Responding to Community Needs
"Despite the difficult circumstances of the last two years, we’ve seen the good in people—and what we can accomplish when we all work together."
Read more from Shana Hayes, Northern Trust’s director of corporate philanthropy, and our philosophy on giving.
When Northern Trust’s founder, Byron Smith, seeded a relief fund in 1893 for victims of a horrific fire at the Chicago World’s Fair, he was doing more than helping his neighbors; his actions demonstrated the role he believed business could play in uplifting society. We have followed his lead for more than 130 years—working to uplift communities around the world.
It’s become a companywide ethos, with $160MM donated and a million hours volunteered over the past decade. We’ve also continued to pivot to respond to the world around us—providing resources when and where they’re needed most. The last two years taught us a lot about that, as the pandemic continued to ravage every community, especially those who were already facing challenges. But despite the difficult circumstances, we’ve seen the good in people—and what we can accomplish when we all work together.
In 2021, Northern Trust went well beyond providing financial grants; we provided care, assistance and hours. Collectively and individually, our employees reached out within the communities we serve and beyond to lend their talents, their expertise or their presence when someone needed it.
In the end, it’s not about tallying the financial support; it’s about how we’ve helped to improve situations. I invite you to explore our 2021 Philanthropic Impact Report, and read about the people and places that have inspired us to do more.
<strong><small><small>DID YOU KNOW?
</strong></small>More than 2.3 billion people are without food
or unable to eat a healthy balanced diet
on a regular basis.
<strong><small>Ensuring reliable, daily access to nutritious
meals strengthens concentration, the ability
to fully participate in school and patterns
that sustain long-term physical health.</strong></small>
An international nonprofit that supports community-led solutions to alleviate hunger in more than 40 countries by sustaining, uniting, and strengthening food banks. GFN believes food banks directed by local leaders are key to achieving Zero Hunger and building resilient food systems.
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Community members receive meal kits provided by Feeding India's Feed the Daily Wager program.
Together: Northern Trust’s Month of Service
Building on Northern Trust’s legacy of service, for every one hour of volunteering performed during our October 2021 focused month of service called Achieving Greater Together, Northern Trust committed to donate 50 meals to organizations fighting hunger. As a result of employees’ volunteer service, approximately 602,500 meals have been donated to hunger relief organizations around the globe.
The donations were made through The Global FoodBanking Network—an international nonprofit that supports community-led solutions to alleviate hunger in more than 40 countries by sustaining, uniting, and strengthening food banks—and its partners including Feeding America and the European Food Banks Federation.
"Every year, I look forward to participating in Achieving Greater Together and seeing the positive impact our employees make around the globe,” says Mike O’Grady, Northern Trust Corporation's chairman and chief executive officer. “Their commitment and passion exemplify an authentic sense of purpose that truly sets Northern Trust apart.”
To encourage giving back, Northern Trust also grants employees two paid days off to volunteer at the charitable organizations that are important to them.
Click here to watch our video
The largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., Feeding America works to advance change in America by ensuring equitable access to nutritious food for all.
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Providing fuel for
student minds and bodies
A student picks up groceries at Greater Chicago Food Depository Healthy Student Market at Harold Washington City College, Chicago, Ill.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that provide food and support to over 40 million people annually. Northern Trust’s dollars and volunteer hours have gone to both the parent organization, as well as their partners like The Greater Chicago Food Depository, The Houston Food Bank and the Sloatsburg Food Pantry.
At the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Trust’s funding helped purchase and distribute nutritious food across the City College of Chicago campuses and pantries, located on the South and West sides, to support thousands of students and young adults, ages 16-24, during the 2021-2022 school year.
“Thanks to our generous donors, like Northern Trust, the Greater Chicago Food Depository has been able to keep up with rising food costs amid increased demand,” says Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of Greater Chicago Food Depository.
“By taking hunger off the table, we enable families, including young adults, to focus on other priorities, like education, growth and security.”
Perpetual Help Fund
Redemptorist Perpetual Help Fund is an organization that helps the vulnerable population to meet their basic needs. They work to alleviate poverty, and its socio-economic and health-related consequences, with a particular focus on the elimination of food poverty.
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Sustenance for the holidays—and year-round
According to The Irish Central Statistics Office, 8 percent of those living in the Redemptorist Perpetual Help Fund’s home-base of Limerick and surrounding areas experience food poverty. There, Northern Trust’s funds help facilitate the provision and distribution of 6,000 hampers of food to families and individuals in need each Christmas. Redemptorists also works year-round to support and coordinate food distribution.
“As well as our efforts at Christmas, we also work all year round to support and coordinate food distribution,” says Fr. Séamus Enright, C.Ss.R (The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer). “We directly fund several meals on wheel initiatives and support numerous food banks. As a founding member of the Limerick Food Partnership, we strive not just to provide food but also to educate on food related issues such as budgeting, food nutrition and preparation, food waste and healthy eating.”
Teresa Delaney and Fr. Séamus Enright with donated goods.
The Felix Project
The Felix Project is a London-based food redistribution charity with a dual purpose:
to reduce food waste and use rescued surplus food to fight poverty and hunger.
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Rescuing food and people
In London, there are 1.5 million adults and 400,000 children living in food poverty or insecurity.
At the same time, more than 3 million tons of edible food waste are generated annually by the commercial food industry in the U.K., according to the organization. The Felix Project rescues surplus food by working with well over 500 suppliers such as wholesalers, supermarkets, farms, shops, restaurants and hotels. The team is assisted by an army of volunteers, who sort and redistribute it for free to nearly 1,000 frontline charities, schools and holiday programs across London.
