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2/11/2018 12:00 AM

Wilbur-Ellis’ philanthropy includes support for emergency response, education, community development, animal welfare and homelessness, among other areas.

OVERVIEW

Wilbur-Ellis is a leading marketer and distributor of agricultural and industrial products, animal feed, seeds, fertilizer and machinery. The company’s various operating divisions and subsidiaries—Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness, Wilbur-Ellis Feed, Connell Brothers and Cavallo Ventures—sell agricultural chemicals, feed and feed ingredients, along with consulting, management and other agriculture-related services, to clients throughout North America and the Pacific Rim. The company has operations in about 15 countries worldwide. In 2016, it posted revenue of roughly $3 billion and directly employed about 4,200 workers.

GIVING

Wilbur-Ellis directs its corporate giving to groups and programs that benefit the various communities around the world where its employees live and work. Each of its main business units directs its own charitable giving program, as follows:

  • Wilbur-Ellis Corporate. The company’s corporate office devotes the bulk of its giving to disaster relief and emergency response–related organizations serving communities where it does business. Some recent examples of the company’s giving in this area include:
    • The company donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to help support the immediate needs of those directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas. Some of those funds were earmarked for the communities of Taft and El Campo, where Wilbur-Ellis employees and their families were encouraged to contribute to a separate donation site supporting Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
    • Wilbur-Ellis donated a total of $100,000 to help those affected by the wildfires that destroyed communities throughout Northern California. The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the Napa Valley Community Foundation, received $50,000 to assist area victims. And the Sonoma County Wildfire Relief Fund, administered by the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, received $50,000. The company’s facilities in nearby Healdsburg and St. Helena were spared from the blaze, but several customers and neighbors were impacted.
  • Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness. The company’s Agribusiness unit supports programs that encourage student interest in the agricultural industry, as well as community development and civic improvement efforts in agricultural communities. Some examples include:
    • In March 2016, the company’s facility in Marlette, Michigan, donated $2,000 to the Sigel Township Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team. The donation helped the rescue team purchase one cofferdam and one rescue auger to help with grain silo rescues, replacing outdated wooden equipment.
    • In 2015, the company awarded $1,000 to the Washington Agriculture in the Classroom program, which provides teachers in rural areas of Washington state with magazines and other resource material to help students improve agricultural literacy as well as reach other educational goals.
  • Connell Brothers. The Connell Brothers Company unit supports a wide variety of charities throughout Asia-Pacific. Some recent examples include:
    • CBC China donated $6,688 to three student literacy organizations—the Shanghai Huge Grace Disabled Children’s Welfare Home, New Day Foster Home and Stars Youth Development Center—to pay for books, toys and events.
    • CBC Hong Kong donated $6,410 to the Salvation Army for its elderly support services programs.
    • CBC Indonesia donated $2,575 to the Panti Werdha Kasih Ayah Bunda to help provide mental health screening for residents of the nursing home.
    • CBC Japan donated $3,200 in scholarships for students pursuing chemical-related degrees.
    • CBC Philippines donated $5,000 to Power to Play, a U.S. children’s camp.
    • CBC Vietnam donated $10,000 to the Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Foundation, which helps victims of sexual abuse.
  • Wilbur-Ellis Feed. The company’s feed business supports animal and pet-related nonprofits, as well as health and human services groups in agricultural communities. Some examples include:
    • In August 2017, Wilbur-Ellis Feed donated $3,000 to Fences for Fido, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit that builds fences at no cost to families who keep their dogs on chains or tethers or in small enclosures. Fences for Fido also provides insulated doghouses, spay and neuter services, and emergency veterinary care. The organization has unchained nearly 1,500 dogs in Oregon and Washington during its eight years of operation.
    • In summer 2017, Wilbur-Ellis Feed donated $10,000 to the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women, a safe housing provider that exists to reduce the devastating impact of homelessness and poverty by providing safe emergency shelter and transitional support to women and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The donation will go toward the center’s Pink Door Campaign, a $2 million effort to find a larger, permanent space to provide more beds for single women and family shelter units.

Visit the company’s website for further information.

2/2/2018 12:00 AM

American companies are increasingly seeking to align their corporate giving and employee volunteer programs with the interests and passions of their workers.

American companies are increasingly seeking to align their corporate giving and employee volunteer programs with the interests and passions of their workers, new research shows, leaving some historically popular programs and strategies on the way out.

