The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the recipients of its 2020 Citizens Awards – eight purpose-driven companies that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in helping our communities grow stronger amid a global pandemic, economic downturn, and movement for racial equity. From addressing systemic issues faced by disadvantaged groups to combating hunger in communities hit hard by the pandemic to delivering life-altering innovations to those in need, this year’s winners show how businesses act as a catalyst for change in every aspect of society.
“Amid the extraordinary challenges of 2020, the business community has served as a powerful beacon of hope, staying relentless in its pursuit to create breakthroughs, deliver solutions, and move our communities forward,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “While the pandemic has exposed many of our vulnerabilities, it also showed the remarkable ability of business to adapt, pivot and act as a force for good – and that’s what the Citizens Awards are about.”
The U.S. Chamber Foundation presented the Citizens Awards to the following eight recipients:
Best Corporate Steward – Large Business: UPS & The UPS Foundation
UPS pledged one million employee volunteer service hours to support mentoring and educational programs in underserved Black communities globally, with The UPS Foundation allocating $3.2 million to fund organizations fighting racial injustice. In response to COVID-19, UPS directed $21 million to 300 relief agencies and distributed 10 million pieces of PPE worldwide. The company launched the world’s first medical drone partnership and a last-mile vaccine delivery service in Africa. UPS has planted 15 million trees and announced new goals of planting 50 million trees by 2030 focused on supporting low-income and underserved communities.
Best Corporate Steward – Small and Middle-Market Business: TwentyTables
TwentyTables provides a scalable solution to fighting hunger, in which customers order fixed, low-cost, professionally-made meals from the TwentyTables restaurant network. Meal offerings are created based on the current inventory restaurants need to use to avoid food waste. The company also earmarks a portion of profits to give free meals to people experiencing hunger. In 2019, the company donated 20,000 meals, and in 2020, donated 10,000 meals to healthcare workers.
Best Community Improvement Program: T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
Following Baltimore’s 2015 civil unrest, the T. Rowe Price Foundation made a $1.3M multi-year commitment to West Baltimore to address key challenges identified by the community including racial inequity, food insecurity, and community leadership. Since 2015, the Foundation has increased funding to advance equity and support of minority-led organizations by 150%, and partnered with over a dozen local corporations, which collectively raised more than $1M to combat hunger in communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program: GAF
A large roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, GAF, is committed to supporting disaster preparedness and community resiliency through its Community Matters social impact initiative. Since 2017, GAF has partnered with nonprofit Good360 to respond and rebuild communities following natural disasters or global pandemics. To date, GAF has donated $3.3 million in roofing products to vulnerable families in need, including those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Florence and Michael.
Best Economic Opportunity and Empowerment Program: The PepsiCo Foundation & CARE
The PepsiCo Foundation and CARE are tackling gender inequality in the agriculture sector by helping women obtain land rights, farming equipment, and marketplace access while providing financial and sustainable agriculture training. PepsiCo’s investment with CARE aims to empower 5 million women farmers and their families in the developing world. In two years, the program reached 191,500 women and families in Uganda, and 11,000 in Peru within the first year.
Best Commitment to Education Program: Verizon Wireless
The Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) summer programs for Young Men of Color and Rural Young Women help to strengthen the pathway between STEM subjects, higher education, and STEM careers by offering a free accelerated boot camp for underserved middle school students that provides mentoring, the latest technology, and skills training. In 2019, the Young Men of Color program reached 2,177 students and the Rural Young Women program served 1,449 students. Verizon’s education initiative has provided more than $535M in market value toward STEM education.
Best Health and Wellness Program: Walgreens
Walgreens partners with the United Nations (UN) Foundation to donate one lifesaving vaccine for every immunization a customer gets at Walgreens. In seven years, the Walgreens Get a Shot. Give a Shot. program went from an annual donation of 3 million vaccines to 11 million vaccines. Walgreens has helped the UN Foundation provide more than 50 million measles and polio vaccines to children in countries around the world. The company is committed to the goal of 100 million vaccine donations by 2024.
Best Sustainability Program: Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts and Good360 partner to divert excess products from landfills and waste facilities by donating them to automotive skills-building nonprofits and vocational programs, which help address the industry shortage of auto-repair experts. In 2019, Advance’s donations increased by 42% compared to the year prior, equaling 1.3 million pounds of product. Since the program began, total donations have reached 1,700 tons—the equivalent of more than 180 semi-trucks filled with parts and supplies.
This year’s awards program also featured the “Corporate Citizenship Hall of Fame,” honoring past winners for their sustained social and environmental impact, and significant contributions to advancing the field of corporate social responsibility. Citi Foundation and FedEx were inducted into the Hall of Fame for their long-standing efforts to build resilient and prosperous communities.
“FedEx is honored to be inducted into the Corporate Citizenship Hall of Fame, which recognizes our commitment to communities around the world,” said Jenny Robertson, SVP Integrated Marketing and Communications. “Through our FedEx Cares program, we are using our unique expertise to make the world a better place and to live out our purpose of connecting people and possibilities.”
“At Citi, corporate citizenship is about taking a stand on societal issues, no matter how challenging or controversial, and using our voice to drive positive change,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “We are grateful to be recognized for our efforts as we continue to use both our philanthropy and core business capabilities to enable progress in the communities we serve.”
The 21st Annual Citizens Awards program took place virtually in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Citizenship Conference. More information on this year’s winners is available on the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s website. You can watch the award program and the acceptance speeches at this link.