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Scholarships Help Foster Leadership, Drive Diversity, Promote Inclusion

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Greg Ferrara

Last updated on March 13th, 2023 at 10:47 am

NGA is committed to nurturing the independent grocery industry’s next generation of leadership. Under the direction of the NGA Foundation, our career-development initiatives start with college-age people, include store-level associates and management and extend up through the executive level.

By the time of this publication, we will have announced the winner of our annual Student Case Study Competition at the 2023 NGA Show. College-level teams present business plans for real-life challenges, evaluated by panels of industry leaders.

Hosting these teams of bright, young go-getters at the NGA Show, where they can network with industry mentors, is just one of the ways the association supports the next generation as we help position independent grocers as employers of choice for college students.

The NGA Foundation is accepting applications for a range of scholarships designed to assist career-minded students along their journey. Appropriately, since we’re celebrating Women’s History Month in March, several of the scholarships are designed to promote diversity and inclusion in the grocery industry.

Women Grocers of America, which operates under the NGA Foundation, offers the Mary Macey Scholarship. Named in honor of WGA’s first president, this scholarship is awarded annually to promising college students pursuing careers in the independent grocery industry, with an emphasis on women in the industry.

In addition, Ecolab – NGA’s food safety partner – sponsors the Women in Grocery Scholarship, while the Della Noce Family Industry Diversity Scholarship is awarded annually to a woman or person of color to encourage greater diversity within the industry.

These are just a few of the scholarships available to budding entrepreneurs and others setting their sights on a career of serving their communities as a part of independent grocery. Since 1990, NGA and its affiliates have awarded more than $1 million in scholarships, providing a critical investment in our future leaders. 

Scholarships are available to rising college freshmen through postgraduate studies. Applicants must be enrolled at a four-year institution and majoring in business, food management, accounting, human resources, IT or other areas relevant to the grocery industry. 

While not required, experience in grocery is a plus. In fact, many past scholarship recipients started working for a grocer in their teens, either at a local store or sometimes in the family business. The application period runs through April 15. 

And for those looking to be a part of the effort to enrich our industry’s future, consider funding a legacy scholarship. Established in the name of a person or organization, these scholarships start at $1,000 plus an annual administration fee.

Meanwhile, in honor of Women’s History Month, consider joining WGA’s Executive Female Leaders Network. The group is designed for female leaders in independent grocery.

The network’s twice-annual meetings are designed for networking, exchanging ideas, problem solving, sharing experiences and overall personal and business growth for women at retail, wholesale, supplier, manufacturer and vendor companies in independent grocery. 

About the author

Greg Ferrara

President and CEO of NGA

Greg Ferrara is the President and CEO of NGA. The National Grocers Association is the trade association representing the U.S. independent community supermarket industry. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers.

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