According to the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals’ 2017 Benchmarking Report, just over half of companies surveyed have Dollars-for-Doers programs, and a similar number now allow their workers to volunteer during work hours for non-company-sponsored events—both of which are proving ever more popular with employees. Meanwhile, the number of companies with signature volunteering programs, where employees are called on to support a company-sponsored and coordinated volunteer project, is declining.

“This reflects an overall trend in companies following a more employee-centric focus with their giving and volunteer programs,” said Maryann Fiala, the ACCP’s communications and marketing director.

With signature programs, a company is essentially telling its workers to support a particular issue or cause, typically one that aligns with the company’s business interests in one way or another. In contrast, by letting them volunteer with non-company-sponsored projects, or rewarding their volunteer efforts through cash Dollars-for-Doers grants for whichever charity suits their fancy, companies are letting their workers take the lead in directing corporate charity, Fiala said.

Other findings from the Benchmarking Report highlight this trend as well. For example, just 29 percent of surveyed companies participate in a federated campaign. Long a staple for major corporations, federated campaigns offer workers a set slate of well-vetted charities to support through payroll deductions, but that might be proving to be too prescriptive, according to Caitlin McDanels, the ACCP’s marketing technology and communications manager.

“There’s more emphasis today on the employees’ choice of recipients,” McDanels said. “But there’s no way to include all of the possible choices” in the roster of organizations that employees can support through federated campaigns.

That’s because a significant amount of time and resources goes into selecting recipient organizations that are on the up and up.

“It’s just too hard to have every possible nonprofit sufficiently vetted,” she said.

The same issue crops up with matching gift programs, McDanels said. According to the survey, about 40 percent of companies offer matching gifts, but the inherent limits to such programs—namely, determining which ones are on the list of eligible charities to receive matches—can make them less attractive for workers who have specific organizations they would like to donate to.

Fiala noted that taking a more employee-centric approach to giving and volunteer programs can be a boon for employee morale and satisfaction. But there is a caveat to that, she said.

“Companies will often see a big boost in employee satisfaction right up front, for the first year or two,” she explained. “But then it starts to level off. By year three or four, it’s considered more of a given. And if a company decides to cut the program, it will cause the reverse,” she said—a big drop in employee satisfaction.

“There’s a delicate balance when deciding to add these programs,” she said. “Companies should really consider whether they can commit to them for the long term.”

For more information or to access the Benchmarking Report in full, visit http://www.accprof.org.

1/17/2018 12:00 AM

Bashas’ charitable giving goes mainly to schools, churches and nonprofits operating in the areas of education, hunger, family and children.

OVERVIEW

Bashas’ is a leading regional grocery store chain that operates some 130 stores, nearly all of which are in Arizona. The company operates stores under several brands, including Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sportsman’s Fine Wines & Spirits and Eddie’s Country Store. Each of its chains has a specific market focus, ranging from the Bashas’ traditional grocery outlet to Food City stores that cater to the Hispanic population to Dine Markets stores that serve the Navajo Nation. The company is family-owned.

GIVING

Bashas’ charitable giving goes mainly to schools, churches and nonprofits that serve the company’s customers throughout its service area. The company concentrates its giving on the core program areas of education, hunger, family and children.

Some of Bashas’ major philanthropic programs include:

  • Charity of the Month. Bashas’ customers have an opportunity to give back to a local nonprofit every month in a Bashas’ store—whether it be donating food or making a donation at the register. The recipient changes month to month and includes a wide variety of nonprofit groups, including local children’s hospitals and local chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Heart Association, among others. The program raises thousands of dollars for local charities each month.
  • Annual food drives. Bashas’ holds two major food drives—a Summer Sack Lunch Drive in the summer and a Turkey Tuesday Drive during the holiday season. With help from its customers, the company has contributed more than a half a million pounds of food, providing meals for those in need, working with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and local food banks to distribute the food.
  • The Community Support Card. Nonprofits can easily raise funds from their supporters simply by purchasing Bashas’ Community Support Cards, which are eligible for a 6 percent discount. The organization then sells the Community Support Card to its supporters at face value and receives a 6 percent profit. And the supporters can reload their Community Support Card at Bashas’, Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods stores and the organization will continue to earn 6 percent of the reload amount.
  • Community partnerships. Bashas’ has partnered with local government agencies and chambers of commerce to support and promote a variety of public awareness and safety campaigns, in addition to celebratory city and state milestones.
  • Event sponsorships. The company supports various walk/run fundraisers every year. For example, AJ’s Fine Foods provides a variety of event sponsorships through cash and product donations in exchange for onsite and media exposure. And Food City supports a large number of community- and family-oriented events that range from hosting soccer tournaments featuring dozens of teams to local Easter Egg Hunts, culinary festivals and concert series reaching thousands of individuals and families.
  • Community need response. In times of tragedy or intense public need, all Bashas’ Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods stores have the ability to add point-of-sale donations to support a particular need or organization. For example, during Arizona’s fire season, the Bashas’ family of stores has implemented unique point-of-sale donation options to support The Salvation Army in its relief and support efforts for those affected.
  • Bashas’ Volunteers. Bashas’ employees and retirees, along with their families and friends, volunteer hundreds of hours to community-based projects each year. Its employees have helped children learn to read, assembled back-to-school toolkits for the United Way, sorted toys for the Salvation Army and served meals to the hungry, among other activities.

