Hormel Foods: Best Practices for Charitable Giving During COVID-19

Kelly Braaten, manager of corporate communications and corporate responsibility at Hormel Foods hosted a Think Thursday conversation to share best practices for charitable giving during COVID-19 with fellow Page Up members.

About Hormel Foods
Hormel Foods is a global branded Fortune 500 food company headquartered in Austin, Minnesota. They have more than 18,000 employees worldwide and about $9.5 billion in annual sales. Hormel Food brands hold the No. 1 or No. 2 share in more than 40 categories.

Giving Focus Areas

  • Hunger
  • Education
  • Supporting local communities


  • Overwhelming amount of need
  • Determining how to keep employees engaged while at home

Efforts & Initiatives

  • $1 million commitment – cash and product donations for COVID-19
  • Senior meals program (ordered hundreds of meals daily from local restaurants and its SPAM® Museum employees deliver the meals to seniors)
  • Virtual concert series for employees that was open to the public (challenged past executives to donate and matched those donations)
  • Provided tools, resources and ideas for employees to give back
  • Hosts “Midday Connect” sessions every day (Companywide daily talk shows around different topics – including giving)


  • Made a tangible impact in the local communities by focusing efforts there instead of trying to solve the global issue (the company does provide donations to its national partners Feeding America and Convoy of Hope as well)
  • Contributed in more ways than just monetary and product donations
  • Combined financial contributions with actions that told a very powerful story
  • Received media attention and was highlighted in a press conference by the Minnesota Governor for its senior meals program
  • Implemented and executed initiatives quicker by loosening approval process

Lessons Learned

  • Continue to work with your partners during this time. You can accomplish more together.
  • Move quickly and use this time as an opportunity to experiment and try new things. Strive for progress not perfection.