The Nelson Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the Nelson family, which privately owns and operates Kemin Industries, announced a $50,000 donation to the Food Bank of Iowa to assist with feeding food insecure Iowans during the coronavirus pandemic, which has created more populations in need of additional support during this unprecedented situation.
Kemin Industries, a global ingredient manufacturer that strives to sustainably transform the quality of life every day for 80 percent of the world with its products and services, was founded in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1961. Today, the company operates in more than 90 countries, but its worldwide headquarters remains in Des Moines.
"As a family company that produces ingredients to protect the world's food supply, when a global crisis arrives in our backyard, it is our responsibility to lend support to those most in need," said Mary Nelson, co-founder of Kemin. "We hope this donation encourages other companies and foundations to continue to support their local communities and those most vulnerable due to COVID-19."
Driven by servant leadership and a motivation to help their community, R.W. and Mary Nelson, the founders of Kemin, established The Nelson Foundation in 1983 to support in-state efforts to enhance science, education and assist children in need. Mary Nelson has always been passionate about food security issues and lending support to vulnerable populations.
The Nelson Foundation's gift has been designated to go directly toward meal programs. According to the Food Bank of Iowa, for every $1,000 the nonprofit receives, it can feed up to 4,000 people. With this donation, about 200,000 meals will be provided to food-insecure Iowans.
"This generous gift from the Nelson Foundation will have an immediate impact on the increased demand for food assistance as a result of COVID-19," said Michelle Book, President and CEO, Food Bank of Iowa. "In this time of crisis, we are incredibly grateful to the Nelson family for standing with Food Bank of Iowa and those in need."
In addition to what The Nelson Foundation has done to support those facing food insecurity in Iowa, Kemin continues to assist communities around the world, including a donation of nearly 10,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Kemin teams in Italy and Belgium have donated PPE to their local hospitals, including homemade masks for healthcare workers, and a recent internal fundraiser collected more than €13,000, which will be matched by Kemin, for the Ospedale Mater Salutis di Legnago in Verona, Italy, where Kemin operates.
"The more we can all work together to help those in need during this turbulent time, the better and stronger our community will be," said Mary Katherine Nelson, Chair of the Nelson Family Council. "With a family business focused on food production and transforming the quality of life, the Nelson family immediately recognized the need to support an organization in our community that works tirelessly to provide food for those who have been severely impacted by this pandemic."
The Nelson Foundation is comprised of Nelson family members, including the third generation. Kemin founders R.W. and Mary Nelson, who are both in their early-90s, are still actively engaged in the business and The Nelson Foundation. Their son, Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin, and the entire Nelson family continue R.W. and Mary's philanthropic legacy within the company, in Iowa and around the world.