Apr 11, 2013 • By

General Mills pledges another $1 million to fight hunger in Minnesota

General Mills has a long history of fighting hunger in Minnesota and around the world.

Today, along with Hunger-Free Minnesota, we hosted a Hunger Impact Exchange at our headquarters in Minneapolis. It was aimed at gathering together local business leaders and nonprofits from throughout our home state to showcase ways communities can use an innovative data analysis tool – called “Community Close-Up” – to help close Minnesota’s missing meal gap.

It was inspiring to see so many organizations (from left to right, in the photo above, are General Mill’s Ken Powell, Cargill’s Scott Portnoy, UnitedHealthcare’s Jack Larsen, Boston Consulting Group’s Pete Lawyer and Marketplace Money’s Chris Farrell) come together in support of a shared cause, and to be able to rally around new research that can help us all be more targeted in our approach to fighting hunger.

During the event, Hunger-Free Minnesota – whose goal is to add 100 million meals for hungry children and adults in Minnesota by 2015 – reported that it has already added 36.5 million meals to the state’s hunger-relief system.

General Mills, a founding supporter and strategic partner of Hunger-Free Minnesota, pledged an additional $1 million to support Hunger-Free Minnesota.

In 2011, General Mills committed $1 million to expand existing programs and increase efficiencies within Minnesota’s emergency food system and child nutrition programs.

(Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills)

Today’s pledge builds upon this original commitment and will be used to support community partners as they leverage the Community Close-Up data and implement data-driven strategies that will help close Minnesota’s missing meal gap.

In this video clip from the event this morning, Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills, talks about how our employees are actively involved in various hunger initiatives supported by the company.

Part of Hunger-Free Minnesota’s success is due to innovative research conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During today’s event, BCG showcased a new data analysis tool communities can use to determine how many meals its hungriest residents are missing and in which census tracts they reside.

BCG’s Community Close-Up can provide valuable insight about how and where to target efforts, and how hunger-fighting organizations can collaborate. The interactive research tool is being made available to communities throughout the state so current and very local data can be used to pinpoint, test and measure hunger strategies.

(David Dayhoff, Boston Consulting Group)

Based on this new, strategic approach to fighting hunger, a grant program has been developed by Hunger-Free Minnesota and its partners. During today’s forum, five nonprofit organizations were awarded $50,000 to leverage Hunger-Free Minnesota’s new data analysis tool to address hunger in their communities.

In total, Hunger-Free Minnesota awarded 20 grants to organizations around the state to pilot the tool for their hunger-relief projects. A full list of grant recipients can be found at HungerFreeMN.org.

This grants program is being funded by General Mills, Cargill and UnitedHealth Group and totals more than $381,000.

Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, told us how his organization supports people in need.

The fact is, too many Minnesotans simply go hungry every day. I spoke with Ellie Lucas, chief campaign officer for Hunger-Free Minnesota, about why our fight against hunger is so urgent.

For more information about what General Mills is doing to fight hunger around the world, visit GeneralMills.com.