By: Jonathan Toms, Associate Manager of Charitable Initiatives, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
In June 2019, the United States achieved the lowest veteran unemployment rate since 2001 of 3.2 percent, an accomplishment that Smithfield Foods is proud to be a part of. As a company passionate about producing good food the right way, we know that our more than 1,700 veteran employees in the United States play a daily role in advancing our success. So much so, that we’ve committed to employing 4,000 veterans, 10% of our U.S. workforce, by 2020. We’re also proud to further opportunities for military veterans nationwide to succeed through our company’s charitable giving efforts because we’ve seen what veterans can do with the right tools in the right environment.
Through the efforts of the Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of our company, we’ve donated more than $3 million to veteran-related causes since 2013, forming partnerships with nonprofits that reflect our company’s social purpose. We’re proud to count The Global Good Fund as one of our top partners, working with high-potential leaders to affect change on a global scale for social good.
Our support of U.S. veterans doesn’t need an explanation—we simply recognize the debt of gratitude owed to those who dedicate their lives to protect our country. We’re passionate about ensuring our veterans have the resources for a smooth transition into civilian life—oftentimes a challenge that goes unrecognized. This issue encouraged us to look for a solution, and it’s why we teamed up with The Global Good Fund to initiate change.
Believing that military leadership traits translate well into business, Smithfield began our partnership with The Global Good Fund in 2018, sponsoring a cohort of veteran entrepreneurs through their customized leadership development program. This partnership provides veteran fellows with opportunities including networking with executive leaders, mentorship and resources and targeted financial capital to help them grow and scale their businesses.
During the program, we were thrilled to witness these veterans refine their leadership abilities, take advantage of new partnership and networking opportunities and grow their businesses—some more than doubling their end-of-year profits. This year, Smithfield announced the continuation of our support of The Global Good Fund to sponsor another cohort of veteran fellows through this innovative program.
As a leading consumer packaged goods and protein company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, we have employees across 44 U.S. states in communities from coast-to-coast. We understand first-hand the knowledge, skills, and work ethic that veterans bring to the workforce, and we’re committed to leading the call to empower not only the veterans we employ, but veterans across the nation in every industry.
Our partnership with The Global Good Fund enables us to support our nation’s veterans as they make the difficult transition from military service to civilian life, but it also serves as an investment in the lives of those who can truly impact social good through the ripple effect. As these entrepreneurs grow their businesses, they will in turn create meaningful career opportunities for other veterans. Smithfield Foods recognizes the service and sacrifice that these men and women have given to our country, and we are proud to do our part to welcome them home.