Building strong communities starts at home where our team members live, work and play.
We own and operate facilities in more than 100 communities across the U.S. Most of our communities are in rural areas where, in many cases, Tyson Foods is the largest employer. The majority of our team members work on the front lines of our processing plants, and may face challenges in accessing basic resources like housing, transportation, childcare and health care, as well as ensuring our team members feel a sense of connection with their community. Challenges like these not only prevent our team members from growing and thriving—they impact turnover and absenteeism, which threaten the stability of our workforce.
As a result, our community support efforts emphasize improving the quality of life in the communities where our team members live and work. We do this by focusing where we can uniquely add value, take advantage of our strengths, and generate the most impact from both business and social perspectives. Specifically, our corporate social responsibility efforts:
- Address hunger insecurity by expanding access to protein.
- Work with team members to address social challenges that disrupt their lives, such as housing, transportation, childcare, team member culture/integration and health care.
- Support market access and growth for Tyson Foods and its subsidiaries.
- Improve quality of life in the communities where we operate.
A Shift to Social Investment
Our corporate responsibility programming reflects a vision based on two key principles:
Total Charitable Donations
by Focus Area
- Product Donations: 73% ($28,922,171)
- Social Investment Grants: 18% ($7,047,415)
- Employee Emergency Assistance: 4% ($1,490,898)
- Upward Academy: 3% ($1,137,465)
- Disaster Relief: 2% ($928,662)
These guiding themes serve as pillars for how we develop and manage all we do. We seek to make strategic investments that will yield a positive social change to ensure all stakeholders benefit. And we do so primarily by supporting nonprofits, including by accelerating their capacity to serve our communities. We know that during times of scarcity, nonprofits are often forced to reduce investments that ensure their own livelihoods, such as talent development, strategic planning and board governance improvements. Tyson Foods aims to partner with select nonprofits to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Our corporate grantmaking strategy includes:
- Investments in the most important social risks facing the community and company: hunger relief and reducing the social challenges that cause instability in our hourly team members’ lives.
- Prioritization of communities where we have a plant.
- A focus on “closed” invitations where we invite select nonprofits to respond to a request for proposals; however, we also have an “open” category where nonprofits can submit requests based on their interests.
- A required “Performance Target”—a quantifiable goal that a nonprofit seeks to attain by using Tyson Foods grant money, as well as information about how they will measure progress.
- An internal Advisory Committee that helps us make investment decisions and ensures transparency with spending practices.
Our team members are empowered to suggest projects to fund through Tyson Hometown Service Grants, a new pilot program. Grants may range from $500 to $3,000 to support nonprofit or public service organizations in Tyson Foods communities. The funds must be used to support a community service project through these organizations, for which a minimum of five Tyson Foods team members must volunteer. Managers must approve these projects in advance and determine whether volunteer work may be completed during work hours or during team members’ personal time.
Community Social Baseline Assessments
To best serve our communities, we must understand their diverse characteristics and needs. That’s why we conduct independent community social baseline assessments of our operations in Tyson Foods plant communities. Assessments examine the impacts and social risks in the communities where we do business, focusing on those where challenges are estimated to be significant. Our goal is to ensure that we are sharing the benefits of our presence with the local community through employment and community support, as well as to mitigate any adverse impacts that may occur.
Plants can voluntarily request an assessment of their community risks and impacts. During an assessment, we interview hourly team members, management staff and community stakeholders to identify the most significant areas of concern. Then, we make investments to mitigate social challenges that we share with the communities in which we operate.
Tyson Foods recently conducted a social baseline assessment in Eagle Mountain, Utah, where Tyson Fresh Meats plans to build a new plant that will support approximately 1,200 jobs. In advance of this expansion, we chose to conduct an assessment to understand the social attributes of the community and identify potential challenges that might require further analysis and action. We interviewed more than 30 community leaders and learned that there are community needs for affordable housing, childcare, medical facilities and sustainable transportation options. As a result, we are exploring public-private partnerships to address each of these issues to strengthen this community and mitigate team member turnover once the plant is open.
Recent Social Investments
Beyond targeted support for our team members, Tyson Foods makes investments that support the overall health of communities where we operate. These could include support for public service organizations like schools and libraries, or nonprofits that help individuals access resources they need to thrive. Notable recent investments include:
- A $1 million grant to DonorsChoose.org for projects in 46 school districts in 37 Tyson Foods communities. DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding platform for public schools which teachers can use to request specific resources for their classrooms. This pool of funding allowed teachers in school districts linked to our plant communities to apply for up to $1,000 to purchase the supplies and equipment that they need most.
- A $100,000 grant to fund the Legal Navigator Project established by Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC). This investment will allow EMBARC to increase awareness and support for civil and immigrant legal services, such as green cards and citizenship applications. It will also improve the self-sufficiency and economic stability for refugees in Iowa communities such as Waterloo, Columbus Junction, Independence and Perry, where we operate plants.
- Grants to two public libraries in Northwest Arkansas to better support local cultures present in the area. Many people perceive libraries as a place only for people who read. But libraries serve a variety of functions: they are gathering spaces and the primary institutions providing free access to information and education resources in our society. Through literacy programs, ESL classes, cultural celebration events, tool lending programs, and more, Tyson Foods’ grants will help these libraries better foster connections between our workforce, especially those who are new to America, and the community at large. The project will also allow us to bring the library into the plant with regular monthly visits.
Team Member Giving
Tyson Foods team members join in our spirit of giving through donations and support of volunteer projects. In FY2019, we expanded Giving Together, our matching gifts program through which Tyson Foods matches donations up to $1,000 per year per team member. Now, all team members across the company can participate, and team members can make charitable contributions and receive company matches via payroll deduction.
We’ve also added a volunteer matching option. For every hour a team member volunteers for an eligible nonprofit and tracks their time in our online platform, We will donate $12, which the team member can then pass on to any eligible organization, regardless of where they volunteered. Between October 2018 and September 2019, we matched more than $297,000 in employee donations to charities of their choice.