DALLAS, TEXAS – May 1, 2012 – Last night, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation hosted its inaugural Industry Leadership Dinner, raising $685,000 through the support of its food retailer members, suppliers and esteemed industry partners, and embarked on a program to enhance its scope to encompass wellness programs.
“FMI Foundation’s renewed energy in pivotal industry areas, such as food safety, must be maintained; it also undergirds initiatives that help guide emerging areas of interest such as nutrition and health,” FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin, said. “We are grateful for Hy-Vee’s Ric Jurgens’ leadership as the Chairman of the FMI Foundation, and his work keeping it focused on traditional industry needs, evidenced in funding much-needed listeria research, but also guiding the Foundation Board of Trustees to broaden the scope of its vision and embrace a wider range of issues.”
Recent Foundation projects range from the immediately utilitarian – underwriting the printing of Meat Nutri-Facts posters to keep FMI member companies compliant with USDA regulations – to those providing unlimited societal benefit – such as supporting “Common Threads,” which offers hands-on cooking classes for children from low income families. The Foundation continues to amplify its funding power by forming strategic partnerships and supporting innovative projects like the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Fight BAC!® program.
Catherine Polley, executive director of the FMI Foundation and vice president of health and wellness programs at FMI, said, “Now, moving forward with a new strategic direction and a platform authored by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the FMI Foundation will enhance historically successful food safety programs, while expanding its scope of support and operations in health and nutrition.”
“We thank those who, years ago, not only recognized the need for a forward thinking industry Foundation, but dug deep, providing the actual funds to get it established,” Hy-Vee CEO Ric Jurgens said, who will retire from his chairman post in June. “We are also grateful to those who contributed to this year’s event in support of Foundation efforts.”
Sarasin remarked, “FMI is in the final few months of the three-year strategic plan initiated soon after I arrived. This, of course, means we are in the process of creating our next three to five-year strategic plan and I can assure you that part of that strategy includes an enhanced role of the FMI Foundation.”
The Foundation’s next fundraiser and gala will be held January 21, 2013, at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz., coinciding with the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference. The Foundation’s annual report will be available soon on its website.