Our founder, Milton S. Hershey, built the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania so that his employees would be proud of where they lived and worked. Today, we remain committed to this legacy by helping to ensure that all Hershey communities across the United States and around the world thrive. While each community where we work has different needs, we prioritize grants and contributions to eligible nonprofit organizations that address the following community issues:
- Civic, Cultural, & Community Development: Projects that bring community members together, foster diversity & inclusion, and enhance quality of life for everyone. This may include civic, arts and cultural programs; community revitalization efforts that make our communities more livable, attractive, and sustainable; and other innovations that strengthen communities.
- Basic Needs & Disaster Relief: Programs that provide access to basic health care, shelter and housing, hunger relief, and other critical services for our communities’ most vulnerable populations, as well as those facing disaster circumstances.
- Future Workforce: Education and workforce development programs to help prepare future generations for careers in business, STEM, and manufacturing.We prioritize contributions to organizations with proven K-12 programs, community colleges and technical schools.
Funding Process & Requirements
Thriving Communities is a competitive grants program with applications reviewed on a monthly basis. Programs must impact residents within 20 miles of a Hershey corporate office or manufacturing facility. All applications must be submitted electronically. Grants are typically awarded for a one-year grant period.
At the end of each grant period, organizations must provide a final report on impact and outcomes achieved as well as a financial report showing how grant funds were spent. Final reports are required before being considered for renewed support.
Values & Strategic Philanthropy Principles
Our desire is to make the greatest positive impact with our support. With this in mind, we look for projects and partners that strategically align with our values & philanthropic principles:
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion We prioritize support for programs that invite broad community participation, and create a more welcoming and open community. We seek out partners that help break down barriers of class, economic status, educational background, ethnicity, faith tradition, gender identity, national origin, race, and sexual orientation.
- Opportunities for Employee Engagement: We believe that The Hershey Company’s support is most effective when it goes beyond a financial contribution. Our greatest partnerships leverage the skills, expertise, and passion of our employees.
- Direct Investment in Programs & Capacity Building: We prioritize requests for programmatic support, general support and organizational capacity building over requests to sponsor or underwrite events such as golf tournaments, galas, runs/walks, and similar events.
- Catalytic Support: We seek opportunities to serve as a catalyst. We invite organizations to consider how Hershey’s financial support can help catalyze innovation, scale or replication of programs, or leverage support from other funders or advocates.
- Emphasis on Impact: We prioritize partnerships with organizations that have a thoughtful and strategic approach to measuring and evaluating their outcomes and impact. We recognize the investment of time and resources that impact reporting requires of nonprofit organizations, and wish to be a partner to our grantees in tracking and measuring progress.
Use of Funds & Restrictions:We recognize that there are more worthy community initiatives than we can fund. Due to the volume of requests we receive, our support for local youth sports teams and school clubs is limited to no more than $250 per team per year.
If you believe your project meets the criteria for Thriving Communities, please take the eligibility quiz by clicking on CONTINUE