We are invested in strengthening the communities where we live and work; fostering a culture that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion; and ensuring the health and safety of our employees.
We have a great responsibility to support the communities we call home. Through targeted philanthropy and volunteerism, we aspire to make a meaningful impact that addresses food insecurity, advances education and supports the vitality of our local communities. View our helping communities video.
As a global food company, providing essential protein to the growing world population is key to our future. To fulfill our promise to produce “Good food. Responsibly.®,” we work to address nutritional insecurity by supporting nonprofit organizations and communities in need with financial and in-kind donations. Our giving focuses on three areas: food insecurity, education and community vitality.
Combating Food Insecurity
Our Helping Hungry Homes® program provides hunger and disaster relief and fights food insecurity. Since 2008, we have donated hundreds of millions of servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Poland, Romania and Mexico.
During the pandemic, we increased donations to exceed our 2025 donation target of an additional 100 million servings four years early. In 2022, we donated close to 25 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs across the U.S. through this program. To reflect our continued commitment to fighting food insecurity, we increased our pledge to 200 million servings by 2025.
Advancing Educational Opportunity
Smithfield invests in educational programs that support agriculture, science, technology, mathematics, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Each year since 2002, the Smithfield Scholarship Program has awarded educational scholarships to eligible dependents of our employees. Smithfield provides up to $7,500 per student per year through a non-competitive, need-based application process, in partnership with 20 U.S. colleges and universities, including several historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). To date, we have awarded over 1,400 annual scholarships worth nearly $8.1 million. In 2022, we expanded the program to include several new colleges and funded 118 scholarships worth more than $546,000.
The National Conservation Foundation Envirothon is North America’s largest environmental education program and international competition in which high school teams compete to demonstrate their environmental knowledge and problem-solving skills. Smithfield donated $30,000 in 2022 to provide scholarships to competition winners. In addition, Smithfield employees across the U.S. served as volunteer advisers to lead local training sessions, facilitate program curricula and coordinate activities to help further students’ environmental knowledge and problem-solving skills throughout the year.
As a global food company with operations in seven countries, we recognize that the communities where we live and work have unique cultures and needs. We take action to strengthen and support our local communities around the world in meaningful ways.
Helping Our Heroes is a Smithfield veteran engagement program that honors the service and sacrifice of American veterans and their families. The program helps prioritize veteran employment and career development and strengthens veterans’ community and family support systems. In pursuit of our goal to hire 4,000 veterans by 2025, we conducted our first national military and veterans hiring event to celebrate Military Appreciation Month in May. Smithfield recruiters visited military bases and partnered with local agencies in five U.S. states, all in one day, to show our deep support for our military community including active duty and transitioning military, veterans, and spouses.
For the fifth consecutive year, Smithfield Foods’ Gwaltney® brand has partnered with the Roc Solid Foundation to bring the power of play to families facing pediatric cancer. Gwaltney contributed $50,000 and served as a sponsor of the inaugural “Play Defeats Cancer Tour,” which built 30 playsets for families in 30 days across the country. Gwaltney also constructed a playset for a family near Miami, Florida, provided playsets to six families throughout the Southeast, and participated in Roc Solid’s Ready Bag program by hosting a packing party to fill bags with comfort items and essentials for families with children requiring hospitalization.
As a global protein company, hunger relief is the cornerstone of our social purpose and a significant focus of our community efforts. We have a responsibility to help our neighbors navigate challenging times by alleviating hunger. In 2020, we quantified our commitment in our new goal: to fight food insecurity in the United States by donating 100 million servings of protein through our Helping Hungry Homes initiative by 2025.
The year 2020 presented our communities with unprecedented health and economic challenges. Our Helping Hungry Homes initiative, founded in 2008, was at the heart of our efforts to help them stay afloat.
Amid business closures and sharply rising unemployment at the onset and throughout the pandemic, America’s food banks, which provide essential meals to millions of people even in prosperous times, were in urgent need. In coordination with Feeding America, our long-time hunger relief partner in the United States, we mobilized Smithfield team members from across the company to deliver 17 million pounds of protein, the equivalent of 69 million servings, to food banks across the United States. The donations, valued at more than $62 million, marked our company’s largest annual donation of protein to date, delivered in record time.
Helping Hungry Homes, our signature hunger relief program, has now provided more than 212 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 U.S. states since 2008.
Supporting Hunger Relief Internationally
Hunger relief is also a core philanthropic initiative at our operations in Poland and Romania. Through our hunger relief program in Romania, we donated more than 20,000 pounds of protein products to 11 charities that prepared and delivered nearly 40,000 servings to local families. For example, in March, approximately 100 children and adults received lunches prepared with pork and other ingredients donated by Smithfield Romania. In Poland, we work directly with local food banks and community representatives to direct our time, money and products to various community meal programs. This year, ahead of the holiday season, our team in Kraków participated in the Szlachetna Paczka (the Noble Gift) initiative to support a local family with much-needed nonperishable foods as well as school supplies, clothing and toys for the children.
