John Deere and the John Deere Foundation focus the power of its citizenship on delivering impactful, integrated programs that enable the people served to unlock economic, social, and environmental value throughout their lives in ways that are sustainable for all. John Deere and the John Deere Foundation are driven to create solutions that foster innovation through education, provide food for the rising global demand, and build economically strong neighborhoods in the communities we call home.
John Deere and the John Deere Foundation partners with United Way in France, Israel, Germany, and the United Kingdom in a long-term community development program focused on food security, education and mentorship for underserved children and youth. The partnership addresses several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Quality Education (SDG 4), and No Poverty (SDG 1).
Our partnership started in 2016 and was put at test by the global Covid-19 pandemic. The John Deere – United Way program is in high demand as communities are in need now more than ever. The European Union is experiencing a rising unemployment rate, especially in youth, where the rate is a staggering 17%. Prior to the crisis, children and youth were twice as likely as adults to be affected by extreme poverty, and now the pandemic exacerbates these vulnerabilities. Rising food insecurity, school closures, job loss, and lockdowns increase demand for United Way services. Vulnerable families struggle to access basic human services; young people, already affected by social challenges, face even more difficulties due to school closures and the shift to online education.
Despite these challenges and with the support from John Deere foundation, United Way continues to harness the power for good corporate engagement to address community needs and expand programs to wider underserved populations. John Deere engaged hundreds of employees and their families during the Day of Caring flagship event, organized annually by United Way. The volunteers packed food parcels that were donated to more than 130,000 people in need.
The partnership with John Deere is critical for expanding United Way’s ability to reach at-risk youth and connect schools to the labor market. The partnership is particularly vital in France where it supports the Youth Challenge project that was expanded to two new territories this year. Through youth mentorship and volunteering events, the John Deere program supported more than 400 children through tailored-made activities that developed their self-esteem and their soft-skills and allowed them to picture themselves into the future, through career awareness and orientation.
Innovation and creativity were at an all-time high this year as local United Ways worked quickly to adapt and respond to the COVID-19 crisis. PHINEO/ United Way in Germany and its partner, Joblinge, digitized a career development and youth mentorship program, to virtually reach underserved youth. By providing students with technology, students connected with John Deere mentors to discuss career development. Furthermore, funds were donated to local food banks to improve sanitary working conditions and food delivery services. As a result, the partnership with John Deere provided 12,000 people with food packages.
The ability to assess community needs and connect them with corporate goals is demonstrated in the work of Matan/ United Way Israel where the John Deere program engaged employees to participate in a Day of Caring event that addressed food insecurity in the area. Matan connects local grassroot organizations, such as Yad L’akehila that delivers food to those in need, and Latet that mobilizes local actors against poverty, to John Deere to expand their reach in the community. As a result, 400 families benefited from this collaborative initiative.
“I was very impressed with the activities of the local non-profit organization which helps and supports the most vulnerable among the local population” – Volunteer, Israel
United Way UK is experiencing a high demand for its services, particularly in area of food insecurity. With the support of John Deere Foundation and John Deere employees in Nottingham, United Way UK organized a Day of Caring event which provided food parcels to more than 400 people.
Last, but not least, John Deere’s flexibility and United Way’s strong connection to the nonprofit community in all four countries was instrumental during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly for those who were already underserved.
We are proud to be partners in supporting our communities!