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The Home Depot Quadruples Commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities through Campus Enhancements and Innovative Career-Development Programs

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ATLANTA /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/– The Home Depot® will increase its investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to $4 million in 2023 by launching an expanded range of community projects and career resources for students in its Retool Your School program.

Half of The Home Depot’s increased commitment will prepare HBCU students to thrive in their future careers with new needs-based programs including externships, scholarships, career workshops and innovation lounges. The other $2 million will double the flagship Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant, which provides grants to HBCUs supporting campus enhancements. In its 14-year history, the program has given more than $5.2 million across 184 HBCUs.

The vote-based Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant is expected to support 30 campuses this year with grants ranging from $40,000 to $150,000 per school. HBCU students, alumni and advocates can vote for their favorite HBCUs online, on Twitter or Instagram using the school’s designated hashtag found at retoolyourschool.com. Applications are currently open and close February 10th.

“We’re strengthening our commitment to HBCUs and their students, from educational enrichment to career development opportunities that will follow them long after graduation,” said Arlette Guthrie, senior vice president of human resources at The Home Depot. “As a proud HBCU graduate myself, I value the education I received and have personally experienced the diversity of thought and innovation that HBCU students bring to the workforce.”

As part of the expanded career-development offerings, The Home Depot is partnering with the United Negro College Fund to award 60 $2,500 scholarships to students currently enrolled at any HBCU. In addition, a new business externship will give HBCU sophomores, juniors and seniors the chance to work on real-world projects in Home Depot business groups like home services, marketing and strategic business development. At the end of the six-to-eight-week virtual program, they’ll present their final projects to Home Depot executives. The funding will also support the creation of on-campus innovation lounges and resume and interview workshops led by Home Depot career development experts. 

Retool Your School is a key component of The Home Depot’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy, and our commitment to advancing education for all in the community. To drive meaningful change, the company’s DEI strategy focuses on three areas: associate engagement, community engagement and supplier diversity partnerships. For more information on The Home Depot’s Retool Your School program, including information on how to apply for scholarships and other grants, visit retoolyourschool.com.  

About The Home Depot 
The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. At the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, the company operated a total of 2,319 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. The company employs approximately 500,000 associates. The Home Depot’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The Home Depot is #17 on the 2022 Fortune 500. 

About Retool Your School 
The Home Depot’s Retool Your School grant program strives to give back to our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) what they have so generously given to their communities: a strong foundation, renewed purpose and distinctive character through campus uplift and beautification funding. Established in 2009, Retool Your School has invested more than $5.2 million to support 184 campus improvement grants provided to 70 percent of the nation’s HBCUs. To learn more about Retool Your School, visit RetoolYourSchool.com and follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotRetool, Instagram @HomeDepotRetool and Facebook @RetoolYourSchool. 

SOURCE The Home Depot

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Salvation Army Research Finds Food Bank Usage on the Rise as Food Security Challenges Persist

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TORONTO /CNW/ – New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs with food affordability, inflation and housing security challenges persisting as top issues.

As one of the largest non-governmental direct providers of social services in Canada, The Salvation Army produces the biannual Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis to better understand the attitudes, behaviours and experiences of Canadians on issues such as the availability of housing and food, general affordability and related health outcomes.

Salvation Army
New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. (CNW Group/The Salvation Army)

Due to overwhelming feedback from policymakers, news media and other stakeholders, The Salvation Army will now produce the Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis twice a year, in the spring and fall. This will allow The Salvation Army to quantify the demand for ongoing social services provided and help the organization to better serve those in need.

The most recent research shows Canadians rank health care, inflation and food affordability as their top concerns. These findings are in line with The Salvation Army’s internal data, which reveal households that were inactive in reaching out for help are now active, and the number of new households seeking assistance, such as food, clothing, furniture and emergency housing, is on the rise.

The report finds that 26 percent of Canadians polled continue to be extremely concerned about having enough income to cover their basic needs, and that concerns around food security are on the rise. While seven percent of respondents said they recently accessed a food bank, food hamper or community meal program (up from six percent in October 2023), the percentage of first-time users is up sharply, to 61 percent compared to 43 Percent in October 2023.

“The increase in first-time users of food banks is an alarming indicator of the conditions that many Canadians are facing,” said Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications, The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. “We often find that when people show up at a food bank it can be the tip of the iceberg for additional issues they may be facing. The Salvation Army is committed to a holistic approach in supporting people through partnerships that help create a positive impact on individuals and families.”

The number of respondents who said they had skipped or reduced the size of at least one meal increased to 26 percent, up from 21 percent previously (October 2023). More Canadians also said they’d bought less nutritious food to save money and had reduced their grocery bill to pay for other necessities.

On financial issues, 72 percent of respondents described challenges managing limited financial resources in the past year, including cutting back on non-essential needs (59 percent), changing habits to save money (52 percent) and using savings or going into debt to afford basic needs (36 percent).

