Adrian Awards 2020
Project Analysis: Please provide a brief background on the project and your company efforts to demonstrate good corporate citizenship in the areas of community involvement, environmental, or socially responsible practices.
As COVID-19 started to impact Kentucky, tourism officials at VisitLEX and Keeneland Race Course realized the closure of restaurants and attractions would create food insecurity for hospitality workers losing jobs as a result of efforts enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19. Nourish Lexington is an initiative created in early March to utilize the skills and talents of those hospitality workers recently unemployed due to the COVID-19 closings to provide prepared meals to those who need immediate access to food. In exchange for preparing and delivering meals, food service workers will receive a $60 payment for a four-hour shift. Meals are distributed to hospitality industry families, other families in need, seniors in affordable housing apartment complexes and children and their families through family resource coordinators. To learn more, visit Nourish the Backstretch is a further extension of Nourish Lexington, an initiative Keeneland co-founded with VisitLEX, FoodChain and Blue Grass Farms Charities in April. At a time when Keeneland would traditionally open their doors, signaling the beginning of tourism season in Lexington and generating full hotels and waiting lists at local area restaurants, the pandemic drastically and catastrophically hit: cutting off a profitable period that buoys most businesses for the rest of the year. With Nourish Lexington, local organizations banded together to support the community and provide access to food and wages for those impacted most by the pandemic.
Objectives and Goals: What did organization set out to achieve in undertaking this project in CSR? What were the goals you set to measure your success?
Goals for Nourish Lexington: • Raise donations to provide as many nourishing meals as possible to hospitality workers who lost jobs as a result of COVID-19, other families in need and seniors in affordable housing in need of immediate access to food. • Provide nourishing meals and fill the gap for children who rely upon school lunches who are not receiving meals as a result of non-traditional learning enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19 • Lift up the hospitality community by providing alternative work and pay for displaced workers in the restaurant industry • To raise awareness surrounding food insecurity and share critical information to the community • Connect with farmers to utilize produce and other products that would have gone to waste with government closure of restaurants. Goal for Nourish the Backstretch: • Provide meals and groceries to stable area workers at Keeneland and The Thoroughbred Center through Nourish the backstretch.
Results: How did you measure the effectiveness of your efforts and what direct and tangible results did you achieve? Please be as specific as possible and share the full impact of your efforts in CSR.
Nourish Lexington Results since mid-March: • Produced and distributed 200,000 meals to hospitality workers, families in need and seniors in affordable housing in need of immediate access to food. • Produced and distributed 68,103 meals for school children helping to fill the gap for those who rely upon school lunches. • Spent $525,000 within the local food economy to keep hospitality workers working. Through employment or stipends at FoodChain, $86,259 of the $525,000 went directly to food service workers displaced from their jobs due to COVID-19 shut-downs. • Helped sustain 20 local businesses and caterers by contracting with them spending $436,184 to prepare 81,828 of the total 200,000 meals. • Worked with 21 local farmers/local food distributors to incorporate more than 35,000 pounds of local produce into nourishing meals. • Raised more than $750,000 to fuel the organization through corporate donations, fundraising drives and grants. • To raise awareness about food insecurity, full features on Nourish Lexington were garnered in Forbes, Barron’s Benta, TravelPulse + MSN, Food & Beverage Magazine+d FSR Magazine. Nourish the Backstretch Results: (These results are part of the overall 200,000 meals served) • 3,900 meals distributed specifically to backstretch workers and their families at Keeneland and The Thoroughbred Center in May and June. • 2,100 meals distributed specifically to backstretch workers and their families at Keeneland in October through a partnership with race meet sponsors. • 600 meals served to backstretch workers and their families at The Thoroughbred Training Center in November, made possible by a generous $50,000 Breeders’ Cup donation in conjunction with the World Championships on November 6 and 7. • 250 Thanksgiving dinner meals served at Keeneland Track Kitchen.
Leadership: Please list the individual in a leadership role responsible for the project and how would you characterize their commitment to promoting corporate social responsibility in the travel and tourism industry?
Looking for a way to help those suffering in the hospitality industry as a result of lost jobs due to the pandemic, Keeneland and VisitLEX reached out to FoodChain, a local non-profit committed to making fresh food for underserved communities, for assistance. FoodChain immediately jumped in to provide guidance in raising funds and to provide production and distribution knowledge so the group could provide meals and a source of income to those in need. Christa Marrillia, VP and Chief Marketing Officer for Keeneland, VisitLEX President, Mary Quinn Ramer, and Becca Self, FoodChain Executive Director led the charge in fundraising efforts by tapping into contacts at corporations and charitable foundations throughout Lexington and within the Thoroughbred industry. The kitchens at Keeneland were fully stocked and ready to serve patrons for the cancelled spring meet, and so they immediately pivoted. Rather than waste food, Keeneland donated just over 1,500 pounds of food and the talents of their culinary team to produce more than 6,300 meals – including 2,300 school lunches. Following Keeneland’s lead, many Lexington restaurants donated their excess product to Nourish throughout April. A local business known for their philanthropy, Keeneland also contributed 100% of the proceeds from online sales from The Keeneland Shop and Keeneland Mercantile during April. This action generated $22,000 for Nourish Lexington. VisitLEX donated 10K to kick start the Nourish Lexington fund and utilized partnerships with local restaurants and caterers to promote the new program among displaced hospitality workers and to create distribution points in need areas around town. The small, but dedicated staff at FoodChain devoted countless hours to ensure safety at their processing kitchen and to coordinate with food service workers to generate thousands of meals. Their expertise and distribution guidance ensured a seamless delivery of meals.
Entry Title
Nourish Lexington
Corporate Social Responsibility - Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility
Entry Award:
Gold BP