Of the $4 million JBS USA committed to Nebraska last month, $3.5 million will go to Grand Island.
The donation is meant to “help Grand Island respond to needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and invest in the community’s future,” according to a JBS news release.
The money is part of the company’s nationwide “Hometown Strong” initiative, which totals $50 million.
“JBS USA is working with local leaders to identify where the funds can best help meet immediate and longer-term community needs in three key areas: food insecurity, community infrastructure and well-being, and COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts,” based on the release.
All projects will be determined by the end of the year. Community members may send suggestions for investment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “Hometown Strong” initiative “adds to commitments JBS USA has made this year to protect employees and ensure their job security amid the global pandemic,” the release says. “Hometown Strong is one of the largest community investment programs of its kind in the country.”
The JBS USA Grand Island plant employs more than 3,600 people with an annual payroll of more than $160 million.
“The JBS Grand Island beef production facility is one of the premier plants in the country, and we recognize both the opportunity and responsibility of being a large business and employer in our community,” Zack Ireland, JBS Grand Island general manager, said in a statement. “Our focus during the past few months has been to protect our team members, and we are grateful to now invest in the place we call home in a meaningful way that benefits our workforce and community now and in the future.”
In another prepared statement, Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele said, “During the coronavirus pandemic, JBS USA has been a community partner and generously donated beef to local food banks and also provided leadership and innovation on worker safety and plant management. The ‘Hometown Strong’ initiative continues JBS USA’s commitment to our community and our future, and we look forward to a wonderful community partnership.”
The Grand Island facility supports more than 675 local producers, paying them more than $2.2 billion per year for their livestock.
“Consistent with its long-term commitment to the local economy, JBS USA Grand Island has invested nearly $70 million in capital improvements over the last five years and is currently in the midst of a $95 million state-of-the-art expansion project at the facility,” according to the release.
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