NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charitable donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
Altria Group Inc.
Altria made an initial commitment of $5 million to address systemic racism faced by Black Americans and advance social economic equity. These funds will be used to support national and local organizations working across the United States and in the company's operating communities, as well as to provide immediate support to small businesses in communities impacted by recent vandalism. This commitment is incremental to Altria's planned 2020 corporate giving.
"These are difficult times, and we must find ways to embrace our differences, address underlying systemic issues and move forward as a country," said Altria CEO Billy Gifford. "We know we don't have all the answers, but we will learn by listening to our diverse colleagues, community members and others as we seek progress within our company and the places we call home."
Other moves include:
- Launching a month-long employee giving campaign which will match on a two-for-one basis all employee donations. Recipient organizations will be selected by Unifi, Altria's Black Employee Resource Group (ERG) and other ERGs.
- Kicking off a company-wide paid "Day of Healing" on Juneteenth (June 19) to allow employees time for personal reflection and healing.
- Voicing support for removing confederate monuments in its hometown of Richmond, Va., once the Capital of the Confederacy.
EG Group entered a nationwide partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to drive funding for life-saving programs and service provided by ACS that has generated $252,394 in charitable donations.
Throughout the month of March, guests of all EG Group convenience store locations across the nation were able to make a donation to support the critical resources provided by the American Cancer Society. Brands operated by EG Group include Certified Oil, Cumberland Farms, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf 'n Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill.
"This fundraising effort could not have been accomplished without our dedicated team members and loyal guests," said EG America President George Fournier. "We thank our guests for their incredible generosity in helping raise over a quarter million dollars for such an important cause."
The c-store retailer also launched a national campaign to raise funds for Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Beginning June 24 and through the month of July, store employees at Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf 'N Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill will ask customers to donate an amount of their choosing to DAV during checkout. EG’s goal is to raise more than $250,000.
Additionally, during the campaign, the stores will offer a free cup of coffee to service members and veterans as a "thank you" for their sacrifices.
"We know many of our team members and guests are veterans and believe it is important to recognize and give back to those who have served our country," Fournier said. "Partnering with DAV gives our store teams a collective purpose and allows them to connect with the communities where they live and work in a meaningful way."
Gate Petroleum Co.
The Gate Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Gate Petroleum, raised $50,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). The funds were raised in GATE's 70 convenience stores across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina as part of the company's semiannual paper icon campaign.
From April 1-30, customers had the opportunity to donate $1 and sign their name on a BBBS paper icon that was displayed in the Gate store. Funds were allocated to local BBBS affiliates throughout the regions where Gate stores are located and the funds were raised.
"We are thankful to all the Gate customers who generously donated to our campaign to support Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Kathy Brady, executive director of the Gate Foundation. "People are generous even in times of crisis, and now is the time that nonprofit groups need us the most. We're honored to contribute to an organization that helps our most vulnerable youth have a brighter future."
GPM Investments LLC
GPM Investments LLC and its portfolio of convenience store brands with more than 1,250 company-operated locations across 23 states is teaming up with Feeding America to help fight hunger across the country.
"Unemployment continues to be a problem, and many people are faced with the stress of figuring out where their next meal will come from," CEO Arie Kotler said. "I am proud that our more than 10,000 dedicated store associates and our millions of customers will raise money to help fight hunger in their communities."
From July 15 to Sept. 8, GPM Investments associates across all company-operated locations will sell Feeding America pinups for $1. Customers will also have the opportunity to round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar or just make a donation. GPM is also partnering with its supplier community and raising additional dollars through their generosity. All proceeds will remain in the local communities in which they were raised.
In celebration of National Dairy Month (June), Kwik Trip partnered with State Farm Insurance agents in Wisconsin to provide milk to families in need.
State Farm agents throughout the state are providing nearly 54,000 vouchers for free milk, which can be redeemed at any Wisconsin Kwik Trip location through July 16. Together, State Farm and Kwik Trip are pouring more than $120,000 into the effort.
"Part of our mission at Kwik Trip is to make a difference in the lives of others. Teaming up with State Farm helps our communities and our local dairy farmers in a special way in these challenging times," said Kwik Trip Director of Public Relations John McHugh.
Love's Travel Stops
Love's is donating $125,000 to Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families.
