Louisville, Ky.—Now more than ever, citizens and employees are attuned to how companies prioritize and act upon their social commitments and responsibilities. With values that include making the world better and leading with smart, heart and courage, Louisville-based Yum! Brands is committed to making a positive impact in Kentucky — the historic home to KFC and the global headquarters of the world’s largest restaurant company.
“While our restaurants are in 145+ countries and territories around the world, real change always begins with making a positive impact in your own backyard,” said Jerilan Greene, Yum! Brands’ chief communications and public affairs officer. “Wherever we operate, we want to unlock potential in people and our communities. With our partners Dare to Care, Fund for the Arts and Metro United Way, the Yum! Brands Foundation serves up good in Kentucky, and we’re proud to support our employees who volunteer their time, talents and money to make our communities stronger.”
Recently, the Yum! Brands Foundation hosted 25 local nonprofit organization at its Gardiner Lane campus for the inaugural Nonprofit Networking Expo. Nearly 150 Yum! employees met with representatives from agencies across Kentuckiana, learning about specific opportunities to grow and apply their talents and skills for the benefit of the community.
“The nonprofits that attended our event were referred by about 20 employees who are already involved with them in some capacity, whether through personal experience, volunteering or board service,” said Andrea Whitney, executive director of the Yum! Brands Foundation and senior director of Yum! corporate communications and engagement. “Bringing the organizations together for the expo gave those employees a chance to share their passions with their coworkers and encourage others to join them in making a community impact.”
The Nonprofit Networking Expo was new to the 2019 lineup of Yum!’s Grow Yourself Week, a semi-annual series of personal and professional development courses that bolster employee development.
“Having multiple organizations on-site in one afternoon was a great use of time so I could speak with as many as I liked,” said Dee Bouchard, associate manager of benefits for Yum! Brands. “I can’t think of a better way to develop professionally and personally than to become involved in the community and make a difference.”
Leading with heart
As a new generation learns from an early age – through school curriculum, peers and social media – that a company’s actions often speak louder than its words, Yum! is actively finding ways to involve the entire family in philanthropic initiatives. In addition to offering family-oriented volunteer opportunities at the Nonprofit Networking Expo, Yum! will host a Saturday “warehouse day” this summer at Dare to Care so employees can include their family and friends in sorting and preparing items for distribution to hundreds of food banks in the area.
Nonprofits often experience challenges recruiting volunteers on weekdays, largely due to the number of professionals whose work commitments limit their philanthropic involvement to evening and weekend opportunities. In a nod to its focus on flexibility and problem-solving, Yum! offers employees two paid days off each year to volunteer at schools, nonprofits, churches or other charitable organizations.
“Yum! does a really good job of encouraging you and then doing its best to allow you to volunteer during standard work hours,” said Ted Marks, director for Yum! IT Shared Services. “If your company, like Yum!, is going to give you that opportunity, you have to take that leap and go out and spend the time.”
Because time isn’t the only way to support local nonprofits and many employees choose to make a difference financially, the Yum! Brands Foundation matches each employee’s charitable gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 annually and offers an additional match for employees serving on nonprofit boards.
“It’s very important to me and to the organizations I support that I can, in effect, double my impact,” said Jennifer Green, attorney and director in Yum!’s legal department.
Serving up good
As employees and consumers become increasingly conscious and intentional about where they live, work and spend money, companies are acting more mindfully with regard to how their own citizenship plays a role in those decisions. Yum! Brands and its Foundation are committed to supporting initiatives that serve up good everywhere they have a presence — starting right here in Kentucky.
The Yum! Brands Foundation supports three primary community organizations — Dare to Care, Fund for the Arts and Metro United Way — which act as connectors to numerous services and agencies throughout the region. Through these partnerships, Yum! brings volunteer and educational opportunities right to its doorstep, such as food and school supplies drives, preparing infant essentials kits for new parents, packaging personal care products for people experiencing homelessness and hosting onsite performances by arts organizations.