Brown-Forman and our employees play an important role in the communities where we do business. We strive to be a leading corporate citizen in our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and active in other places around the globe. Nearly 85% of our community investment is in Louisville because of our long history and deep roots. Our commitment to Louisville is a chance to make a profound and deep impact close to home. As a significant employer in the area, we’re deeply invested in helping to make Louisville a robust, dynamic city to live, work, and raise families in. We are also heavily involved in other communities critical to the company and our employees, especially in Lynchburg, Tennessee where all of our Jack Daniel’s whiskey is made and Amatitán, Mexico where we have our Casa Herradura distillery.
We give back because it’s good for our communities, our employees, and our business—and because it meets the critical needs of our neighbors. We donate our time, talents, and treasure (cash contributions) to support organizations focused on arts and culture, social welfare, environment, youth and education, and other specific areas determined by local needs.
Over the last six years, we’ve gone more global with our “hometown pride,” establishing a multi-local global giving program to engage all Brown-Forman employees in civic outreach wherever they are. Globally, each regional office has a Civic Engagement Committee to determine the best way to allocate their budgets to match local community needs.
Download our full Corporate Responsibility Report 2015-16
Our commitment to corporate responsibility is anchored in our culture and values, but we can better achieve our purpose of enriching life by leveraging the expertise and capabilities of others. Local partnerships make a difference in communities and can scale up to address social and environmental problems more widely.
Supplies Over Seas
Melissa Mershon, President & CEO
Supplies Over Seas (SOS) is a Louisville, Kentucky, based non-profit that meets critical health care needs in medically impoverished communities around the world by collecting and distributing surplus medical supplies and equipment.
SOS promotes environmental stewardship through re-use, partnering with hospitals and others to recover and distribute supplies that would otherwise go to landfill. When Brown-Forman learned there was no medical clinic in Amatitán, Mexico, the town where the Casa Herradura tequila distillery is located, the company worked with the Mexican Red Cross to build a clinic. They then partnered with SOS to stock the clinic with supplies and equipment. Without our partnership, these life-saving supplies would not have reached the region so affordably and sustainably.
Our partnership with Brown-Forman is strong and meaningful because the company acts on its convictions, leads by example, and like SOS, the company is committed to environmental sustainability. The citizens of Amatitán have 24-hour access to healthcare, supplies, and equipment thanks to this partnership, which is helping relieve the critical shortage of healthcare in the region.
In 2014, SOS collected more than 270,000 pounds of surplus medical supplies and equipment from Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. We believe this is the tip of the iceberg. Our challenge is building the capacity to educate more hospitals and medical institutions in how to recycle their surplus materials. As we meet this challenge, we will unlock the opportunity to match more surplus medical supply donations to global needs.
Fund for the Arts
Christen Boone, President & CEO
Fund for the Arts maximizes the impact of the arts on economic development, education, and quality of life for everyone in Louisville, Kentucky, by generating resources, inspiring excellence, and creating community connections.
Fund for the Arts works to build a stronger, more vibrant community through the arts and Brown-Forman is an incredible local partner, investing time, people, thought leadership, and resources to help achieve our mission. Brown-Forman believes that arts engagement fosters business innovation, creativity, and problem-solving, so its leaders integrate the arts into corporate culture. Brown-Forman is represented on our Board of Directors, in our NeXt! leadership program, and by employee volunteers in our workplace campaign.
Brown-Forman is a cornerstone of the Louisville, Kentucky, arts ecosystem, providing leadership essential in facilitating discussion about the impact of the arts. As a result, the conversation has shifted from the case for supporting the arts to how arts support community. Exciting recent developments include plans for an Economic Impact and Peer Cities report and an arts master plan for Louisville.
A key challenge for us, like many other non-profit and for-profit organizations, is to adapt to rapidly changing demographics and maximize the benefits of emerging technologies and big data. If we approach these changes creatively, we can leverage tremendous opportunities, to engage with the Arts and transform our communities.
The Healing Place
Karyn Hascal, President
The Healing Place (THP) in Louisville, Kentucky, reaches men and women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, providing the tools for recovery and restoring productive lives.
THP has had a relationship with Brown-Forman for many years. As a key community partner, the company’s support is invaluable, and includes both generous financial contributions and providing employees’ time and talent to assist us in our mission. We have also used the relationship to educate those in the company about addiction and open doors and engage other corporations that help move our mission forward.
THP provides free intensive residential service to more than 600 men and women daily who struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction. We do this at the very low cost of $25 per day per client and with a high success rate of 75% remaining sober a year after leaving the program. Brown-Forman’s support helps us build capacity that keep the costs of housing and recovery services low. It takes the backing of an entire community to address alcoholism and addiction as treatable diseases, and it is important for the community to understand that distillers do not cause alcoholism. Brown-Forman helps us to have this conversation and make this important point.
There is misinformation and a lack of understanding about addiction and alcoholism — illnesses that, when treated appropriately, return successful, productive people to their communities and families. THP struggles to meet all the needs in our community and is planning a large expansion. Our hope is to have a greater opportunity to serve all who are ready for help and assistance.
We actively engage stakeholders – from employees and community members to governments and non-profit organizations – in our corporate responsibility efforts. The case studies below highlight our work in action and demonstrate how we are having a positive impact and enriching life for generations to come.
Helping the Homeless in Canada
Our employees give to causes that relate to their personal passions by lending their professional expertise. Brad Fletcher, Brown-Forman’s Managing Director in Canada, developed a partnership with Hockey Helps the Homeless, a charitable organization that offers amateur hockey players a chance to play tournaments with National Hockey League pros and Olympic Gold-Medalists. The events raise money for the homeless in Canada.
Brad joined the Executive Steering Committee of Hockey Helps the Homeless last year and has made a lasting impression through his leadership in planning the 2014 tournament in Markham, Ontario. He leveraged his business partnerships at Brown-Forman, by connecting Hockey Helps the Homeless with The Hive, one of our suppliers, to launch a new Sponsorship Strategy. The event was a huge success, surpassing the sponsorship commitment of any other event this year—and helping the estimated 250,000 homeless individuals in Canada.
Bringing Service Members Home for the Holidays
For the fourth consecutive year, Jack Daniel’s and Armed Services YMCA teamed up to raise funds for Operation Ride Home, a campaign to help service members travel home to spend time with their families for the holidays. Jack Daniels donated $100,000 to kick-off and promote the campaign. The donations are allocated by Armed Services YMCA to junior enlisted service members across the country who have financial needs. Brown-Forman employees also donated airline miles to the campaign to support these efforts.
What began as a local effort led by Jack Daniel’s at the Armed Services YMCA in Fort Campbell, Kentucky has grown into a national campaign. We are proud to lead this effort that brings families together during the holidays and supports service members nation-wide.