Hershey's CSR Report: Impacting the Communities Where We Live and Work

Aug 9, 2012 7:00 PM ET
  • Contributed more than $9.1 million in cash and product donations
  • Set a new giving record of more than $2 million to the United Way
  • Celebrated the More Than Three Decades of Hershey’s Track & Field Games
  • Contributed nearly 10,000 employee volunteer hours to deserving causes

The Hershey Company recently issued its second Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report – “Listen. Learn. Act.” – outlining how the company and its employees are deeply engaged with and positively impacting society and local communities where employees live and work. 

Community engagement is one of the four pillars of the company’s CSR strategy, continuing a century-long legacy that traces back to company founder Milton Hershey.  At the heart of Hershey’s community efforts is the well-being of children, especially those at risk.

In its latest report, Hershey details the variety of ways the company and its employees are making a difference in the community. These include corporate philanthropy, contributions of expertise, employee giving and volunteerism – all measured against goals which were set in 2009. 

The report reveals that the company met or exceeded all of its Community goals for 2011.

Corporate Philanthropy

The Hershey Company has a long history of donating both money and products to deserving causes that make a difference in people’s lives. One of the major partners in this effort is United Way, which Hershey has supported since 1932 when it was called the United Emergency Relief Fund. In 2011, The Hershey Company and its employees and retirees together contributed more than $2.2 million to United Way Worldwide and its program partners, setting a company record.  This is in addition to Hershey’s yearly total of $9.1 million in cash and product given to deserving causes in 2011.

One of the flagship charitable programs that the company has pioneered is the Hershey’s Track and Field Games. In 2011 the company celebrated the 34th birthday of the Games, the largest and longest-running youth activity program of its kind in North America. In 2011, more than 132,000 young people ages 9 to 14 participated in 1,025 meets free of cost. More than 10 million youth athletes have participated in the Games since their inception, including several eventual Olympic Athletes.  In 2012, the company conducted “35th Birthday Parties” for the Hershey’s Track and Field Games across the country to celebrate the values of youth development and well-being.  

2011 also was the first year that The Hershey Company teamed up with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program by inviting Games participants and company employees to donate used athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces. More than 3,000 shoes were donated to the program during the year. Hershey and Nike partnered to build and donate a new playground using a Nike Grind surface for a community in Ogden, Utah, and just awarded another Nike Grind play space to a to be determined community in Louisiana at this year’s North American final.

Employee Giving and Volunteering

Hershey employees and retirees participate actively in their communities, often as volunteers with organizations that include United Way partner agencies, environmental groups, food banks and much more. In 2011, Hershey employees and retirees gave more than $1.3 million in charitable contributions and spent nearly 7,700 hours offering community service. Combined with the tracked hours of offering expertise, such as tax preparation, where employees are, in effect, “lent” to other organizations to contribute their skills, Hershey employees volunteered nearly 10,000 hours in 2011.

Hershey employees also continue to support the company’s unique Project Fellowship program. The mission of Project Fellowship is to build and foster a sense of connection and community by pairing Milton Hershey School students with Hershey employees and their families for mentoring and social activities. The Milton Hershey School, founded in 1909 by Milton and Catherine Hershey and located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is administered by The Hershey Trust Company, The Hershey Company’s largest shareholder. The school provides free education, housing, food and health care to more than 1,800 underserved children of all backgrounds from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

In 2011, Hershey’s met its goal of increasing the number of Project Fellowship household partnerships matched to students by 20 percent over the 2009 baseline and looks to continue expanding the program in the coming years.

The company also helps its employees make a difference around the United States through its CSR Advocate program. This program empowers local sales representatives to help Hershey employees get involved in their local communities through volunteering and philanthropy, extending the positive impact of the company throughout the nation.

Looking to the Future

After achieving its 2011 goals, Hershey set new community goals at the beginning of 2012. These goals seek to continue to improve and expand the company’s impact in communities and increase employee engagement through innovative programs, such as the Hershey Honors Authentic Business Management (HHABM) program. HHABM is a partnership between the company and the Milton Hershey School that provides real-life business applications to students as an educational and curriculum development tool while engaging 40 Hershey personnel through teaching.

The company is also designating CSR leaders and champions across the company to increase awareness and employee engagement in all of the company’s CSR and community efforts. These committed employees play a leadership role as Hershey as it looks to accomplish its goals and continue making a difference in the community.

One way the company aims to broaden community engagement is to activate and strengthen community relations programs in the communities where it has wholly owned manufacturing facilities and identify CSR advocates at all major international facilities. Hershey will also strive to increase employee participation in the corporate United Way Campaign from the 2009 baseline of 36% to 53% by 2015. The company also is developing a Children’s Miracle Network North American council to increase support among employees for this charitable cause.

For Hershey, making communities better is a fundamental aspect of its business.

For more information on Hershey CSR progress and programs, read Hershey’s CSR reports at: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/social-responsibility/csr-report.aspx