Tyson Foods Pledges More Than $1M to United Way Chapters

Tyson Foods’ offices and operations in northwest Arkansas and in the metro Sioux City, Iowa area together pledged more than $1.03 million for two chapters of United Way during recent fundraising campaigns.

“Our first cultural tenet at Tyson is, ‘We care about each other,’” said Bernard Leonard, group VP of foodservice at Tyson and chair of the United Way campaign for northwest Arkansas. “I’m proud to say our team members have shown they care for each other many times during the United Way capital campaign this year.”

Tyson has encouraged its team members to contribute to United Way for many years and the company matches 25 percent of each employee’s voluntary contributions. Tyson’s gifts will help United Way carry out its work of mobilizing resources to effectively meet needs around education, financial stability and health in northwest Arkansas and in Siouxland, which consists of the southeast corner of South Dakota, the northeast corner of Nebraska and northwest Iowa.

A total of $670,000 in contributions and pledges to the recent campaign were made by Tyson team members in Benton, Madison and Washington counties in northwest Arkansas and McDonald County in southwest Missouri. The total was 34 percent higher than in 2010. The Northwest Arkansas chapter’s total 2010 grants, allocations and expenses to run programs that directly impact the communities in its coverage area were valued at more than $3 million.

“We have been blown away by Tyson’s generosity, participation and the spirit exhibited this year in this campaign,” said Mike Williams, VP of resource development for United Way of Northwest Arkansas. “The company’s gifts to United Way are empowering us to help thousands of people in Northwest Arkansas who are heading into the holidays with no hope.”

Tyson Fresh Meats -- which is headquartered in Dakota Dunes, S.D., and has offices and a plant in Dakota City, Neb. – pledged a total of $360,550 to United Way of Siouxland. More than 1,100 team members increased their individual voluntary contributions from the previous year. The Siouxland chapter’s total 2010-11 grants, allocations and in-kind gifts given back into its community service area were valued at more than $2.54 million.

“The fact that more than $1 million is going back into our corporate communities to create positive change in peoples’ lives is one of the things that makes this a great company,” said Kelly Cherkas, production planner and chair of the United Way campaign for Tyson Fresh Meats. “We truly are making a difference.”

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