JBS USA recently announced a commitment of $3.5 million to Grand Island to address needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and invest in the future of our city as part of its Hometown Strong initiative.
JBS’ contributions represent an investment in the long-term wellness of our community, and I stand with other local leaders, including Mayor Roger Steele, who welcome them. The donations are an important commitment that will drive positive change, and I am grateful that JBS continues to be a leader in the Grand Island community.
I applaud JBS for working with local leaders to identify where these funds can best support our community. They are focusing on three key areas to support our region, including helping with food insecurity, improving our community infrastructure, and supporting COVID-19 response efforts. In addition, JBS has committed to listening to community members, who can also suggest proposals for investment. All projects are expected to be decided by the end of the year.
As part of the contributions, JBS has already committed $1 million to our city for a hike-and-bike trail expansion and a new playground. This generous contribution will allow the city to extend the John Brownell Beltline Trail to the JBS Grand Island plant, a one-mile add-on from where it currently ends, on Cherry Street. The funds will also support a new playground at the Veterans Athletic Complex. JBS has also committed $500,000 for the development of the Grand Island Public Schools/CHI St. Francis Academy of Medical Sciences. This investment is a commitment to share JBS’s mission to build better futures for all.
Along with providing Grand Island with financial resources, this commitment from JBS is a call to action for all of us — civic leaders and members of the community — to identify how we can contribute to making our city an even better place to live, work and play.
JBS’ donations to Grand Island are representative of a company that is truly committed to its local community, and they are here to stay. Over the past five years, the JBS USA Grand Island beef production facility has invested nearly $70 million in capital improvements to the facility. The facility is also currently in the middle of a $95 million expansion project. That is because JBS relies on the Grand Island Community.
The facility employs more than 3,600 people, the vast majority of whom live in the area, and maintains an annual payroll of over $160 million. Furthermore, the facility supports more than 675 local farmers, paying them more than $2.2 billion per year for their livestock. JBS Grand Island also supports several nonprofit organizations throughout our city.
Nationally, through the Hometown Strong initiative, JBS plans to donate $50 million throughout the year to communities all over the country like ours. Their contributions will protect employees and help ensure their job security in these uncertain times. The Hometown Strong initiative is one of the largest and most impactful community investment programs of its kind in the country and as a community leader, I’m both thankful and proud of JBS USA’s support.
So, thank you, JBS, for your contributions to our city. Thank you for joining with other businesses and individuals who commit to continue strengthening our community and to invest in Grand Island’s future.
Cindy Johnson is president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.
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