Founded in Hawaii in 1851, Dole Food Company is the world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to its fresh produce—notably, pineapples, bananas and other tropical fruits—Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, with about 200 individual products that are sourced, grown, processed, marketed and/or distributed in more than 90 countries around the world. In 2012, the company reported sales of about $4.2 billion and employed about 75,000 full- and part-time workers worldwide.
Dole’s charitable giving is focused largely on efforts to improve the health and well-being of the communities around the world where it has major business operations.
In the United States, the company contributes cash and other support to a number of nonprofit groups and schools that provide nutrition education for children. The company’s goal is to help the next generation of adults prevent many diseases by teaching the value of good nutrition to children through improved and interactive teaching curricula for schools throughout the country. As part of this effort, Dole donates a nutrition education CD-ROM program to schools nationwide. In addition, the company developed a nutrition education website, www.dole.com/SuperKids, that features a wide variety of exercises, puzzles and lesson plans that tout the nutritional benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Dole is also a major donor to food banks across the country, helping to distribute fresh fruit and vegetables to individuals and nonprofit groups throughout the United States.
In Dole’s overseas operations, each division contributes to the communities in which Dole employees live and work, with resources going to the following areas:
- Medical programs. In the less developed nations where it operates, Dole has implemented a series of health initiatives and social programs to serve Dole employees, as well as the communities in which they live. In most cases, these programs are developed in partnership with the local health authorities. Examples of these efforts include:
- Constructing hospitals in highly populated areas.
- Building health centers and dispensaries in areas where farms are concentrated.
- Supplying medical units to communities in remote areas.
According to the company, these structures provide communities with the following services:
- Preventative exams for early detection of breast, uterine or prostate cancer.
- Preventative medicine, such as vaccination and inoculation programs against tetanus, hepatitis B, yellow fever or tuberculosis.
- General check-up programs, such as eye exams and physicals.
- Surgery, ranging from dental procedures in the mobile units to more arduous operations in hospitals.
- Education programs, including disease prevention, nutrition and wellness, and water treatment programs, among others.
- Housing and community facilities. Dole has set up numerous housing and community projects in which it provides land and construction material for local citizens to use as needed. Besides building homes, these resources are also put toward building local amenities, such as schools, churches, parks, convenience stores and athletic centers, that enhance the quality of life for the entire community.
- Education programs. Dole also supports a number of educational programs for workers’ families. In areas where infrastructure and learning facilities are lacking, the company funds the construction and maintenance of schools, awards scholarships, trains faculty, donates books and provides other education-related materials.
A recent example of the company’s education-related contributions is its partnership with the Bama Gruppen supermarket chain, the Marcelino Maridueña Municipality, the local agricultural workers union and other stakeholders to build a new school in the Río Viejo community in Guayas Province, Ecuador.
Working with Bama Gruppen, a Norwegian grocery chain, Dole sought to develop a facility that could offer ongoing basic education to children in a community where the previous school was too small and in dire condition, and where Dole had operated for more than 50 years.
The new Ecuador País Amazónico School provides students with a modern building that includes well-ventilated classrooms, spaces for recreational activities, a faculty room, a fully functioning kitchen and a sanitary cafeteria. It serves more than 300 children from the Río Viejo community and surrounding rural areas.
Another example would be the company’s partnership with The Asia Foundation to donate school books and reading material to schools in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Dole’s partnership with TAF began in 2009 with a book drive for 55 adopted schools in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. Though 80,473 books were donated by Books for Asia Philippines specifically for Dole’s schools (benefiting close to 25,000 children), a total of 141,207 books were distributed throughout the country.
The following year, Dole approached the foundation about the possibility of extending the donation to include adopted schools in Sri Lanka, where the foundation is also present. Dole subsequently adopted four Sri Lanka schools, serving nearly 2,000 schoolchildren, which received thousands of books and other reading materials donated during a two-day collection drive.
For more information, visit the company’s website.