MINYARD'S COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Liz Minyard is a big believer in connecting with consumers through community activities. She and sister Gretchen Minyard Williams, who share the titles of co-chairman and co-chief executive officer, oversee a host of good works programs that carry on the company's tradition of giving back to its communities. Following are some ongoing efforts:HUNGER PROGRAMS: Liz Minyard is one of the founding members

Liz Minyard is a big believer in connecting with consumers through community activities. She and sister Gretchen Minyard Williams, who share the titles of co-chairman and co-chief executive officer, oversee a host of good works programs that carry on the company's tradition of giving back to its communities. Following are some ongoing efforts:

HUNGER PROGRAMS: Liz Minyard is one of the founding members of the North Texas Food Bank, and the company has been a strong supporter of hunger programs. Minyard's annual "Check Out Hunger" initiative collected about 75% of the more than $100,000 donated to Dallas and Tarrant County food banks by grocery stores last year. Minyard also sponsors an annual food and toy drive at Christmas and Thanksgiving to benefit food banks.

LEUKEMIA CURE: Liz and Gretchen decided to honor the memory of their father Buddy in 1993 by launching an annual "Minyard Buddy Run" fund-raiser to battle leukemia. Buddy, whose wife died of the disease, had founded the Leukemia Association of North Central Texas. As of last year the run had donated about $1.6 million to that association. This year the race will be replaced by a coupon donation campaign for leukemia that has the potential to exceed proceeds generated by the run.

EDUCATION EFFORTS: An annual "First Class Teacher" program has provided more than $780,000 to local teachers and schools in its 11-year-history. Every week for 32 weeks a teacher and his or her school are named "First Class Teacher of the Week," and each receives $1,000 cash. The teacher is interviewed by a local radio station and his or her picture and story are featured in the Dallas Morning News. This year Minyard will also award an automobile to one of the winners.

COMMUNITY CHARITY DRIVES: Minyard has been a dedicated supporter of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and Liz Minyard is chairman of that organization's board. Last year Liz ran the local donation drive that collected more than $50.5 million. The Minyard United Way employee campaign collected $257,000 last year, the largest in the company's history.