2018 Sustainability Report

Community Impact

Building strong communities starts at home where our team members live, work and play. 

Understanding Our Local Community Impacts

We own and operate facilities in more than 100 communities across the U.S. Most of our communities are in rural areas where, in many cases, Tyson Foods is the largest employer. We are responsible for playing a role in giving back to these communities and ensuring our neighbors and team members have opportunities to grow, learn and thrive. 

The CSR team utilizes the company’s resources, expertise and talent to be a good employer for Tyson team members, an engaged neighbor within our communities and a valuable partner to our stakeholders.

Our efforts are focused where we can uniquely add value, take advantage of our strengths, and generate the most impact from both business and social perspectives. Specifically, CSR works to:

  • Address hunger insecurity by expanding access to protein.
  • Improve the stability of hourly team members and their families, which in turn, stabilizes plant operations.
  • Support market access and growth for Tyson Foods and its subsidiaries.
  • Improve quality of life in the communities where we operate.

Community Social Baseline Assessments

To better serve our communities, we want to understand the diverse needs and makeup of our team members and communities. Since 2017, we’ve conducted independent community social baseline assessments of our operations in over 20 Tyson Foods plant communities. The assessments examined the impacts and risks in the communities where we do business, and how we might be a better neighbor and employer of choice.

We interviewed hourly team members, management staff and community stakeholders to identify the most significant areas of concern. We noted a clear, interdependent relationship between housing, transportation and child care and encouraged careful assessment of primary and secondary causes for concern. The assessments revealed many challenges that our team members face.

The following are the primary challenges ranked in order of opportunity and importance to the company:

Study participants agreed and endorsed two proposals for next steps in building effective social challenge management approaches, including:

  • Conducting a Feasibility Assessment and Pilot Project: In October 2018, we launched an exploratory pilot in Humboldt, Tennessee, to determine the range of solutions and their associated costs/benefits for addressing these social risks and impacts – especially housing and child care, with a focus on the interrelationship between transportation, housing and child care. The process will result in a comprehensive recommendation for addressing the risk/challenge. See the sidebar “Investing in Our Humboldt Community” for more information.
  • Launching a Voluntary Assessment Program: In October 2018, we launched a social risk/impact assessment program where plants can voluntarily request an assessment of their community risks and impacts. This program focuses on communities where challenges are estimated to be significant.

To further address the concerns revealed by the social impact assessment, we decided to take a new approach to our community investments and focused on making investments to mitigate the social challenges that we share with the communities in which we operate. Our investments in the Humboldt community for health care access and education are two examples of how this approach came to life in 2018.

housing assessment group

Community leaders, elected officials, and Tyson managers are working closely to find solutions to housing and child care issues in Humboldt, Tennessee.

Addressing Child Care and Housing

Research to Find Solutions

Tyson will build and open a new poultry complex in Humboldt, Tennessee that will employ an estimated 1,500 people. Two critical and related factors with the plant’s success are being able to attract and retain a qualified workforce from the available pool of residents. Tyson and community stakeholders believe the area has a shortage of available and affordable childcare providers, which will limit the number of residents available for work. Insufficient childcare facilities are a disincentive to employee retention.

Another social challenge in Humboldt is the shortage of available and affordable housing units near the plant that may limit the number of residents available for work. Insufficient housing facilities increase the costs of transportation and serve as an additional disincentive to employee retention.

In 2018, we performed a community impact assessment in Humboldt, which led us to further explore a housing and childcare study. We awarded a $115,000 grant to the University of Tennessee to oversee applied research focused on addressing child care and housing challenges. The overall goal of this research is to assess the childcare and housing shortage and develop three scenarios for how the company and the community can jointly solve the matter.

Browsing Internet

A Shift to Social Investment

Our corporate responsibility programming reflects a new vision based on two key principles:

  1. Ensuring initiatives are focused on delivering a quantifiable social or economic “return” for the investment of time, energy and money
  2. Building win-win strategies 
    and partnerships

These guiding themes serve as pillars for how we develop and manage all we do, and nowhere is that more prevalent than with our grantmaking activities.

We seek to make strategic investments that will yield a positive social change to ensure all stakeholders benefit. 

To realize our corporate grantmaking strategy we have made several changes:

  • In partnership with community stakeholders, we developed an investment strategy based on the most important social risks facing the community and company: hunger relief and reducing the social challenges that cause instability in our hourly team members’ lives.
  • Tyson’s grant solicitation process is targeted to prioritize communities where we have a plant.
  • The grant solicitation process centers on “closed” invitations where we invite select nonprofits to respond to a request for proposals; however, we also have an “open” category where nonprofits can submit requests based on their interests.
  • All grant applicants must articulate a “Performance Target” – a quantifiable goal they seek to attain by using Tyson’s grant money, as well as information about how they will measure progress.
  • Tyson actively relies on an internal Advisory Committee to help make investment decisions and ensure transparency with spending practices.


