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This Entrepreneur Says the Nonprofit She Started Inspired Her to Push Her Nut Butter Business to 7 Figures The adoption of her first son inspired Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi to create both Nuttzo and Project Left Behind.

By Stephen J. Bronner Edited by Dan Bova

Courtesy of Nuttzo

Seeds and nuts may be the keys to Nuttzo's success, but to founder Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi, the company's "heart and soul" is the nonprofit it supports.

Dietz-LiVolsi in 2008 founded both Nuttzo and Project Left Behind, which provides resources to orphaned and neglected children around the world, six years after she adopted her first son, Gregory, from Ukraine. The 3-year-old had been vitamin deficient and rejected any foods that needed to be chewed, Dietz-LiVolsi said. So she blended seven different nuts and seeds to make a protein-rich concoction he would actually eat.

Related: These Loving Parents Went Into Debt to Build a Seaweed Snack Company That's on Track to Do $10 Million in Sales This Year

"The nonprofit helps the business by demonstrating to consumers that there is heart and soul behind the brand, and that we're an authentic brand that truly desires to give back and make a difference," she said. "NuttZo helps the nonprofit by donating a portion of sales to the cause and inspiring people to make donations."

Eleven years after its founding, Nuttzo's nut and seed butters and bars can be found in 10,000 stores, and it brings in revenues in the seven-figures. Its top sellers are its Power Fuel mixed nut and seed butter, Peanut Pro- Peanut + Collagen Bold BiteZ bars and Paleo Chocolate Power Fuel mixed nut and seed butter. Next month it will co-launch oatmeal cups with Purely Elizabeth and introduce a line of keto nut and seed butter.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Nuttzo

Project Left Behind currently provides food, education and medical support to children in three countries: Nepal, India and Peru. Dietz-LiVolsi said she visits every children's home the nonprofit supports, which motivates her work at Nuttzo.

"It's a great way to stay focused, because you have this bigger cause driving you," she said. "It's not just your employees you feel responsible for, but also the children you are trying to help. Having this component to my business really keeps me balanced as a leader, because I'm using both my heart and my head."

Dietz-LiVolsi's advice for entrepreneurs interested in introducing a social aspect to their businesses is simple: "Pick a social mission you're legitimately interested in, because it will inspire you and keep you motivated to keep going on those hard days when the business is challenging."

Related: Kristen Bell Teams Up With Actors to Create a Snack Bar Brand That Feeds Starving Children

It also helps to love your own product.

"I eat a lot of nut butter," Dietz-LiVolsi said. "You'd think I'd be sick of Nuttzo, but I honestly eat it every single day."
Stephen J. Bronner

Entrepreneur Staff

News Director

Stephen J. Bronner writes mostly about packaged foods. His weekly column is The Digest. He is very much on top of his email.

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