The John Deere Foundation plans to contribute $200 millions over ten years to help children and families, farmers, and employee volunteer efforts at its facilities in Iowa and elsewhere.

Foundation president Nate Clark says the catchphrase for the new initiative is “We run so life can leap forward.”  “One of the best ways that I see the company running for the benefit of the lives around us to leap forward is through our volunteerism,” Clark says. “We embrace volunteerism in all of its diversity.”

The $200 million will be divided three ways.  “We’re directing $100 million to families and youth who live, work and learn here in the Quad Cities and in other home communities,” Clark says, “to insure that they have access to the full stack of resources over the long-term that are needed for human diginity and long-term self-sufficiency.”

Deere is Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer, with large operations in multiple Iowa communities.  Clark says, “We’re directing 50-million dollars to smallholder and resource-constrained farmers throughout the world to bolster their capacity, not only to make a living but to feed a growing population and improve the world around them.”

Third, another $50 million will help mobilize the Deere workforce as employees volunteer their time and resources in Iowa and around the world. The foundation plans to allocate $20 million per year over the next ten years, which is the highest commitment in its history. Clark says in 2012, the foundation’s annual contributions totaled $12 million dollars a year.

(By Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)