ChicagoPride.com contacted the Cold Stone Creamery parent company, Kahala, regarding a donation made to Arizona’s Proposition 102 by Cold Stone Creamery’s founders, Donald and Susan Sutherland.
Here is a portion of Kahala's response to our inquiry:
"The Sutherlands founded Cold Stone Creamery in 1988. In May 2007, Cold Stone Creamery was acquired by Kahala, and since that time, the Sutherlands have not been store owners, shareholders, employees or otherwise involved in the management of the business. As the founders of a well-known ice cream concept, they are called upon from time to time by the media and others, but not paid by Kahala, to tell the brand’s history.
While Kahala and Cold Stone Creamery believe each individual has the right to get involved in causes they feel passionate about, the company does not endorse ballot initiatives or contribute to political causes. The personal beliefs of the Sutherlands as well as those of past and present franchisees, crew members and employees are not representative of the company. Cold Stone Creamery welcomes all ice cream lovers into our stores.
Kahala is committed to embracing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business. In addition to following mandated equal opportunity laws, the company provides equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, veteran status, citizenship status, pregnancy, medical condition, or any other protected status. This applies to all areas of employment including hiring, training and development, promotion, transfer, compensation, and all other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with our company's core values.
In addition, at our corporate headquarters, Kahala employees have spearheaded two different organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within the company, Juntos and the Women’s Professional Network. For the purposes of this topic, allow us to describe the role of Juntos. The 15-member committee is focused on upholding our commitment to inclusion by celebrating and promoting diversity amongst our employees, franchisees, customers, area developers and suppliers. Juntos celebrates the unique talents, strengths and perspectives of our diverse community as we strive to make Kahala a global organization. This mission is carried out through the establishment of goals, education, employee relations and community outreach. Thanks to the efforts of the Juntos committee, Neil Giuliano, president of GLAAD, recently was at our corporate office as a guest speaker to educate our employees on the issues that affect the LGBT community.
Kahala also offers full spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partnerships. Cold Stone Creamery started offering these benefits in 2004. As soon as possible after the acquisition, Kahala adopted the same policy and began offering these benefits to its employees."