Goodwill, The Indianapolis Foundation, IMPACT Central Indiana, and the United Northeast Community Development Corporation partnered on a unique project. Through this partnership, a new manufacturing facility is being built in this neighborhood and will bring 100 jobs to the community that are geared towards long-term employment and
Employees have access to Goodwill’s wraparound service and be able to earn a high school diploma all the way up to a master’s degree at no cost to them. We neared our goal for 100% of construction and maintenance to be performed by local minority-owned businesses. In addition, the new Goodwill Commercial Services building is owned by a newly formed 501(c)2 entity that will make it possible for proceeds to be reinvested into the community. While working on the new manufacturing facility, we learned that this Northeastern Indianapolis community is also a food desert and they have seen five big chain grocery stores leave over the last several years.
To help remove the barrier of food access for employees and the while community, the Indy Fresh Market is currently being constructed on the same property as the Goodwill facility. Not only will the store provide additional jobs and future educational opportunities for residents, it will also bring a much-needed food source to the community. The 14,000 square foot, full-service grocery store will be owned and operated by two local entrepreneurs using a rent-to-own model.
To expand this project, a new full-service grocery store will also be constructed near the manufacturing facility with expected completion in July of 2022. Currently, there is no supermarket for miles in each direction, and most area residents are on foot. Not only will the store provide additional jobs and future educational opportunities for residents, but it will also bring a much-needed food source to the community.
Throughout 2021, our Equity Task Force in Limerick worked on a new community engagement initiative to further expand our commitments to engage more with our communities. After much consideration and planning, it was decided to focus our goals on the area of employability. Thus, in early 2022, we signed an agreement with Rehab Group to introduce the new initiative to help remove employment barriers for the people in the community.
Rehab Group is a charity organization that provides services for over 10,000 adults and children in communities throughout Ireland and Scotland. Rehab Group enables a diverse population of people with disabilities to complete qualifications, progress to higher education and obtain jobs. The strategic partnership with Rehab Group “Campus2Career with Cook Medical” aims to facilitate graduates with disabilities to complete a 12-week work placement in Cook Medical facilities and to design and develop a blueprint of inclusive transition to employment services that consider people with disabilities and reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
Partnering with organizations such as Rehab Group gives us a chance to help members of our society and community in Limerick and truly make an impact. Working with organizations such as Novas gives us a chance to help members of our society and community in Limerick and truly make an impact.
In 2021, Cook Medical and our employees:
• Read to over 3,700 primary school children,
• Donated 9,600 books to school libraries,
• Donated to and volunteered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Kid’s Door
Japan, Old Town Elementary, and more to advance STREAM education, and
• Virtually mentored nearly 800 high school students as they prepared
for college interviews.
In 2021, Cook Medical partnered with 10 social enterprises around
the world to provide meaningful employment and economic opportunities
to the developmentally disabled, refugees, and the formerly incarcerated among other marginalized groups.
In 2021, Cook Medical and our employees:
• Donated nearly 15,100 hot meals and $37,000 in nonperishable items or charitable funds to those experiencing food insecurity,
• Donated $18,000 and volunteered 120+ hours to various organizations supporting those experiencing homelessness,
• Donated funds to HealthNet’s new mobile clinic, which will provide primary care services to under-served populations in rural Indiana.
Because we are a privately-held company, we’re able to make decisions and run our business in ways that align with our values. For Cook, it’s about using our core business opportunities, skills, and resources to not just do good business, but do good in the world. One piece of that puzzle, in addition to the work we do on the ground every day to improve our communities, is philanthropy and using financial resources to bolster work being done in the community.
We aim to reduce inequities in our communities by removing barriers to meaningful employment and ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to a fulfilling life.
We have worked with site and field leadership to develop sustainable partnerships in our communities along the priority areas of education, social enterprise, and community health. Leaders have been immersed themselves in understanding their communities over the last year, with the intention of forming partnerships and having measurable impact by the end of 2021.
We want all employees to be accepted and treated equitably at Cook Medical and in the communities where we operate. We are working hard to establish equitable processes and policies that will ensure a legacy of fair treatment at Cook. We are committed to improving the diverse make up of our workforce and developing a culture of inclusion for employees from all walks of life.
In June of 2020, society was reeling from weeks of civil unrest and months of pandemic-derived uncertainties, highlighting the devastating and lasting impacts of structural inequities. The need for a clear vision and set of expectations for equity within our organization and surrounding communities was clear. In response, we established a global Equity Task Force. This interdisciplinary team was formed to identify and lead strategic projects to create lasting and sustainable change. One of the first actions taken by the Equity Task Force was to develop our Cook Medical Position on Racism.
We have been intentional to develop impactful community relationships over the years, following in the footsteps of our founder, Bill Cook.
In pursuit of these ideals, we dedicated 2020 to finding common ground among our employees from all walks of life and beginning to define the foundation for a truly diverse and inclusive organization. In order to establish this common ground, we developed platforms for sharing stories and experiences and encouraged a culture of listening to understand. We wanted all stakeholders to experience safety in the sharing of their personal narratives, and communications from our President, Pete Yonkman, served to develop and deepen that sense of safety and acceptance. Pete, along with our corporate communications team, created a podcast interview series that served as a platform for the sharing of employees’ unique life experiences and helped to develop a new depth of awareness of our organization’s cultural literacy status. By creating a space for these stories and opening up the dialogue at a corporate level, we began to see real conversations take place, encouraging employees and community members to continuously improve their personal cultural literacy and empathy.
In 2021, we will develop a sustainable strategy for our diversity, equity, and inclusion program with continued focus on barrier removal. As we continue to pursue a more diverse and inclusive organization, we will expand the scope of our equity efforts to recognize and appreciate all dimensions of diversity. We are dedicated to doing whatever we can to improve our ability to serve all employees, their families, and communities.
We are also committed to protecting the wellbeing of laborers throughout our supply chain. We are currently implementing a comprehensive Human Rights policy to provide global guidance.
Our human rights efforts stem from our core value of treating everyone with respect. This value has been echoed through increasing global regulation on labor standards and supply chain transparency requirements.
Our organization aims to serve as a corporate role model for the betterment of society by being a sensitive employer, a contributor to the communities where we reside and acting with the highest degree of integrity in business dealings. We recognize our responsibility to ensure good social and ethical practices within our own operations and throughout our supply chain, and we aim to foster a culture of continuous improvement to support sustainable and ethical procurement.
In 2019, Cook Medical Europe Limited and Cook UK Limited were independently audited against the level 1 requirements of the NHS Labour Standards Assurance System, and were successful in achieving the level 1 requirements. During 2020, our focus turned to developing a global strategy for managing good social and ethical practices across our organization and supply chain. In 2021, we embarked on a global project to develop a Management System, which aims to support a culture of continuous improvement in ethical and sustainable procurement within our organization and supply chain. The Management System will support ongoing compliance by our organization and supply chain with relevant human rights legislation, including labor standards, diversity equity and inclusion and modern slavery requirements, and with conflict minerals regulations.
Cook values family, and wants to ensure that employees are able to grow and maintain their social and familial relationships. My Cook Pathway has many resources and benefits that help employees to successfully balance work and home life, and take care of loved ones.