Food Lion is donating $500,000 in additional funding to support community groups and other organizations that foster racial equality and justice.
The Salisbury, N.C.-based supermarket chain said Monday that the donation augments the more than $1 million annually that it already directs to community partnerships supporting racial equality.
All funding will be earmarked for initiatives promoting equality and social justice, including scholarships and internships for Black and African-American students, education and social engagement in the Black and African-American community, census participation and voter registration, as well as development of diverse suppliers, education for children on civil rights, police community relations, and virtual town halls and community engagement series, according to Food Lion.
“Our value of care is at the center of everything we do, from how we run our business to how we engage with associates and customers to how we nourish our communities,” Food Lion President Meg Ham said in a statement. “Because we believe there is no place for systemic racism in our world, we are committed to doing our part to support racial equality inside our organization and inside our communities.
“We are holding ourselves accountable for making lasting change, and together with our community partners, we are hopeful that we can create a better future for all,” she added.
Among the recipients of Food Lion’s funding, including multiple chapters of some organizations, are the 100 Black Men of America, Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Councils, International Civil Rights Center & Museum, NAACP, NC Institute of Minority Economic Development, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (Charlotte, N.C.) and Urban League of Central Carolinas.
Food Lion noted that the latest funding supports existing partnerships with these organizations, including some for more than three decades.
“Our partnership with Food Lion is built on a shared vision of a fair world, free of racial discrimination and injustice. With this generous gift from Food Lion, the Virginia State Conference NAACP will continue to expand its efforts with regard to civic engagement, voter registration and criminal justice reforms,” said Robert Barnette, president of the Virginia State Conference NAACP. “Further, we will be able to use these resources to enhance the work of our youth and college division to ensure the readiness of the next generation of leaders.”
Racial equality and justice issues also are being addressed within Food Lion. The retailer said that, since June, leaders and associates have engaged in discussions companywide about racial disparities, ranging from small group talks to larger group “Courageous Conversations” hosted by Food Lion’s business resource groups to promote dialogue and understanding around race relations. Food Lion added that it also has allocated funding to enhance new-hire onboarding and orientation and promote learning and development for associates in the areas of racial equity and social justice.
Food Lion said its community investment is part of a $5 million commitment by parent company Ahold Delhaize USA to further racial justice and equality. Overall, Food Lion operates more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states has over 77,000 employees.