Guest Post

Social Innovation at Hershey – unleashing the skills and passion of our employees

  • October 14, 2015
  • By: Tona Rowett

The following is a guest blog post by Mike Wege, Chief Administrative Officer of The Hershey Company, one of our generous World Cup Event Sponsors. Like us, they are committed to building bright futures and successful lives. Read how they are being innovative in their approach to address child hunger, a global social need.

Since our founding and the creation of the Milton Hershey School in 1909, we have focused on giving children the skills, education and support they need to build bright futures and successful lives. However, just as our company’s products and services have evolved and expanded over the past 120 years, our corporate citizenship efforts have also continued to progress.

As we look to extend our commitment, we recognize that children have the best opportunity to thrive when they can access nourishment that enables them to focus on their studies, rather than their stomachs. It is this concept that inspired our employees to design a new global platform for our corporate citizenship efforts around the world. With this renewed sharp focus, we are able to share the value of our employees’ vast knowledge and skills to impact a global social need. We’re thrilled to launch our global social purpose, Nourishing Minds, an initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children around the world learn and grow.


Our goal is to nourish one million minds by 2020. To meet this goal, we are focusing on three key areas where we believe our expertise can add the most value:

  • Providing basic nutrition to children
  • Investing in nourishing agriculture and food systems
  • Research and development

Nourishing Minds is more than just philanthropy; it’s embedding purpose into the way we do business and utilize our expertise. In addition, we recognize we can’t do it alone which is why we are building partnerships with the best experts and organizations on the ground. The result of our work will provide children in need with great-tasting, nutritious food as well as ensure that communities have the resources they require for a food secure future.

Nourishing Minds is global in scope and will include programs that provide nutritious food to underserved children where our employees work and do business whether it be the United States, West Africa, or South Asia. For example, in Ghana, we are launching a program called Energize Learning. A cross-functional group of Hershey food experts helped develop Vivi, a peanut-based protein supplement. Vivi will be distributed to more than 50,000 children every day by 2016. We have worked in partnership with the Ghana School Feeding Program and our non-profit nutrition partner Project Peanut Butter, to take Vivi from an idea to production in just 20 months. Vivi packets are now in distribution, provided free of charge to 130 schools.


At Hershey, we believe it is the passion and knowledge from our employees that will drive us forward. By combining this expertise and passion with the Nourishing Minds platform, we feel strongly it is a strategic model for how we build our commercial capabilities with purpose.