by Lisa Grimaldi | August 01, 2006

Michael Arkes, president and CEO of Hinda Incentives, based in Chicago, is launching Helping Hand Rewards, an initiative to use products from charitable companies for merchandise incentive programs. M&C chatted with Arkes about the concept.

How does Helping Hand Rewards work?

I’m in the process of developing a broad assortment of products made by socially responsible companies like the Enterprising Kitchen, a not-for-profit corporation that manufactures handmade soaps and hires women trying to come off welfare. We’ve included the product in our assortment; by fall we expect to launch the program.

What other companies would be included?

John & Kira’s chocolates, a company in inner-city Philadelphia that hires from the local community. Also, a company that produces sandals and purses and bags out of rubber from the Amazon. And then there’s a group that runs a shelter for the homeless, and they make soups based on recipes from prominent restaurants.

Why now?

There’s this whole trend now for corporate social responsibility. Corporations are spending money to enhance their image, and it’s a good financial decision to do that.