Cargill Contributes Record $13 million to United Way

Feb 22, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Left to right: Rae Lesmeister, Vice president of organization effectiveness, learning and development; Kim Lattu, Corporate vice president and controller; John Geisler, Corporate vice president

Execs don tie dye, bop to the Beach Boys to spur giving

Contact: Jackie Renner, 952-742-0095, [email protected] 

It’s not often one sees corporate executives dressed in tie dye dancing to Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys. But everything was groovy at Cargill after the company set a 1960s campaign theme in recognition of its 60th anniversary of partnering with United Way. The good vibes paid off with the company and its 48,000 North American employees contributing $13 million to United Way- $600,000 more than last year.

”There aren’t many opportunities in business to do goofy things, while at the same time benefitting a good cause,” said Jenny Verner, Cargill Specialty Canola Oils business unit president and 2010-2011 United Way campaign chair. “Having fun in these campaigns engages everyone and helped us generate record contributions for the sixth straight year. We’re very proud of our employees’ dedication to helping those in need.”

Cargill and its employees consistently rank in the top 30 campaigns across the United States.

“The ability to customize these campaigns to touch people’s passions is a key to their success,” said Verner. “Cargill employees give generously because they understand we all win when families have enough to eat, children succeed in school and people have good health.”

Visitors would be hard pressed to walk into any of the 210 participating Cargill facilities from June through December and not know a United Way campaign was taking place. For instance, in this year’s “Ranch Hand Challenge,” Cargill Animal Nutrition employees at the company’s Hopkins, Minn., location raced around barrels on stick ponies, threw cow pies (really brown bean bags) and entered a simulated cow-milking contest. The net result: $5,800 raised, the top result in a single event, for food, shelter and essential services for people in need.

“Cargill and its employees continue to raise the bar in terms of generosity and commitment to community. Their leadership over the past year has been remarkable,” said Brian Gallagher, president and chief executive officer of United Way Worldwide. “Our longstanding partnership has allowed us to do extraordinary things. Together, we’re creating opportunities for a better life and brighter future for everyone.”

Small Cargill locations often set an example for the entire company. Managers at the Cargill Corn Milling terminal in Lynwood, Calif., smoked ribs for their campaign kick-off and were brave participants in a closing pie throwing contest. Every one of the 13 employees at the site contributed, raising nearly $10,000.

United Way says Cargill is unique in offering the opportunity for employee donations to be matched both from corporate headquarters and the local business unit. Since 2000, the company and its employees have contributed more than $88.6 million.

About Cargill Community Giving

Cargill gives back to communities by contributing 2 percent of its global consolidated pre-tax earnings (based on a three-year trailing average). Cargill donated $57.5 million in 54 countries during its 2010 fiscal year. Cargill provides support to organizations, projects and programs that fall in three focus areas: nutrition and health; education; and environmental stewardship.

About Cargill

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit

About United Way

United Way is a worldwide network in 40 countries and territories, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way, please visit:

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