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United Way Blog

Community impact and employee engagement program with John Deere Foundation

Food insecurity and lack of educational support, especially for children and youth, combined with the pandemic exacerbating longstanding inequalities across EME countries. 

In the communities we work with, United Way and its partners’ activities with John Deere Foundation support,  are significantly contributing to preventing and reducing food insecurity in families towards France, Germany, United Kingdom and Israel; and schools in last country mentioned. It also has a major contribution on continued education and training for most vulnerable students, creating opportunities, thus increasing the accessibility to the labour market for youth in France, Germany and United Kingdom.

In the implementation of this alliance we have identified the following insights: many people in the target communities need support to cover basic needs. Schools and local NGOs are constantly looking for volunteers, besides resources of all types to carry on their activities. Our daily experience confirms that social issues, educational exclusion, including poverty reduction can only be solved in a collective effort.

Therefore, the John Deere partnership is important, interconnecting local networks and individuals, transferring, absorbing experience among the participating countries, through the United Way network, and thus leading to a more systemic approach, in general. 

Throughout 2021, all countries  spent many months in COVID related restrictions, which had an impact on activities. For instance, many had to be done virtually. Regardless of how work has been organized, local partners and John Deere volunteers were amazing, giving all their best and being committed to the program.

During that peeriod of time, our efforts had improved access to food or hygienical products for 116,060 persons. The educational component of the program served 11,222 children and youth, by providing Covid-testing equipment in schools, to continue education and preserve the health care of the kids and teens, as well as through mentoring or other educational activities.  25.3% more volunteers participated in United Way actions than in the previous year, with 77% more volunteering hours than in 2020, reaching during the partnership in EME region 116,060 beneficiaries; 11,222 children and youth; 500 volunteers, and 2,382 volunteering hours. 

The communities benefitted in France are located in Dijon, Orléans, Saran and Arc-lès-Gray. In the case of Germany: Mannheim, Bruchsal, Kaiserlautern, Zweibrücken, Walldorf and Stadtlohn. In Israel wee get to Beit shean and Afula. The focus in United Kingdom was Nottingham.

For all audiences we shared the program goals: Build strong communities by increasing food security and improving education outcomes. Continue to build a culture of corporate citizenship in Europe and Israel with a particular focus on expanding workplace volunteering. Strengthen the sustainability of the nonprofit sector in John Deere home communities by building the capacity of local United Ways along with partners to engage other corporations, as strategic allies, in building healthier communities.  Increase awareness in Europe of John Deere’s commitment to enriching its home communities by enhancing the lives of whom live there. 

Some of the volunteers deccribe their experiences, 'I was happy to volunteer and meet lovely people who help families in need in the community of Afula of the programs' metioned a John Deere volunteer in Israel. In the meantime in UK, a company colleague expressed: 'Fantastic opportunity to give back to the community. All too often we are too focussed on the business and normal day job where as this is beneficial for something different. Great to see the students develop and participate throughout the program'. 

In times like these collective effort is the most powerfull tool to address our global community challenges. Our partnership with John Deere shows up is possible to create a change united working in network.