Cartons of Hope
International Paper offers paper and packaging supplies as well as distribution of maintenance and industrial products through operations around the world. The company’s 60,000 employees are committed to their communities, but with the help of the International Paper Foundations’ Coins 4 Kids program, they are able to contribute to the improvement of communities in an area where no employees are located.
International Paper’s chairman and CEO, John Faraci, along with the Foundations, established Coins 4 Kids as a joint venture with the World Food Programme in 2004. The goal: “ending starvation for some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” namely underprivileged children in Nairobi, Kenya. Since many children in Africa do not eat regular meals, Coins 4 Kids provides school meals to not only feed children but to give their parents a reason to send them to school regularly. In addition, Coins 4 Kids uses funds to establish health education programs, develop classrooms, provide de-worming medications and even create sustainable school gardens. Since the beginning of the program, a combination of gifts from IP, its employees, and community organizations has served 72,000 meals in Nairobi’s schools.
Coins 4 Kids is truly a part of the organizational culture. A dedicated group of employee spouses and friends runs an annual awareness and fund-raising drive, which includes an online auction, a raffle, and an employee luncheon. At corporate headquarters in Memphis, TN, IP sponsors a yearly “Coins 4 Kids 5K Run & Walk,” which draws participants from not only employees but from other businesses, as well. In other parts of the country, a golf tournament and school awareness programs continuously raise funds for the program.
Perhaps one of the more innovative, sustainable, and expandable components of the Coins 4 Kids program is the collection carton itself, which is produced by IP. The “carton bank,” redeveloped in 2007, is designed so that a full carton of change can feed two children for an entire year. The cartons are the perfect size for a table, counter, or desk, and are made of 100 percent recyclable materials. Because of this, as well as the “turn-key approach to fundraising” practiced by both IP and the World Food Programme, the Coins 4 Kids campaign can be put into place in a variety of community, social, and religious organizations.
IP receives a yearly report from the World Food Programme, outlining the results of its support. To date, Coins 4 Kids not only provided meals, but also provided 25 schools with stoves, with another 500 to be provided in 2010. In addition, over 60,000 children have received a de-worming treatment and school attendance has increased to 97 percent from 62 percent at the program's inception. A May 2010 internal survey indicates that 96% of employees are aware of the Coins 4 Kids program, so it appears that successful results will be a standard feature of IP’s commitment to ending starvation.
CareerFOCUS Magazine™ and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute International Paper – winner of the 2010 NELI Award honoring stellar leadership in corporate and social responsibility.