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Publix Super Markets Inc. has received two Summit awards for philanthropic engagement and community impact from United Way. Publix’s 2011 United Way campaign raised $45.6 million -- a 12 percent increase over 2010 in spite of a sluggish economy -- and associates’ per capita gifts surpassed the food industry average by an impressive 398 percent. The grocer’s associates also volunteered 900,000 hours, including more than 1,500 employees serving on United Way and nonprofit boards.
“Community service is a way of life for Publix and its associates,” said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide, whose charitable network encompasses 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the United States. “Their incredible generosity and commitment to improving communities is an important part of their heritage. Together, we’ve been able to make a positive, lasting impact in countless people’s lives.”
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix further leverages its reach across five Southeastern states by placing United Way information on 220 million grocery bags, reaching 40 million customers. The grocer also imparts education messages to parents by featuring education tips on store shelf signs and offering in customer newsletters. Further, Carol Barnett, Publix Super Markets Charities chairman and CEO, worked with United Way of Central Florida to bring the “Success By 6” national model to the region, helping it expand from one county to many more throughout the Southeast. Success by 6 is a United Way community-wide early-childhood program that ensures children are ready to succeed in school and life by age 6. Publix also is involved in United Way's “Let’s Grow,” an early literacy effort that has resulted in up to 76 percent improvement in state assessment scores at child care centers.
Publix is “not just a supermarket -- it's a group of kindhearted, energetic, effective people who are dedicated to doing the right thing, and who make our world better each and every day,” said Barney Barnett, the grocer’s vice chairman.
Publix ranks No. 1 on the Corporate Social Responsibility Index as determined by the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College and has been among Fortune's "Most Admired Companies" for 17 years.
The Spirit of America and Summit Awards program, now in its 25th year, is United Way’s highest national honor for corporations.
Privately owned and operated by its 152,000 employees, Publix has more than 1,050 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.