2019 Best Community Improvement Program Finalists

AbbVie, Inc.

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Abbvie Finalist Photo
© AbbVie, Inc.

When kids battle serious illnesses, sometimes far away from home, they need their family near them. Ronald McDonald House Charities serves this very need.

But in 2017, Ronald McDonald House Charities experienced an increase in demand and a lack of capacity. Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie launched a $100 million donation to add 600 new guest rooms at 33 locations, creating 245,000 nights of additional availability per year. The funds also support family services such as meals, laundry, playrooms, programming, and community spaces.

Two million dollars is allocated to identify and replicate remarkable family-support services and programming across chapters. A portion of the funding also provides operational support, such as technology that solves facility issues and makes space available for families faster.

To date, Ronald McDonald House Charities has already opened 15 houses, supporting an additional 115,000 families.


Belden Incorporated

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Belden Finalist Photo
© Belden Incorporated

Belden’s manufacturing facility in Richmond, Indiana, faced a workforce challenge with one-third of its employees approaching retirement and an increasing percentage of prospective employees not passing pre-employment drug screening, all while expanding production to meet demand.

Belden launched Pathways to Employment, a community-based solution blending drug rehabilitation with the promise of employment for workers willing to lead drug-free lives. The 18-month program provides participants with personalized, evidence-based treatment, resulting in a guaranteed job at Belden’s plant. If they face a relapse and are forthcoming about their struggle, they are given a second chance. The program gained early success and is being rolled out at two additional locations.

Belden actively shares learnings of the program in hopes that other companies and communities can develop and deploy similar programs. They spent this past year doing just that—bringing the Belden Blueprint to industry conferences, policymakers, media and other communities.


Citi Foundation

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Citi Foundation Finalist Photo
© Citi Foundation

Community organizations play a leading role on a wide array of social, economic, and environmental issues. Yet they face a shortage in unrestricted operating and capacity-building capital. For every $1 of designated funding received, nonprofits need additional unrestricted funds to operate, sometimes up to $1 more.

The Citi Foundation began the Community Progress Makers Fund (CPM) to invest in the core operations and capacity of high-impact organizations driving economic opportunities in their communities. The goal is to help organizations adapt to shifting trends and develop new solutions for affordable housing, skills training, business startups, and financial empowerment.

To date, CPM has led to 36,000 people placed in affordable housing; 4,500 young people connected to jobs; 2,400 small businesses strengthened, and 45,000 people helped in securing financial assets.


The Kroger Company

Forty percent of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, yet one in eight Americans are hungry. One in six children go without a meal every day. Kroger’s tremendous scale of physical assets, technology, and workforce are brought to bear in its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment to end hunger in communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

Kroger’s board of directors and senior officers played a crucial role in the program’s development. Nonprofits, such as Feeding America, the World Wildlife Fund, and ReFED, are strategic partners in the seven-point plan to execute Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, which includes donations of balanced meals, food rescue, policy advocacy, and the elimination of food and material waste in company operations.

Since launching Zero Hunger | Zero Waste in 2017, the program has rescued 190 million pounds of food companywide and donated 650 million meals in food and funds.