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    Supervalu Celebrating Black History Month With Essay Contest, Donations

    The retailer is allocating $100K in donations to African-American organizations nationwide, as well as $150K in high school scholarships.

    Supervalu's nationwide family of stores has again joined forces with Coca-Cola to celebrate Black History Month. This year, the Minneapolis-based retailer will hold an essay contest for high school students from across the country, awarding winners scholarships totaling $150,000.

    The contest's theme is "Strength in Mind and Body," and it asks the students to reflect on the important role that education and nutrition play in the lives of African-Americans. In addition, donations totaling $100,000 will be made to African-American nonprofit organizations in the local communities served by Supervalu’s retail stores.

    "Coming on the heels of an historic inauguration, Black History Month gives us an opportunity to celebrate the culture and achievements of African-Americans, as well as their contributions to our country's rich history," said Lauri Sanders, president of Supervalu's foundation and its director and community relations. "Our commitment to building a culture of diversity is a key component of our business strategy and vital to our ability to serve our customers and employees better than anyone else."

    This year, donations made on behalf of Supervalu to nonprofits serving African-American communities will target organizations that are focused on either health and nutrition or on youth education. Among the organizations receiving grants are the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis, the Philadelphia Police Athletic League, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago and the Las Vegas-Clark County Urban League.

    A new addition to the Black History Month celebration program this year is an essay contest for African-American high school students. Employing the theme, "Strength in Mind and Body," the contest asks the students to complete the phrase, "As an African-American, strength in mind and body has helped my people by…" Essay submissions will be accepted through March 5, 2009, and winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from the Black Leadership Network, a Supervalu Business Resource Group. Essay winners will receive scholarships, with a total of $150,000 being awarded to students across the country.

    Supervalu's offices and banner stores also have a variety of plans to celebrate Black History Month this year. For example, at select store locations customers will be able to sample items and dishes featuring African-American vendor products during the month. Through its supplier diversity program, the company works with small, minority-owned businesses to help them gain access to its store shelves, which in turn allows the company to better meet the needs and desires of its diverse customer base.

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