Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) employees are celebrating Tuesday, Dec. 3, known as “Giving Tuesday,” by highlighting work in each of its 10 distribution centers throughout the year to raise more than $75,000 for nonprofit and charitable organizations, with matches by AWG through the AWG Cares Employee Charitable Foundation.
Now in its second year, AWG Cares is a company supported, employee managed and community-focused nonprofit charitable organization. Its purpose is to help AWG and subsidiary employees support the charities they care about and to give back to the communities where employees work and live. The three main areas of focus are: disaster relief, medical research and hunger/homeless concerns.
“What makes AWG Cares unique as an employee charitable foundation is it’s ultimately structured in the spirit of the co-op. I’ve never worked for an organization where employees are empowered to support the charities they are passionate about,” said Heather Standifer, AWG’s director of sales AIM and chairperson of AWG Cares. “AWG employees are some of the most giving and supportive people I’ve ever worked with and AWG Cares has been a fantastic avenue to help them give and do more for those in need. It makes me proud to work for AWG.”
Contributing employees to AWG Cares are able to make grant requests on behalf of organizations they support. Twice a year, a 12-person companywide employee advisory committee meets to review the grant requests and donation totals.
AWG Cares also facilitated the second annual companywide Day of Service on Oct. 5. Employees from each of the 10 distribution centers volunteered their time to provide service and support for their communities. Service opportunities included numerous food banks, Habitat for Humanity, rescue missions, homeless shelters, children’s hospitals, school clean up, charity walks and others.
“Our employees are passionate about making an impact and through AWG Cares their giving has helped countless people in ways that couldn’t have been done individually,” said David Smith, AWG president and CEO. “Just like our co-op model, when many employees come together for a common purpose there really is no limit to what we can accomplish together.”
AWG Cares is utilizing Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to spread the word so that more employees can get involved and support the program with donations that can be made directly from paychecks or through an online portal. The Foundation continues to see growth year over year and anticipates raising more than $100,000 in 2020.
AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,000 member companies and more than 3,000 locations throughout 28 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions. The consolidated run-rate sales for AWG are approximately $9.7 billion.
In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, AWG also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, print and digital marketing services and health and beauty care, general merchandise, specialty/international foods and pharmaceutical products.