“The funds kindly donated by Northern Trust contributed to our food redistribution programme, and allow us to rescue surplus food from suppliers and distribute said food to organisations and charities across London. It will allow us to redistribute the equivalent of 91,500 meals to those who need them most.”
The Felix Project volunteers loading crates of food for delivery.
Preventing Food Insecurity
Northern Trust volunteers share why they put their time and energy behind a variety of organizations that support food security.
Helping to alleviate global hunger
The organization I support is wholly run by volunteers. It operates a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 11,000 daily meals to over 70 locations island wide, 365 days a year. Beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, children, or otherwise poverty stricken families and migrant workers in Singapore. I’ve volunteered with them since 2019. What motivates me to give my time is to be able to contribute a bit to alleviate global hunger.”
COVID brings greater needs for food
“Food insecurity and homelessness are causes that have been important to me since I was in elementary school. I started volunteering my time to help distribute food locally through the Sloatsburg Food Pantry (SFP) and was overwhelmed with the incredible generosity and sense of community. When I became involved SFP was a small pantry based out of a tiny church basement serving 125 families. The pandemic grew the demand to 450 families at its peak, and we continue to serve an average of 350 families. To meet the need it became clear we needed to find a larger space for the pantry. With the generosity of members of our community and organizations such as Northern Trust, we were able to build out a larger space to continue to serve a larger population and expand our reach to the broader community.”
<strong><small><small>DID YOU KNOW?
</strong></small>One-hundred million people globally are pushed into extreme poverty due to healthcare expenses each year.
<strong><small>Maximizing healthcare access and
awareness directly impacts physical
and financial well-being.</strong></small>
Americares helps ensure that the health and wellness of people in crisis is not forgotten. They offer emergency programs that help communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, while also providing quality healthcare to those who have none, as well as access to medicine and supplies.
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Mental health not forgotten
Americares was there for Keila when she hit rock bottom. When she battled COVID-19 in the spring of 2021, along with her husband and two sons, she wasn’t sure she’d get through it. Her own symptoms were mild but the isolation during quarantine took a toll on her mental health. Things worsened when her daughter was born and rushed to a large hospital an hour away. Keila’s husband watched over the infant, leaving Keila recovering by herself, unable to have visitors. “I felt alone and separated,” says Keila.
She reached out for help from Gardner South Clinic, a safety-net
clinic that serves low-income, uninsured patients in her California hometown.
Northern Trust and other donors have assisted throughout the pandemic by providing funding in support of:
The purchase of 17 million masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment
Training more than 43,000 health workers in topics like mental health, psychosocial service and outbreak preparedness
Allowing more than 500,000 patients to be seen in person and via tele-health in Colombia, El Salvador, India, Peru and the U.S.
Americares provided Gardner, and more than 50 other safety-net
clinics in California, with mental health and preparedness training for health (con't)
Volunteers sort supplies at a community health center.
workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The training is part of Americares' efforts to build capacity for behavioral health services in safety-net clinics around the world.
Guadalupe Perez, clinic manager at Gardner Health Center in nearby San Jose, notes “Pandemics don’t bring good things to anybody. Whether you’re in healthcare or education or anywhere, it just brings an additional stress.” In the worst cases, Perez and her team saw patients who were in a crisis state. “We were able to implement the Americares training and calm the patients down,” says Perez. Keila received behavioral healthcare on the phone, via telehealth. Having that access made a huge difference. “It’s easier instead of going to a whole different [organization] and not knowing the people. I know the staff here and they know my history,”
Patient receives assistance at a COVID-19 mobile heath site in India.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the importance of the health and strength of our communities,” Mike O’Grady, chairman and chief executive officer of Northern Trust Corporation, said at its onset.
“We are aligning our philanthropic resources to support organizations serving those directly affected by the pandemic, including front-line healthcare workers and people struggling to make ends meet.”
As the pandemic continued, Northern Trust continued this support, which included aid to NHS Charities, World Food Program and UNICEF for food and healthcare, as well as vaccine readiness.
Esperanza Health Centers
Northern Trust’s donations helped fund Esperanza’s daily work throughout 2021, which included the creation of four mass vaccination sites across underserved areas on Chicago’s southwest side, and enabled administration of 130,000 doses. The organization also launched an initiative led by bilingual physicians to provide COVID-19 vaccine educational forums targeted to patients, community groups, neighborhood networks and local residents.
In addition, Esperanza considerably increased its mental health counseling team and created a daily on-call workflow whereby a designated mental health counselor is assigned to “float” each day in-clinic, allowing for immediate handoffs from primary care providers as well as the capacity to address walk-ins and emergencies—all while continuing to see their regular patients.
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Solving for emergencies
Juan* is one young man who benefited from Esperanza’s dedication to mental health services last year. He had never received services at Esperanza, called to make an appointment for therapy during the winter. He was in acute distress, as he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. While those symptoms were now on the decline, he had a history of depression and had been on anti-depressants in the past. He was now feeling a sense of overwhelming despair. (con't)
An Esperanza physician attends to a child during his check-up.
Esperanza aims to deliver health and hope to Chicago’s underserved communities through bilingual, high-quality primary care, behavioral health and wellness services regardless of immigration or insurance status, or ability to pay.
Even though Esperanza had an available appointment for Juan in just a couple days, the new therapist offered to contact him to conduct a teletherapy session with him the same day.
Two hours later, Juan and the therapist were able to connect for a session, significantly reducing his distress and putting him on a better path—including a follow-up the next week.
*Not the patient’s real name