“Despite easing inflation numbers, life is still difficult for many Canadians,” said Murray. “Food insecurity is just one symptom facing people today. At The Salvation Army, our vision is to reduce barriers and address the root causes of poverty, working together with people to achieve their goals in overcoming them.”

Last year, more than three million visits were made to The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda for assistance, including 2.1 million visits for food, clothing or practical help, 438,000 visits for Christmas food hampers and toys, and 3.2 million community meals.

Survey Methodology:

This report contains findings from research conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence on behalf of The Salvation Army to uncover Canadians’ attitudes and experiences with poverty and related socioeconomic issues.

The study was conducted March 11-14, 2024, among a nationally representative sample of 1,515 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender and region. Note: Canadians living in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut were not included in the survey.

For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. And, where a margin of error is not available, the research department provides a comparable one so that the audience can have some context to the value of the poll.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with substance-use recovery; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance, such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes, such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of people in your community. 

News releases, articles and updated information can be found at https://salvationarmy.ca/
A list of regional media representatives can be found at: https://salvationarmy.ca/news-and-media/media-contacts/

SOURCE The Salvation Army

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McDonald’s USA ® Joins Forces with Elaine Welteroth & Fashion Industry Experts to Elevate Emerging Black Designers

To address underrepresentation of Black designers in the fashion industry, the Golden Arches will collectively grant $200K, provide industry mentorship and additional resources to help rising talent scale their brands and more

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CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s USA is proud to introduce the Black & Positively Golden (B&PG) Change of Fashion, a game-changing program aimed at uplifting emerging Black fashion designers and equipping them with career-propelling mentorship, resources, and financial support that will accelerate their career trajectories.

Fashion
McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Although Black designers have made a transformative impact in shaping fashion – from zoot suits in the 1930s to hip hop tracksuits of the 1980s, their representation in America stands at a mere 7.3%, hindered by systemic barriers and racial disparities.[1] This imbalance allows the fashion industry to profit from Black culture while neglecting to embrace Black talent. Recognizing this disparity, McDonald’s USA, a brand embraced by streetwear icons and renowned designers, has launched the B&PG Change of Fashion program to advocate for industry-wide change.

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Building on the brand’s annual B&PG Change Leaders program, McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program pairs five emerging Black designers with five Black industry experts to complete a year-long mentorship filled with access to valuable resources, education and national exposure to industry experts that will culminate with the launch of a capsule collection.

“Having navigated the fashion industry as a Black woman, I understand first-hand the challenges around Black designers breaking through and sustaining a profitable business,” said media personality and television host Elaine Welteroth. “Partnering with a global brand like McDonald’s, I am honored to leverage my experiences as a fashion editor to mentor the next generation of designers and to ultimately help foster more inclusivity in an industry that thrives on Black culture.”

Through the B&PG Change of Fashion program, the Golden Arches and its Owner/Operators will grant funds to each designer, totaling $200,000 overall, offer one-on-one mentorship sessions, provide access to expert-led masterclasses and more. Change of Fashion Designers are featured in a national television commercial alongside their mentors, which include author and television host Elaine Welteroth, Matte Collection CEO Justina McKee, retail executive Shawn Howell, Laquan Smith COO Jacqueline Cooper, and Founder of luxury concept retail stores, McMullen, and Founder & CEO, Sherri McMullen.

“For decades, McDonald’s has leveraged its size and scale to invest in and support the diverse communities we serve,” said Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s. “The Change of Fashion program builds on that legacy, pushing new boundaries in an effort to inspire real change, not only for our five designers, but for the fashion industry at large.”

MEET THE DESIGNERS

  • Durrell Dupard, New Orleans, LA, Founder of Freddie Estelle | Inspired by streetwear, Durrell began creating custom 1-of-1 designs for close friends at 15 years old. Freddie Estelle specializes in merging streetwear trends and upcycling to create unique custom designs. 
  • Shareef Mosby, Richmond, VA, CEO of VICTIM15 |Motivated by personal adversities and a challenging upbringing, Mosby has molded his brand to transmute traditional, utilitarian fabrics and silhouettes into urban-chic, contemporary ensembles juxtaposed against traditional artistic backdrops.
  • Larissa Muehleder New York, NY, Founder of Muehleder | Muehleder isn’t just a brand—it’s a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream, to create, and to defy their insecurities and self-doubt. With each design, she continues to write her story and find a piece of herself in everyone. 
  • Heart Roberts, Brooklyn, NY, Founder of HEARTHROB | Their passion for denim and leather knows no bounds, particularly in the art of manipulation and distressing. Enter the realm of HEARTHROB, where sustainability intertwines seamlessly with high fashion, forging a path toward a more conscious and stylish future. 
  • Nia Thomas, New York, NY, Founder of Nia Thomas | Nia started a clothing line producing limited-edition garments and original jewelry inspired by inward discovery nourished by her worldly travels. Today, Nia is a luxe lifestyle brand with handcrafted pieces for people who own their power, sensuality, and capacity for love.

Change of Fashion designers were carefully chosen by a selection committee. To learn more about each designer, please click here. 

