Inside General Mills
National recognition for General Mills and its efforts in Africa
June 2, 2010
General Mills was one of four organizations to receive national recognition yesterday for its philanthropy work. At a ceremony in New York City, General Mills received the President’s Award for its efforts in Africa from the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).
The 175-member organization was founded by actor-activist Paul Newman and business leaders in 1999 to raise the level and quality of corporate philanthropy.
"Effective philanthropy requires business vigor," and the work of General Mills reflects that dedication, said Christina Gold, president and chief executive officer of The Western Union, a 2009 CECP award recipient. In announcing the General Mills award, Gold praised the company's measurement practices and its CEO leadership. "Leadership matters,"she said.
Ken Powell, General Mills chairman and chief executive officer, accepted the award on behalf of company employees, noting that their involvement plays a crucial role. Ellen Luger, General Mills Foundation executive director, joined Powell at the event.
Speaking about company efforts in Africa, Powell said, "We're just starting, and the list is long. So, too, is the roster of General Mills people who stand ready to help."
The company's philanthropy in Africa started a few years ago with packing powdered meals for families in Malawi. "Although helpful, we soon realized that we could have a deeper impact by empowering Africans to strengthen their own economies," Powell said.
So today, efforts – reaching thousands of Africans – include grants, the Join My Village online initiative and the Partners in Food Solutions technology transfer program.
Join My Village, launched last year with CARE, focuses on women and girls, who are the backbone of rural communities. The initiative has provided more than 150 scholarships to girls and funded dozens of microloans to women entrepreneurs.
Partners in Food Solutions centers on tapping employee food industry expertise to help small- and mid-sized mills and food processors produce nutritious food for local markets.
"Today, we clearly are striving to help develop lasting change in Africa – to nourish lives in a sustainable, powerful way," Powell said.
The CECP event also included philanthropy honors for Intel Corporation (education), The Boston Beer Company (microloans for entrepreneurs) and Partners in Health , a nonprofit that provides health care to the poor around the world.
Inside General Mills