Noteworthy Investments in Hunger Relief

Last year, Tyson made 46 grant awards to reduce hunger, spending over $2.4 million. Our goals were twofold: 

  • To provide short-term hunger relief by supporting nonprofits that buy and distribute food monthly via mobile pantries. Here we invested in 12 projects that covered 11 states. Tyson is working to increase the quantity and quality of food provided by specifying a minimum number of people to be served monthly, and requiring that 75 percent of the food provided be comprised of fresh/frozen vegetables, fresh/frozen fruits and fresh/canned animal-based protein.
  • To build the physical infrastructure of food banks to store, refrigerate and deliver food throughout a region. Here we made eight investments across six states. One interesting example can be seen with our investment in the Northeast Iowa Food Bank’s “cold repacking room,” where they expect to increase their ability to distribute a total of 240,000 pounds of protein while generating an additional $60,000 in revenue.
By investing in a range of community partners, we’re taking the next step toward reaching our goal of recruiting, retaining and engaging the most diverse and skilled group of team members possible.
Building Community Connections, Together

Support for New Immigrants

Helping immigrants to the U.S. feel welcome while providing support to access the services they need to contribute and thrive in their new communities is a critical way Tyson gives back. In FY2018, we made a grant to EngageNWA, an organization that operates as part of the Northwest Arkansas Council, to enhance the region’s ability to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone who makes Northwest Arkansas home.  The grant will help the City of Springdale convene underrepresented residents to give input on the city’s future; teach residents about accessing and engaging with city services and leadership opportunities; develop content in multiple languages, including English, Spanish and Marshallese; and pair new arrivals to the region with mentors to help them connect to the community.

We are also collaborating with One Siouxland, a nonprofit in Sioux City, Iowa, to support  newcomers to the area, many of whom are immigrants. Between 2010 and 2015, immigrants accounted for more than 75 percent of Sioux City’s population growth.  Through a grant from Tyson, One Siouxland will hold 15 workshops in the region over the next year to help these new arrivals adapt, integrate and thrive in the community. 

Podium Speech

Noteworthy Investments in Nonprofit Support

Tyson Foods recognizes the significant role nonprofits play in contributing to a community’s overall quality of life. In fact, we invest a significant amount of our financial and technical resources in nonprofits to accelerate the development of their capacity to serve the community. We believe a healthy community has a vibrant nonprofit sector.

Yet, in an era of growing demand and shrinking resources, nonprofits are being asked to do more with less. A key challenge is meeting the immediate need for services while building strong, resilient organizations to sustain and grow their impact over time. Unfortunately, during times of scarcity, investments that ensure the livelihood of the organization (e.g., talent development, strategic planning, board governance improvements) are reduced. Tyson Foods wants to partner with select nonprofits to ensure that doesn’t happen

In FY2018, we provided $649,875 in grants to help nonprofit organizations across our footprint build their capacity to govern and become financially independent, funding 23 projects that assisted 20 distinct communities. Major initiatives included:

  • In rural America, Tyson funded 20 SCHOLARSHIPS for food banks to send their development officers to university philanthropy training programs.
  • College internships: A total of 60 COLLEGE STUDENTS in Northwest Arkansas, Siouxland and Chicago were provided an EIGHT-WEEK PAID SUMMER INTERNSHIP to assist community organizations with their work while gaining valuable professional experience with diverse social issues and careers in the nonprofit sector.
  • In Chicago, Forefront led a cluster of HUNGER RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS through the Impact Capacity Assessment Tool to better understand their organizational strengths and weaknesses, followed by a series of targeted training events.
  • In Northwest Arkansas, BoardSource conducted customized training for 19 NONPROFITS to enhance the leadership skills of board members while instilling improved governance practices.
  • In Siouxland, the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University directed a 10-MONTH CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAM FOR 12 NONPROFITS designed to help them implement best practices. Each organization completed a confidential organizational assessment that evaluated their operational practices in 10 key areas, including mission, technology, information technology and fund development.

In FY2018, we provided $649,875 in grants to help nonprofit organizations across our footprint build their capacity to govern and become financially independent, funding 23 projects that assisted 20 distinct communities.

sara and patient in clinic

To help immigrant team members and community members, Tyson made over $600,000 in grants to community health care providers in four states during FY2018.

Investing in Health Care Access & Education for Our Team Members

We also support programs that reduce the barriers to health care for our team members and the communities in which they live and work. Our goal is to improve the health of our hourly workers by partnering with local health care nonprofits to increase access. Given the nature of hourly jobs, employees are often undereducated, lack significant financial resources, may not speak English and are unfamiliar with the American health care system.

Collectively, these variables can undermine the long-term health of the employee and their family. When sickness or injury occurs, adverse consequences such as absenteeism, lost wages and debt place further burdens on an already vulnerable life. Health-related issues are one of several factors that can decrease a person’s quality of life and destabilize their employment.

To help immigrant team members and community members better access and understand health care services, Tyson made over $600,000 in grants to community health care providers in four states during FY2018. A donation to Northwest Arkansas-based providers aims to facilitate access to health literacy and care for Marshall Islander and Hispanic individuals. Materials and resources to be developed include educational training videos, cultural competency training events, community health worker training and diabetes self-management education.

We also hosted an oral health event in FY2018 in collaboration with the Ronald McDonald House Charities – Arkansas, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Hark and Arkansas, Children’s Hospitals. The event took place in Springdale, Arkansas and was available for all team members in the Northwest Arkansas area as well as the community-at-large. At approximately four plants and corporate offices, hundreds of people received a free dental assessment and cleaning along with referrals to community dentists.



Team Member Giving

Tyson team members join in our spirit of giving through donations and support of volunteer projects. In 2018, we incorporated matched giving into our employee giving model. Giving Together is our matched giving program, through which Tyson matches donations up to $1,000 per year per team member. Through the program, team members can donate directly to the charities and nonprofit organizations of their choice via our online giving platform. We also expanded the list of eligible organizations for the program, allowing team members to donate to K-12 schools, colleges and universities, among many other groups.