Last updated on August 16th, 2023 at 01:07 pm
The support upon which something rests. Justification or reason. An underlying basis or principle.
These are among the dictionary definitions of “foundation.” And they’re all appropriate descriptions for the NGA Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Grocers Association that supports recruiting, retention and leadership development efforts for the future of the independent community grocer.
The NGA Foundation in large part relies upon the support of NGA members, who have a keen interest in making the industry’s future bright, profitable and sustainable. So, at a time when our industry’s leaders are focused on the present-day challenges of inflation, supply chain pressures and other aspects associated with serving their communities, it’s important to take a step back and assess how they can support initiatives designed to bolster the health of industry beyond the horizon.
Albert Camus wrote, “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present,” and in large part that’s true, as the support we lend and the commitments we make to emerging leaders will pay dividends when that next generation of visionaries leads our industry to even greater levels of success and service.
To that end, NGA and the NGA Foundation are spearheading a campaign, Foundation Awareness Week, from July 10-14 to recognize the support that the foundation offers the industry’s future.
Through a weeklong series of member communications and social media outreach, the campaign will shine a brighter light on the NGA Foundation’s five programmatic pillars: diversity and inclusion, industry promotion, student programs, leadership development and the foundation’s technical assistance work.
We are honored to have a gathering of ambassadors poised to extol the virtues of the NGA Foundation – industry leaders, educators, attendees of our Executive Leadership Development Program, college students who have advanced their industry education with foundation scholarships and participation in the annual Student Case Study Competition, retailers who have received technical assistance for accepting online SNAP or nutrition incentive programs.
The messages supporting the foundation’s work are telling and profound. Oforiwaa Pee Agyei-Boakye, 2022 recipient of the Women Grocers of America scholarship, told us: “This scholarship will equip me to engage in my work while providing me with opportunities to explore areas in the grocery industry. It will deepen my knowledge in the independent grocery industry, particularly sharpening my understanding of the forces shaping transportation accessibility and supply chain distribution.”
Drew Saluga, 2022 recipient of the Ronnie Horton Legacy Scholarship, said: “It’s a great feeling to know that NGA believes in me and my ability to have an impact in the grocery business enough to invest in me and my education. Earning this scholarship will allow me to better serve the company I work for and the communities we serve.”
Maggie Rose Flaherty, 2022 recipient of the Mondelēz International Legacy Scholarship, shared: “I aim to draw on my educational experiences to create and effectuate meaningful changes in the food industry and champion the food sector’s philanthropic endeavors in local communities.”
These comments and many others we’ve received demonstrate the impact that NGA Foundation programs are having on the enrichment of individuals committed to driving our industry forward. And it’s why member support, both monetary as well as with time spent as mentors to our rising leaders, is so important to our future.
We hope you’ll take note of these awareness messages, consider their significance and share them on your social media channels. And if you’ve personally been impacted by NGA Foundation programs or folks who’ve benefited from them, we hope you’ll share those stories, too.
It’s too easy to dismiss our industry as one that just sells food. We offer guidance to students just starting on their careers, clarity to emerging leaders seeking a vision, and support to our communities who make our businesses a success.
In describing an industry at the heart of the community, Jorda Harlow, a member of Portland State University’s 2023 Student Case Study Competition team, perhaps said it best when recounting her experience: “All of these people are passionate about not just groceries and technology and supply chain issues and sustainability problems, but they’re a group of people that value humanity.”