Heart Behind Giving Back, Newman's Own President Tom Indoe
The latest feature of Heart Behind the House highlights Tom Indoe with Newman’s Own. Tom explains why Newman’s Own has been supporting Fisher House Foundation for decades.
Most people remember him as Cool Hand Luke or Butch Cassidy, but Tom Indoe remembers Paul Newman as a caring individual and a friend.
Tom has been the president and chief operating officer of Newman’s Own, Inc. since 1997. During his decades of working with Paul Newman, he saw the iconic star as a “real deal,” and as someone who wanted to make a difference in the lives of our military, veterans and their families.
You can see what’s coming here – Paul Newman, very early on in his corporate career (not to be confused with his acting and race car careers), saw Fisher House Foundation as a military non-profit worth supporting. For the next three decades, Paul Newman through Newman’s Own, Inc. then Newman’s Own Foundation has given Fisher House more than $2.5 million.
“Working for Newman’s Own was the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” said Tom. “That was because of its mission of giving back. It’s a business with great people doing great things, and Fisher House has always been a part of that.”
Newman’s Own is a food company that was founded by Paul Newman in 1982. The company makes more than 100 varieties of all-natural salad dressings, pasta sauces, salsas, and steak sauces, etc. “I have to smile remembering what Paul used to say when we got too business-like and somber,” said Tom. “’We shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously,’ he would say. ‘After all, it’s just salad dressing.’ He had a great sense of humor and kept life in perspective.”
Much of that perspective came from Paul’s time in the Navy as an aviator gunner in WWII, said Tom, who served in the Air Force as a crew chief in Vietnam. “The military and war changed both of us,” said Tom. “That’s why we both felt so passionate about supporting our troops and their families. It’s why we both were so proud to be Americans.”
This year, Newman’s Own, in cooperation with Fisher House and Military Times Media Group, will award grants totaling $200,000 to non-profits, whose initiatives improve the quality of life for military families. Called the Newman’s Own Awards, the initiative began in 1999 and has recognized 158 programs with awards totaling more than $1.1 million.
“This is really what running Newman’s Own, Inc. was all about,” said Tom. “It wasn’t just about about selling good tasting products, it was about increasing profits and helping people. It’s just been a great ride. Now when my grandkids ask, ‘What did you do in your life Grandpy?’ I have a great story.
“Let me put it this way: our shareholders are charities. We make a difference in people’s lives.”
About Newman’s Own Foundation
Paul Newman was committed to helping make the world a better place. To carry on his philanthropic legacy, Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. To date, Paul and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $425 million to thousands of charities around the world. For more information, visit www.newmansownfoundation.org.