Bringing It All Together

Fred Jones, Southern Heritage Classic

A key component of our hunger strategy at Tyson is to engage as many of our stakeholders as possible in the issue.  Not to belabor the obvious, but we’re a big company.  Some people see that as a bad thing.  We have a lot of stakeholders:  117,000 Team Members.  Scores of vendors and customers.  Community members in 90 operations locations.  Just to name a few.

The way we have it figured, if we can leverage our relationships with these stakeholders to get them engaged in the issue of hunger, well, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Each year, Tyson is a scholarship sponsor in some fall football classics featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This week is the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis pitting Jackson State University and Tennesee State University.  For the past few years, we’ve been involving the teams and the organizers of the event in a truckload food donation to the Mid-South Food Bank.  Yesterday, we got the chance to bring all these great friends together for the fifth year in a row.
Thanks to Susan Sanford and the wonderful staff at the food bank (who do tremendous work and always go out of their way to make us feel welcome), plus Mr. Fred Jones, director of the Southern Heritage Classic for their hard work in making this event a success.

How do you engage new stakeholders–not just the true believers, but people who might not have been involved in hunger relief before?

How can we do it better?  We’re always up for learning something new.

So what’s the big deal, anyway?



Ed Nicholson
Why should anyone pay any attention to this photo? Isn’t it just another "PR" event?
Community leaders, elected officials, corporate leaders, food bank leaders. 
Talking to media (and each other) about why the issue of hunger needs to be addressed.

I submit that the single biggest challenge those passionate about hunger face is getting other people engaged.

When you get important people out talking about hunger, other important people listen. And perhaps they get involved.

The backstory
At Tyson, a key component of our hunger strategy is to bring as many of our stakeholders as possible into the issue of hunger.  Each year, we sponsor Fall Football Classics with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).  These are tremendous events, involving phenomenally influential people in the communities in which they occur (see below).  For the past five years, we’ve done food donation events in conjunction with this sponsorship, to which we’ve invited key Classic participants.  They’ve readily and eagerly participated.  This one’s in Memphis–see details below.  If we can get these folks engaged in hunger in their communities, the impact will be so much more than the truckload of food we donate.

Do you have strategies to engage your stakeholders?  We’d love to hear about them.  Please comment.

The Photo
Tyson Foods donates 35K lbs of food to the Memphis Mid-South Food Bank in honor of the Southern Heritage Classic.
l. to r.
Susan Sanford, Executive Director, Mid-South Food Bank
(speaking) Fred Jones – Founder and Producer of the Southern Heritage Classic
Gwendolyn J. Tucker – Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mid-South Food Bank
Libby Lawson – Vice-President of Media & Community Relations, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Chairman Harold B. Collins – Chairman and Councilman, District 3 on the Memphis City Council
Myron Lowery – Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Memphis