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Blog post

7.29.2022

Partnership is essential to powering Cruise for Good: Behind the scenes of our meal delivery program

What could we achieve if companies made social impact core to their business strategy? 

That question has guided Cruise’s social impact philosophy from the start. The answer is stretching our conceptions of how AVs can and should serve our communities—and how quickly we could make an impact. 

When COVID-19 first hit and food insecurity skyrocketed in San Francisco, it became clear we could make an immediate positive contribution with our fleet. We decided the most effective way to support our neighbors was to plug in with community organizations who had expertise fighting food insecurity. As a result, we launched two long-term partnerships in early 2020, with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and SF New Deal, to deliver meals to residents in need, while also helping local restaurants. Nearly two and a half years later, our fleet of AVs has now delivered more than two million meals (and counting) to residents most in need in San Francisco, as part of our signature social impact program, Cruise for Good.

Yesterday, we were humbled that the San Francisco Business Times recognized Cruise with the 2022 "Beyond the Check" Award in the Community Impact category. This award is the result of collaboration between many people and many teams – across multiple organizations. While we're proud of our commitment to uplifting the communities where we operate, we wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge our partners, SF New Deal and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, and share more about what we’ve learned through these partnerships. After all, it’s their willingness and commitment to innovate with us, respond quickly to community needs, and adapt to evolving pandemic dynamics that have made this collective impact possible.

What we’ve accomplished together, so far

Together, we have delivered 2.2 million meals to residents across San Francisco. What does that number look like when broken down? It equates to 120,000 deliveries, 80% of which are delivered to zip codes below the poverty line. And because our fleet is all electric, and powered by 100% renewable energy, we’ve offset more than 100 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Many of our deliveries with SF New Deal also support local, small businesses, like Old Skool Cafe, a San Francisco restaurant that also provides workforce training for justice involved youth. 

Innovation through partnership

And there’s more to the story: SF New Deal and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank haven’t just helped us play a role in fighting food insecurity and supporting small businesses, they have also helped us innovate. In fact, these nonprofits were our very first delivery partners in San Francisco.  

We’ve gained critical local delivery experience thanks to our daily Cruise for Good program bringing meals to peoples’ homes in partnership with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank’s Home Delivered Grocery program. From streamlining communication lines to improve service, to routing optimization and batching to drive efficiency, to trying new approaches – there are many learnings from our social impact partners that translate to operational and product insights. Creating tight feedback loops has been critical to maintaining and improving service and efficiency, which also greatly benefit our partner relationships and enhance our delivery offering over time. We worked in lock step with these nonprofit teams, collaborating daily to iterate and innovate with the program. This approach – from the conception of the partnership to now – has advanced Cruise’s learnings, both within social impact and across our organization. 

As we look to build future social impact programs, we continue to lean on these partner organizations as community advisors and deeply value the trusting, mutually beneficial relationships we’ve built over time.

Our commitment to social impact

At Cruise, our commitment to social impact is a vital part of our business and an extension of our mission to improve life in our cities, especially for people underserved by transportation today. Valuing partnership with the organizations that know their communities best is crucial to achieving that end. 

We strongly believe that our emerging industry should address community needs and we’ve found the best way to do that is through partnership – prioritizing cross-sector learning in the name of true innovation and accelerating our benefits across communities and industries. As a leader in the Pledge 1% movement, we’re excited to welcome other companies to join us in this commitment and in bringing a collaborative and transparent approach to partnership. 

We’re grateful that our first ventures into meal delivery were in our home base of San Francisco and we’re been honored to work alongside SF New Deal and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. The opportunity to have a small part in serving local residents has been a privilege and will remain core to our mission as we iterate, grow and expand. 

We look forward to continuing this commitment and utilizing Cruise’s evolving technology to meet some of today’s most pressing challenges – and we encourage others in our industry to join us.