Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., announced that it has granted funds to 107 nonprofits in support of projects that positively impact the communities the Cooperative calls home. This year’s Ocean Spray Community Fund recipient organizations hail from communities where Farmer-Owners and colleagues work and live, including Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and British Columbia, Canada, and represent causes, including sustainable agriculture, STEM education, and hunger relief.
“The Ocean Spray Community Fund is directly tied to our purpose: connecting our farms to families for a better life,” said Kellyanne Dignan, Director, Global Corporate Affairs for Ocean Spray. “Each of these grants is an investment in organizations and people in our communities who join us in living this purpose and improving the places that we call home.”
Ocean Spray established its Community Fund in 2016 to directly support nonprofit organizations in communities where it operates. Since then, the Cooperative has distributed grants up to $5,000 each year, helping more than 200 nonprofits to date. Completed 2017 projects include building a community park and playground in Wisconsin, providing produce for a kitchen that serves New Jersey’s homeless, repairing old homes for those in need in Philadelphia, and purchasing a computer for job searches at a men’s home in Massachusetts.
“As cranberry growers, we are deeply rooted in our communities, so we understand the value of building safer, healthier places to farm, work and live,” shared Ocean Spray Farmer-Owner Heidi Slinkman of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. “The Ocean Spray Community Fund is the perfect extension of our commitment to community well-being.”
Heidi referred one local nonprofit that is close to her heart – United Way of South Wood & Adams Counties Women United – to apply for a grant to fund its program promoting literacy among children ages 0-5. Ocean Spray provided a grant to the program to build personal libraries for children to encourage a love of reading at a young age.
“We are honored to receive an Ocean Spray Community Fund grant as we partner with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to deliver literacy opportunities to local children before they enter school,” shared Tari Jahns, Chief Executive Officer of United Way of South Wood & Adams Counties. “As part of a cranberry-growing community, we are grateful for the Cooperative’s support through the Community Fund, as well as Farmer-Owners’ and their employees’ time and energy towards our initiatives.”
In addition to its Community Fund, Ocean Spray fosters employees’ donations to charities of their choice through its Employee Matching Gift Program and offers Employee Volunteer Days to take time out of work to contribute to causes that are important to them. The Cooperative is also involved in community events throughout its regions and supports organizations that aid families and communities in times of critical need through blood drives, disaster relief, and other forms of assistance. Check out their website to learn more about the application process.