Our U.S. employees joined our efforts to fight hunger in their local communities in September during National Hunger Action Month™, Smithfield’s annual companywide food drive, and collected more than 57,000 pounds of nonperishable food. Thanks to our employees’ generosity, nearly 48,000 meals were distributed to 30 food banks across the country through this initiative.
Our philanthropic initiatives provide educational opportunities to employees, their families and communities. In 2020, our long-standing commitment to scholarships and educational grants totaled nearly $4 million in the United States and nearly $500,000 in Poland and Romania.
Through our Unity and Action strategy, we made a two-year $5 million commitment to help increase access to quality education and bridge divides in communities. We also provided educational scholarships valued at more than $1 million to 177 children and grandchildren of our U.S. full-time and retired employees. To help ensure a broad range of educational opportunities for deserving students, we have committed to further diversify our partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs).
In 2020, we awarded 447 scholarships to children of employees and local farmers in Poland through our Zygmunt Piwonski Smithfield Polska Foundation, which has granted more than 3,400 scholarships valued at more than $2 million since 2007.
With the pandemic curtailing volunteerism, our Smithfield Romania’s Back to School program pivoted in 2020 to invest in technology to support online classes, IT labs and other distance-learning infrastructure in schools in its local communities. In total, we provided more than $228,000 in educational funding to 34 schools.
Smithfield owes the men and women who have served the United States a debt of gratitude, and it is our responsibility to do what we can to help them.
We launched Helping Our Heroes in November 2020 to underscore our long-standing commitment to honor the service and sacrifice of American veterans and their families. This new initiative expands on our three veteran-related focus areas:
- Prioritizing veteran employment and career development
- Helping power veteran-owned businesses
- Strengthening the community and family support systems that veterans rely on every day
Our efforts include comprehensive support for their transitions back to civilian life, including dedicated veteran hiring, training, retention and employment initiatives. For example, our Military Fellowship Program provides an 18-month rotational development curriculum to prepare veterans for leadership opportunities, while our Military Supervisor-in-Training Program identifies and trains veterans in skills necessary to become production supervisors at manufacturing facilities. Smithfield Salutes, an employee business resource group, provides support and helps ensure veterans succeed in their careers with us.
In 2020, we extended the target of our commitment to hire 4,000 veterans to the end of 2025. Building on lessons learned during the first phase of our commitment, we are working with veteran employment offices, partnering with national veteran career organizations and advisory councils, engaging our veteran employees in community outreach and increasing our recognition of veteran employees. Through our new partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council in Southeastern Virginia, for example, current and former members of the military receive hiring support, professional career consultation and direct access to regional employment opportunities, including at Smithfield facilities.
We continue to advance career opportunities for veterans through ongoing partnerships such as RedWhiteandCool, our collaboration with the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA), which introduces transitioning military veterans to opportunities in the growing industrial refrigeration industry. We also provided hands-on agriculture training to 77 transitioning military members through North Carolina State University’s Soldier to Agriculture Program.
Helping Our Heroes also underscores our commitment to championing veteran-owned businesses. We continued to support The Global Good Fund, a leadership development program to help veteran entrepreneurs accelerate and scale their businesses. In 2020, our third year of support, our $400,000 grant helped 10 Veteran Fellows raise $3.2 million in capital and report an increase in revenue to a combined $1.4 million despite the challenges of the pandemic. The veteran-owned businesses also created 19 new full-time jobs and indirectly created 29 additional positions. Smithfield’s procurement team also prioritizes working with veteran-owned, minority-owned and women-owned businesses across our supply chain.
We remain dedicated to strengthening community and family support systems for American veterans. This effort includes investments in internal employee resources to help with military-to-civilian life transitions and giving back to veteran communities.
The year 2020 underscored how critical Smithfield’s charitable contributions are to the communities and households that purchase our products. Throughout the year, we partnered with local causes that resonate with our brands and with consumers, contributing nearly $300,000 in cash and in-kind donations through cause-giving campaigns in support of essential workers, healthy communities, hunger relief, education and veteran support.
Among our most successful:
- Pure Farmland™ Pure Growth Project awarded $100,000 in grants to 50 not-for-profits committed to increasing the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables by nurturing neighborhood green spaces and community gardeners.
- The Farmer John® Thank You Tour provided grab-and-go meals to essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic, donating more than 1 million hotdogs and innumerable “thank-you’s” over a 14-week campaign.
- Smithfield Culinary, our foodservice unit, donated $25,000 to the Ferdinand Metz American Culinary Federation Relief Fund to support foodservice industry professionals impacted by COVID-19. With approximately 14 million people in the United States employed in the foodservice industry, a staggering number of individuals were laid off, furloughed or had their hours reduced.
We hold ourselves to a high standard of responsibility for environmental stewardship, and we continually develop innovative solutions to improve our conservation of precious natural resources.
“Good” doesn’t stop with our products. It’s in everything we do. From simpler nutrition and ingredient labels on our packaging to harvesting lifesaving pharmaceuticals for use in medical applications, we’re not just producing good food — we’re making good progress toward a healthier world.
We are driving change in our industry by building a culture that celebrates diversity, fosters an inclusive work environment and promotes equity across our business and in our communities.