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Creating a Business-Aligned Global Giving Strategy

The General Mills Foundation partnered with FSG to develop new signature initiatives that address social and environmental issues related to its business, and to evolve its existing philanthropic portfolio to better reflect the organization’s global footprint. This work resulted in the foundation creating a business-aligned, outcomes-oriented societal engagement strategy.

At the start of the project, FSG led a workshop with both foundation staff and company leadership to assess the organization's giving portfolio, guiding them through a collaborative process to determine the alignment, effectiveness, and impact of each foundation investment and to explore the implications for the foundation’s future strategy. FSG also led visioning sessions to help the foundation team and their business counterparts develop new guiding principles for the future of the foundation’s societal engagement strategy.

FSG brought a thoughtful, informed, real-world perspective to our strategic planning process. Their input and support laid the foundation for a remarkable, global strategic plan that will revolutionize our work. I highly recommend FSG to other philanthropy professionals!

Mary Jane Melendez, Chief Sustainability & Social Impact Officer, General Mills;
President, General Mills Foundation

To ensure that General Mills employee perspectives were a key input to the future strategic direction, FSG led focus groups across offices and functions, held employee interviews with staff around the world, and conducted an online survey of over 1,000 employees. FSG’s final recommendations were taken and refined to create the foundation’s 2 signature initiatives focused on increasing food security and advancing sustainable agriculture.

As an early step in strategy implementation, the foundation convened over 30 food security leaders from across the U.S. to better understand the underlying causes of food insecurity and exchange best practices to inform the foundation’s future work. The foundation has since formalized new partnerships with organizations working to address food insecurity, including The Food Research and Action Center and the Food Trust. The foundation is also working with the General Mills sustainability team to deepen the impact of the company’s investments in sustainable agriculture.

FSG also worked with the General Mills Foundation to update its “Hometown Giving” portfolio, which included clarifying local community giving parameters and prioritizing among General Mills’ range of communities around the world. 

Today, the General Mills Foundation continues to work to address issues related to its core business through their signature initiatives while expanding opportunities for employee engagement.

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About the General Mills Foundation
The General Mills Foundation’s philanthropy focuses on: increasing community food security worldwide; advancing the sustainability of agriculture; and strengthening hometown communities by partnering with General Mills employees worldwide through volunteerism and grant-making to address local community needs.