Often, when there’s a discussion about companies putting revenue back into the community, most of the conversation seems to focus on large corporations and millions of dollars. However, in reality, many small businesses are noticeably impacting their communities, although they may be unable to match the donations of large corporations. Small business owners are aware of the benefits of giving back and are also getting their employees involved. Whether the donation is large or small, it’s the thought and action that count.
Stanton Optical operates three eyeglass stores throughout Ohio, with locations in Miamisburg, Beavercreek and Toledo. The company is proud of its contributions to the community. In fact, on a continuous basis, their Ohio stores give back to the local community. Eyeglass donation boxes are set up for the Lions Club Recycle for Sight program at all three stores, including other locations of Stanton Optical outside the state.
The Toledo store has made a substantial donation to the Sparrow’s Nest Cherry Street Mission Ministries, which is a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and homelessness. The employees at Stanton Optical store together with customer Sheila Olson collected and donated $150 of their money toward this worthwhile cause. Stanton Optical was winner of the Sphere of Influence Award for its many philanthropic efforts and most innovative community outreach.
The Cincinnati supermarket giant, Kroger, topped the list of annual contributors. In 2010, the company contributed 10.9% of the 2009 before-tax profit of $589 million to its community. This amounted to $64 million. In 2011, the company’s charitable contributions increased to $69.7 million. Kroger’s 15-year old Rewards Program funnels more than $40 million annually to participating community non-profit organizations.
The Michigan Division of Kroger, in 2010, was able to distribute more than 8 million meals to local food banks to feed the hungry. Additionally, the company partnered with its patrons and associates to donate $628,192 to these same food banks, which included Forgotten Harvest, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and Gleaner’s Community Food Bank.
To add to the life-saving funds for cancer research, Kroger also partnered with its patrons and associates to donate $420,037, in 2010 to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. To improve education diversity and health/wellness resourcefulness, Kroger’s Michigan Divisions joined with local communities and consumers in 2010 to donate more than $1.98 million.
During 2010, Wal-Mart Stores, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas contributed 1.45% of its 2009 pre-tax revenue of $22 billion to the community. The retail store giant continues to impact the community by also donating products and last year, announced its five-year plan to donate $2 billion to fight hunger. Most of the donation will be food items, but $250 million will be in cash. In 2012, Walmart Stores and its Foundation donated more than $1 billion cash for various community needs.
The next year, in 2013, the California division of the Walmart Foundation contributed $29,000 to the Women’s Empowerment program for help to further its initiative for empowering homeless women. A total of $25,000 was granted to Senior Gleaners, Inc. to dispense more than 131,000 pounds of food items to families with low income.
While it’s good publicity for companies to contribute to their communities, it also builds strong relationships. Companies that are involved in the community differentiate themselves from their competitors, and reap many more benefits, including devoted customers and contented employees.
Photo Credit: www.empowermentprogram.org
Cheryline Lawson is a writer and self-published author of several books and a wide range of online content. She has a passion for reading and writing. Ms. Lawson’s focus is on bringing valuable information to people who are searching for it. She resides in Florida with her husband of 28 years and her two sons; aged 24 and 19. Ms. Lawson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Miami. When she is not writing or reading a good book, she volunteers at her local church soup kitchen and goes on travel adventures with her family.