Last week, Chief Sustainability Officer John R. Tyson shared guest commentary with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette about the impact of COVID-19 on community nonprofits. Below are excerpts from his piece.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape our Arkansas community, its residents and businesses. The long-term sustainability of nonprofit organizations, providing significant support to many of our neighbors, is in question at a time when their services are critically needed. It’s become increasingly clear that purposeful action from community leaders at all levels will be needed to ensure these organizations have the right resources to remain viable.

A recent national survey reports 85% of nonprofits have experienced a reduction in revenue and more than 70% have reduced their programs and services. Arkansas nonprofits have experienced similar impacts. In a recent study, 82% of Arkansas nonprofits reported complete program cancellations and 64% experienced reductions in revenues.

Now, it’s more important than ever for businesses to step up and support their communities. Tyson Foods is fortunate to be a part of more than 100 communities across the country and recognizes the importance of supporting its team members, their families and their plant communities.

In times of uncertainty, food on a family’s table means they have one less thing to worry about. Through various efforts, Tyson donated more food over the past year than ever in its 85-year history. We’re proud to have donated more than 30 million pounds, or the equivalent of 120 million meals, during the last 12 months to fight hunger.

Tyson also awarded over $757,000 in grants to organizations in Arkansas. The grants focused on hunger and COVID-19 relief, childcare services, education and school supplies, family financial assistance, health care and wellbeing, domestic and sexual violence, and medical equipment/supplies.

Internally, Tyson also launched GiveFest. This monthlong series of team member events helped raise money for Northwest Arkansas nonprofits that our community members rely on most. With the assistance of a grant from the Tyson Family Foundation, the series raised more than $200,000 for 55 organizations based in Northwest Arkansas.

During these times of uncertainty, there are many ways to channel feelings of helplessness into moments of hope. Discover yours. Get involved by volunteering or donating to organizations that are inspiring and accelerating change. There’s a role for you to play, and we hope our actions encourage others to “step up and show up” in their own communities.

Author
Chief Sustainability Officer at Tyson Foods

John R. Tyson joined the Tyson Foods team in 2019 and serves as Chief Sustainability Officer, leading the company’s efforts to support a more sustainable protein system. This includes driving improvement by implementing the company’s sustainability strategy as well as managing the sustainability, animal welfare, environmental and social responsibility teams.

He reports to CEO Noel White.

John has a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He previously worked in investment banking for J.P. Morgan and as a private equity and venture capital investor. He is also a lecturer at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

He is passionate about the numerous philanthropic endeavors in which he is involved, particularly through the Tyson Family Foundation where he leverages his private investment expertise. Additionally, he is committed to civic engagement and volunteers regularly on electoral campaigns and for charitable organizations focused on social programs, both in Arkansas and around the U.S.

John is a fourth-generation member of the Tyson family. He is proud to work for the company his great grandfather founded and hopes to be a steward of the values and legacy the family established.