Customers can increase the donation amount by purchasing a special edition Operation Homefront/Love's 24-ounce mug for $7.99. The mugs can be purchased at any Love's Travel Stop beginning July 1 while supplies last. For each mug purchased, Love's will donate an additional $2 to Operation Homefront.
"As a company that understands the value military men and women bring to work every day, we're proud to support Operation Homefront and its mission," said Jenny Love Meyer, executive vice president and chief culture officer of Love's. "Military families have sacrificed more than most can imagine so we're honored — along with our customers — to help these families thrive."
Murphy USA entered a national cause marketing partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Central to this agreement, the c-store retailer will launch a multiple-phase cause campaign across their nearly 1,500 locations in 26 states, the first of which began April 1 and ran through May 5. Phase 2 will begin Aug. 5.
During the campaign, customers can choose to make a monetary contribution of $1, $2 or $5, or round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount at checkout. The funds raised during this campaign will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs in the same communities served by Murphy USA locations.
"Giving back is part of our broader mission and commitment to our team members and customers. We are passionate about providing opportunities for the next generation," said Andrew Clyde, President and CEO of Murphy USA. "That's why we are proud to be a national partner of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, supporting clubs in the areas where we operate through our ‘Great Futures Fueled Here’ campaign. Our partnership will help ensure that Boys & Girls Clubs of America have the funds necessary to provide youth in the communities we serve the essential tools for cultivating a successful future."
Rutter’s is supporting the Central Pennsylvania Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) with $50,000 in funding for type 1 diabetes research.
Additionally, each year JDRF selects an honoree who exemplifies a deep commitment to public service and a desire to help others. This year it selected Scott Hartman, Rutter’s president and CEO, as its 2020 Honoree.
"We're so glad that we’re able to help out this great foundation during a difficult time for our communities," said Hartman. "I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of everyone at Rutter's. Through Rutter's Children’s Charities, we will continue our commitment of giving back to benefit children in our communities."
Additionally, the Pennsylvania-based retailer donated $1,000 in gift cards to the Centre County YMCA since March. In conjunction with this, Australian food company and Rutter's partner Four 'N Twenty donated 180 cases of their Beef and Cheese Travellers.
With the combined donation, the Centre County YMCA was able to stock its Travelin' Table mobile feeding unit to help feed local kids.
"Our company understands the importance of providing for our communities, especially during these difficult times," Hartman said. "We're fortunate to be able to help these children and have great partners willing to step up too."
The Altoona, Pa.-based retailer kicked off its annual month of in-store fundraising to support Sheetz For the Kidz, an employee-driven charity support underprivileged children.
With 100 percent of all donations directly supporting local children, Sheetz For the Kidz provides children in need the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with gifts such as new toys, clothes and other basic needs. As part of this effort, Sheetz employees shop, wrap and host holiday parties for the children and their families. Last year, more than $1.7 million was distributed, making the holiday season brighter for more than 9,700 children in the six states Sheetz operates.
In partnership with Make-A-Wish, funds raised during the campaign also sponsor wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The charity sponsors one child per Sheetz operating district, totaling 55 children this year.
Additionally, to broaden the connection to the communities it serves, Sheetz For the Kidz recently donated $620,000 to Feeding America to provide food to children in need. This commitment equates to approximately 10,000 meals per store.
Customers can support Sheetz For the Kidz throughout the year by:
- Purchasing a Sheetz For the Kidz water, with 25 cents from each bottle directly supporting the charity
- Shopping on AmazonSmile and select "Sheetz For the Kidz" as the charity of their choice. Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of their purchases to the charity.
- Donating online
Speedway was recently recognized by Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals as the Corporate Partner of the Year for 2019 for its outstanding partnership and commitment to supporting the network of member children's hospitals.
The Corporate Partner of the Year award recognizes an outstanding organization that has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to CMN Hospitals or Foundations through innovative fundraising and awareness initiatives.
"Speedway really is fueling miracles," said Teri Nestel, interim president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. "The company saw a remarkable 25 percent fundraising increase in 2019 to $11.8 million thanks to some innovative campaigns like the coloring book, growth in their annual golf tournament and the launch of the pin pad donation ask."
Speedway's partnership with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals began in 1991 and has since raised more than $121 million for the children’s charity through various fundraising activities.
The retailer's recent expansion to the West Coast allowed it to support 17 new CMN Hospitals, and now broadens the reach of their impact to a total of 80 CMN Hospitals across America.