U.S. Chamber Foundation Announces Winners of 20th Annual Citizens Awards

November 14, 2019

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Awards recognize companies for their purpose-driven leadership and commitment to serving the needs of society 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the recipients of its 20th Annual Citizens Awards, honoring businesses for the positive impact they make in communities around the world. The awards, given in eight categories, recognize the most innovative and strategic corporate citizenship programs designed to target some of society’s biggest challenges. Marking the 20th anniversary, the awards also introduced two new honors: the inaugural “Corporate Citizenship Hall of Fame” and “Solve Together: A Special Recognition for World Changing Ideas.”

“For the past 20 years, the Citizens Awards have documented the living history of corporate philanthropy and social responsibility,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president for the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “The world around us looks much different today than it did 20 years ago, but one thing is certain: businesses everywhere are stepping up to tackle pressing issues and help communities thrive. The awards serve as a powerful reminder of the private sector’s everlasting impact.”

The U.S. Chamber Foundation presented the Citizens Awards to the following eight recipients: 

  • Best Corporate Steward – Large Business: Stanley Black & Decker
    Stanley Black & Decker offers its employees and other workers the opportunity to gain new skills to help them thrive in a technology-driven world. The company is improving the way its products enhance lives and protect the environment. It has also set a 2030 target to become carbon positive, achieve zero waste to landfill, and ensure sustainable water use across its operations.
  • Best Corporate Steward – Small and Middle-Market Business: Berkshire Bank
    Berkshire Bank focuses on three shared value priorities: building a responsible workforce, fostering sustainable communities, and financing the future. The company funds $4.2 million in community contributions, and finances $248 million to support small businesses and $71.5 million for renewable energy and low-carbon projects. Berkshire’s employee volunteer program, XTEAM, sees 100% employee participation.
  • Best Community Improvement Program: The Kroger Company
    In 2017, Kroger launched its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment to end hunger in communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. Kroger partners with nonprofits 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, the program has rescued 190 million pounds of food companywide and donated 650 million meals.
  • Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program: FedEx Corporation 
    FedEx and International Medical Corps have transformed disaster response by redesigning an emergency field hospital to create rapidly deployable medical assets and health facilities. After three years, the collaboration enabled more than one million people to receive life-saving services including hygiene kits, medical shelters, protective equipment, and screenings after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico; Hurricane Michael in Florida, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Best Economic Empowerment Program: Kellogg Company
    Kellogg and TechnoServe have partnered to improve farming families’ income and climate change resilience in the rural state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The program teaches farmers climate-smart agricultural practices, which have increased the incomes of participating farmers by 20%. Moreover, families learn to grow organic kitchen gardens. The average household with a garden now consumes vegetables daily and its spending on vegetables has decreased by nearly 75%.
  • Best Commitment to Education Program: Tata Consultancy Services
    Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) created Ignite My Future in School to assist under-resourced U.S. schools in educating students for the new economy. Fewer than 1.5 million of the 50 million K-12 students are learning any form of computing skills, while only 10,000 of 3.1 million teachers are equipped to teach computing concepts. Ignite My Future in School lesson plans aim to impact 20,000 teachers and 1 million students by 2021.
  • Best Environmental Stewardship Program: The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator
    The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a technology incubator funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Launched in 2014, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early stage, clean technology entrepreneurs. To date, the 30 IN2 companies have collectively raised more than $175 million in follow-on funding from outside sources and 6 have successfully exited through mergers or acquisitions.
  • Best Health and Wellness Program: Merck
    Merck for Mothers focuses on tackling the leading contributors to maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S.: lack of data, inconsistent obstetric care, increase in chronic conditions, and limited awareness. In 2011, Merck launched Merck for Mothers, a $500 million initiative to create a world where no woman has to die giving life. Since its launch, the initiative has reached more than two million women.

For the 20th anniversary, the Citizens Awards introduced the Corporate Citizenship Hall of Fame to commemorate companies that have made extraordinary contributions to the betterment of society and brought about a new era where purpose is the foundation for progress. Cisco, DSM North America, Entergy Corporation, GSK, Merck, and UPS were inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame for their continued social and environmental impact. 

The U.S. Chamber Foundation also named WarnerMedia as the recipient of “Solve Together: A Special Recognition for World Changing Ideas” for Chasing the Cure, a groundbreaking initiative that uses a weekly 90-minute live television broadcast and a 24/7 digital platform to help people suffering from undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or uncured medical mysteries. The series links patients with medical experts and a community of medical detectives, who work together to help find answers. Veteran journalist Kim Bondy serves as showrunner and executive producer on this project from Lionsgate Television, production companies B-17 Entertainment and Motiv8 Media. Eric Ortner, Jennifer O’Connell, and Michael Bloom also serve as executive producers.

Chasing the Cure’s anchor and executive producer Ann Curry and Jenny Ramirez, vice president of unscripted programming, TBS, TNT and TruTV, accepted the Solve Together award on behalf of WarnerMedia.

Additionally, the U.S. Chamber Foundation recognized three 2019 Revitalize America honorees—Oshkosh Corporation, DSM North America, and Cox Enterprises—for their efforts to bring jobs and opportunities to communities and cities across the country. Learn more about their work here

The 20th annual Citizens Awards ceremony took place at the conclusion of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s 2019 Corporate Citizenship Conference in Washington, D.C. More information on this year’s winners is available on the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s website.

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About Corporate Citizenship Center
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center is a leading resource for businesses dedicated to making a difference. For nearly 20 years, our programs, events, research, and relationships with key NGO and governments have helped businesses make the world a better place.

About U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.