Since commencing in 2022 under the McDonald’s B&PG Futures 22 platform, the B&PG Change Leaders program has provided Black thought leaders nationwide with tools, resources, and more than $600K in funding. The McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program is just one of the many ways the company is serving up bright futures in the communities it serves. For more than 65 years, McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators have fed and fostered the Black community by awarding scholarships to HBCU students, creating impactful partnerships with community organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and more.

Fans can follow the designers’ journeys and explore the meaningful impact of Black fashion in an industry seeking greater diversity by visiting changeoffashion.com or @wearegolden on Instagram.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds

Reference
Fashion Designer Demographics and Statistics [2021]: Number of Fashion Designers in the US (zippia.com)

SOURCE McDonald’s USA

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Volunteering Together: Building friendships and strengthening bonds

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(Family Features) Volunteering has always been a big part of Shelley Brosnan’s life, whether she was serving in her children’s school or in their Fairfax, Va., community. When Brosnan retired, increasing her volunteer efforts was a natural next step. Serving with Volunteer Fairfax, an AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program, she spends about 10 hours a week teaching new volunteers about helping older adults age in place, providing food for those in need and extending the capacity of local nonprofits.

“There’s so much to love about volunteering,” Brosnan said. “Providing purpose and serving the community are obvious reasons, but the connections I make with others are one of the greatest benefits. I just really love helping people and I’ve made friends through volunteering.”

Brosnan’s experience with volunteering is backed by science. According to the Mayo Clinic, having a solid social network improves both physical and mental health as it can boost happiness, increase your sense of belonging and improve self-confidence. As people age, many social avenues from earlier phases of life, such as school and work, no longer exist and making friends can be difficult. The Mayo Clinic suggests volunteering as a beneficial way to make friends and improve social well-being.

“Volunteering fosters more connected and less isolated older adults,” said Atalaya Sergi, director at AmeriCorps Seniors. “Our research, focused on the impact of our programs, finds volunteering can provide positive health and well-being outcomes. In our study, 84% of participants reported stable or improving health and 88% had lower feelings of isolation within one year of volunteering. Each year, we match more than 143,000 Americans with volunteer opportunities, helping build connections and address societal issues, nurturing real relationships that help people become both happier and more fulfilled.”

Adults ages 55 and up, like Brosnan, can be matched with local volunteer organizations fitting their interests, skills and availability through AmeriCorps Seniors, the nation’s largest national service program for older adults, which offers three signature programs. Brosnan and other volunteers nationwide play crucial roles in community resilience and connectedness.

“RSVP volunteers, such as Shelley, take on diverse activities based on community need such as delivering meals, supporting veterans and military families, cleaning parks or helping with tax prep and financial literacy,” Sergi said. “Our Foster Grandparent Program pairs volunteers with youth, in mentoring and tutoring relationships. Lastly, the Senior Companion Program is a way to give a helping hand to other older adults and those with disabilities, assisting them with day-to-day tasks, such as grocery shopping and transportation to appointments. They also support caregivers through respite services.”

The time commitment for all programs is flexible, ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week.

Research studies like the Harvard University Study of Adult Development, found that older adults who invest in, care for and develop the next generation are three times as likely to be happy as those who did not. Volunteers Francois Mwabi and Jerome Menyo, based in Kentwood, Mich., are two more examples of the difference it can make to serve.

Mwabi and Menyo attest to the joy of impacting youth by passing on their wisdom and sharing their culture and language with students, many of whom are refugees from different parts of Africa just as Mwabi and Menyo themselves were several years ago. The two volunteers are so popular among the students and staff that teachers had to work out a schedule for all their students to be able to spend time with them.

One of the reasons the program has such a positive impact is the intergenerational connections it helps establish. Benefits abound not only for the young, but particularly for the volunteers.

“We love being here because of the environment and the students who study here,” Menyo said. “The teachers like us. I help students who speak my language. I enjoy it and they enjoy it, too.”

Intragenerational pairings are fruitful and fulfilling, as well.

Masa Hunley of Philadelphia eagerly anticipates the time she spends with Deborah Washington, a Senior Companion Program volunteer. Washington, a retired mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, was active before retirement and saw no reason to slow down after leaving full-time work. She was paired with Hunley three years ago.

Washington thinks of Hunley warmly, “almost as a grandma.” She spends a few hours twice a week with Hunley, helping her with meal prep, getting to appointments, watching television or playing cards together.

Serving as a companion to Hunley is “just something that I enjoy doing, as if it was my mom or my grandmom, who have both passed,” Washington said. “It’s like serving them and praying that, if it was my mom or my grandmom, someone would be doing the same thing. It has to be in your heart.”

Washington is also thankful for the opportunity Hunley provides for “loving up on her” and feels fortunate to be able to soak up the wisdom that Hunley has learned and earned.

To be matched to rewarding volunteer opportunities near you, visit AmeriCorps.gov/YourMoment.


SOURCE:
AmeriCorps Seniors

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