Through targeted grants to causes and organizations that help advance the social, economic, educational, environmental and agricultural interests of cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world, ADM Cares is serving vital needs in our communities, every day, in many ways. In the coming months, Inside will learn how ADM locations are using their ADM Cares funds to make an unique and lasting impact on the communities where they live and work.
During 2014, ADM and Stratas Foods contributed grants totaling more than $207,000 to more than 49 Quincy and surrounding community organizations and programs ranging from local FFA chapters to food pantries.
The Quincy ADM Cares and Stratas Serves Committee — which includes a colleague from each of the six ADM and Stratas Foods locations in the city — focuses its giving strategy on five categories: education, hunger, agriculture, youth, community centers and arts. The cross-functional group places additional emphasis on identifying donation-based organizations where their funds directly reach the end users, explained Jenny Jenkins, HR manager, Alliance Nutrition (ANI), and committee chair.
"We're proud to work for a company that realizes the importance of giving back to the community," Jenkins said. "Quincy has been good to many of us, and it's a good feeling to be able to give back when we see a glaring need in the areas where our colleagues and customers live.
But financial contributions aren't the only way Quincy colleagues show that ADM Cares and Stratas Serves — and nowhere is that more evident than at Ellington Elementary School, which sits across the street from the ANI facility.
Every year, ADM Alliance Nutrition provides funding for one or two key projects for the school, while the ADM Cares and Stratas Serves Committee allocates funding for a program that provides backpacks filled with nutritious, easy-to-serve food to up to 50 students at Ellington — and other Quincy schools — every Friday for the kids to consume over the weekend.
Since 2007, dozens of ADM colleagues have participated in a lunch-buddy mentoring program to provide friendship and guidance to students in kindergarten through third grade. And every year at Halloween, the ANI office opens up its doors for a trick-or-treat event titled "Candy and Coins" for Ellington students and their parents. Colleagues come up with different costume themes for their respective teams and decorate their workspaces to fit the theme. At each trick-or-treat station, the students collect candy and coins — the candy is theirs to keep in one bag, and the coins are donated by the students to the local United Way as they leave the office.
"It's pretty amazing how fast this office can transform into a different place," Jenkins said. "We want to teach the students the importance of giving back and we're seeing more parents come in with them every year, so that helps further build our reputation in the community."
Colleagues at ADM's oilseeds processing and Stratas Foods locations are cultivating a similar relationship with students and faculty at Berrian Elementary School. Colleague involvement in local schools and other youth-focused organizations is one way that ADM and Stratas get more value from their investment in the Quincy community. The pooling of financial resources between the six locations is another, Jenkins said.
"Combining our ADM Cares and Stratas Serves funds allows us to make a greater impact, both financially and in terms of getting our name out in the community," she added. "And by having more voices at the table, we are more aware of the different needs throughout the community."
The following colleagues are members of the Quincy ADM Cares and Stratas Serves Committee: Jenny Jenkins, HR manager, ANI; Janet Steele, administrative assistant/IT content liaison, ADM Processing; Larry Hochgraber, maintenance lead person, ANI; DiAnne Hughes, research office coordinator, ANI; Ashley Dearwester, accountant/staff auditor, ADM Processing; and Zach Scharnhorst, superintendent, Stratas Foods.