Additional information is available on the company’s website.

News Briefs
2/14/2018 12:00 AM

ConocoPhillips has awarded $994,000 in grants for habitat and water projects in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Texas and Wyoming.

ConocoPhillips, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, has awarded $994,000 in grants to help improve priority habitats and advance innovative water projects in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Texas and Wyoming. The grants will generate $1.9 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $2.9 million, the NFWF said. In Alaska, the grants will support projects that will remove a stream passage barrier on the Eklutna River, opening up seven miles of stream habitat to five different species of Pacific salmon. Projects located along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana will utilize innovative seeding techniques to rapidly expand the pace of mangrove planting and increase oyster reefs. In Colorado and Texas, projects will focus on restoring grassland bird habitat by working with ranchers on rotational grazing, engaging landowners in voluntary habitat practices and engaging in other restoration strategies. And in Idaho and Wyoming, an innovative pilot water market for groundwater recharge will improve the Teton River aquifer by 10,000 acre-feet to promote wetland health and streamflow.

News Briefs
2/11/2018 12:00 AM

Gilead Sciences has launched a new 10-year, $100 million program to support organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.

Gilead Sciences has launched a new 10-year, $100 million program to support organizations working to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States. Under the COMPASS Initiative—short for Commitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States—Gilead will partner with the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and the Southern AIDS Coalition, which will identify and provide funding to local organizations that are committed to addressing the epidemic throughout the region. The initiative has a threefold mission: to build capacity and increase knowledge sharing among community-based, underfunded organizations in Southern states; to explore interventions that appropriately respond to patients’ needs, including the bundling or reframing of mental health care, as well as the intersection between substance use, the opioid epidemic, and HIV/AIDS; and to fund awareness and anti-stigma campaigns. The ultimate goal is to dramatically increase the reach of these organizations working to address the epidemic in the region, and improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

News Briefs
2/6/2018 12:00 AM

3M has committed a total of $26 million to the University of Minnesota to benefit the next generation of scientists, engineers and business leaders.

3M has committed a total of $26 million to the University of Minnesota to benefit the next generation of scientists, engineers and business leaders. The funding will support the University’s Driven campaign, a 10-year initiative aimed at building a pipeline of high-performing and diverse global talent, integrating science, technology, engineering, and math into K-12 education, and preparing students to succeed in science and business. Around $8 million of the company’s pledge will support scholarships and outreach programs, the University said. More specifically, the College of Science and Engineering will receive $3.6 million between 2017-2023 for scholarships, K-12 outreach, and student programs support; the Carlson School of Management will receive $2.83 million; the Office of Equity and Diversity will receive $1.05 million; and the School of Dentistry will receive $600,000. The new commitments bring the company’s lifetime total to nearly $120 million in both cash and product given to the University.

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  • Meet the Editor

    Nicholas King
    Editor

    Nicholas King has served as editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report since 2007, and he continues to be impressed with the philanthropic efforts of the nation’s business sector.

    Drawing on an educational background in English and environmental policy, Nicholas began his journalism career in 2000 when he was brought on as editor of Environmental Laboratory Washington Report, a niche-market subscription-based newsletter serving the environmental testing industry. After seven years of honing his craft, Nicholas expanded his writing/editing portfolio to an entirely new field of interest - corporate philanthropy. As editor of Corporate Philanthropy Report, he stays abreast of the latest developments affecting corporate giving—and the charitable/nonprofit sector more broadly—providing his readers the “need to know” information vital for making the best use of their limited charitable dollars.

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