A lot can happen when United Way and companies work together for the common good. Macy’s held its annual Give Back Day, with nearly 1,000 employees giving back in multiple locations in conjunction with the annual campaign. Projects included revitalizing a building for gifted students in Cincinnati; creating shared learning spaces in a school in the Bronx that serves 3,000 students; and working at a short-term crisis center focused on homeless single mothers in Georgia.
Meanwhile, Fluor Corporation held its annual Engineering Week celebration, with employees inspiring K–12 students around the globe to apply math and science to their daily lives. Dr Pepper Snapple Group employees donated their time through ACTION Nation Month, the company’s volunteer grant program, raising $83,000 for—and donating more than 5,600 hours to—local communities across North America. And Wells Fargo donated $18 million to United Way Worldwide, $5 million of which is seeding our Jobs United fund that will create opportunities and provide skills-based training to support economic mobility in underserved communities. Together with our corporate partners, we’re improving lives and communities.
CREATING BETTER DAYS THROUGH BREAKFAST
For many people, summer is a time for outdoor activities, weekend trips and walks on the beach. For others, it’s a stressful period filled with uncertainty. A break from the routine of school creates more than a change in schedule—summer can also signal uncertainty for children without a school lunch to depend on. These children and their families are forced to consider where their next meal will come from.
To alleviate summer hunger, United Way partnered with Kellogg's in support of its Breakfast for Better Days™ program, helping to ease anxiety and feed children and families in need. As part of its hunger-fighting work, Kellogg Company Fund gave United Way a grant supporting United Way California Capital Region’s Healthy Meals Program, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ North Texas Summer & Supper Council, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Silence the Growl and United Way of King County’s Summer Food Invasion. With support from Kellogg’s, these United Ways organized 1,381 volunteers to serve more than 100,000 meals to over 60,000 children this past summer.
In some communities, these efforts are especially meaningful because they engage older children who often shy away from hunger assistance programs.
Since 2013, Kellogg’s has provided more than 2 billion servings of food through Breakfast for Better Days™, with a goal to create 3 billion “Better Days” for people by the end of 2025. Kellogg’s hunger-relief efforts include food donations, the expansion of feeding and nutrition education programs to reach children, improving livelihoods and increasing yields for farmers and their families, committing its workforce to volunteer days and engaging millions of others in food-security efforts.
We’ve been United for Better Days for 90 years, innovating to fight hunger, whether it’s providing Breakfast in the Classroom in Battle Creek, Guatemala, and India, or helping to feed seniors and kids in Russia. This year alone, we created over 56 million Better Days worldwide.
NURTURING HEALTHY MINDS AND BODIES
For Target, an advocate of stronger communities, summer learning and nutrition for underprivileged children are keys to community success. In May, Target employees stepped up to support United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Campaign for Child Well- Being, a program that focuses on the 50,000+ children in metropolitan Atlanta who are living in areas with the highest poverty rates and lowest economic mobility rates in the country.
Campaign for Child Well-Being works to ensure all children have access to food and education. In support of the program, approximately 60 Target employees helped transform a local school into a STEM Field Day with food and activities for 300+ students. When the kids weren’t staying physically active by playing hopscotch, flying kites or participating in potato sack races, their minds were being stimulated with fun science projects, like creating a volcano using household items. Afterward, the students were treated to fresh fruit, granola and yogurt.
But Target’s work didn’t end there. In Texas, employees worked with United Way of Greater Houston to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to community members in need. More than 100 Target employees and Houston Police Department officials came together to install 16 vegetable and fruit beds, and weed 10 others for future use. The resulting crops will benefit 22,000 people—mostly children and senior citizens—in the Houston area who have limited access to healthy meals.
FORD DRIVES DREAMS FOR YOUTH IN MEXICO
Companies with strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives know that employee volunteering can boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception. In Mexico, Fondo Unido México works with companies to develop CSR activities that align with their goals. Recently, the Ford Motor Company Fund partnered with United Way to launch the Ford Driving Dreams education program. United Way helped with an educational event for more than 1,000 middle school students; trained 30 employees to read to children; and facilitated a donation of more than 1,000 books.
As part of Ford Driving Dreams, United Way oversaw submissions for a “What drives your dreams?” essay contest and administered 100 scholarships awarded by Ford. The three-year scholarships will help students and their families defray rising costs of schools and expenses that often keep students from finishing the school year and moving on to the next grade level. Ford is helping students of all ages excel in Mexico and beyond. To date, Ford Driving Dreams has equipped more than 100,000 students with the tools they need to be better prepared for the academic road ahead.
United Way’s partnership with Ford is just one example of how coming together can make a difference. This employee engagement model is being replicated across our network. It’s a great way for companies to deliver impact and achieve their CSR goals without having to invest in building their own volunteer engagement infrastructure.
TACKLING HOLIDAY HUNGER WITH WELLS FARGO
With one in seven Americans relying on food pantries and meal programs, the need for reliable food sources is growing. To address this need, Wells Fargo and United Way teamed up over the holiday season to help individuals stock pantries across the nation.
A recent Wells Fargo study revealed that 55 percent of Americans believed donating during the holidays was more important than at other times of the year, and 33 percent said they didn’t have a convenient drop-off location for their donations. This joint holiday campaign, which ran November 28 through December 30, made it possible for people to drop off canned goods at any of Wells Fargo’s 5,900 branch locations. Individuals in 17 cities could also visit a pop-up mobile food bank to drop off items, learn about hunger across America, donate to United Way or decorate a placemat to brighten someone’s meal at a food pantry. Nearly 1,900 Wells Fargo employees supported this effort through their volunteerism. The effort resulted in more than 251,000 pounds of food collected, which combined with monetary donations—was enough to serve 433,814 meals.
In addition to the holiday campaign, Wells Fargo gave $5 million to support United Way’s hunger relief efforts across 26 markets. The grant will strengthen existing hunger-focused work, including breakfast in classroom programs, local food banks and urban gardens for students. Since 2009, Wells Fargo has contributed more than $510 million to United Way through grants, campaign support and sponsorship, financial education programs and international donor advised giving opportunities.