Departing food bank CEO encourages business owners to support nonprofits, show social responsibility


Departing food bank CEO encourages business owners to support nonprofits, show social responsibility

PHOTO: Jaynee Day, CEO of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, told business owners that supporting nonprofits can show social responsibility. / Photo courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

By MATT BLOIS

After more than 30 years on the job, Second Harvest CEO Jaynee Day plans to retire from the food bank this summer.

Before that she’s hoping to raise $5 million to support updates and expansion to the organization’s infrastructure.

At a Williamson Inc. event on Friday morning, Day encouraged business owners to support local nonprofits to show they are socially responsible.

“Local causes matter to local customers and to your employees as well,” Day said. “Partnering with organizations like Second Harvest can provide engagement opportunities.”

During the event, Day said that there are more than 13,000 people in Williamson County that don’t know where their next meal is coming from even though it’s one of the wealthiest areas in the country. That includes about 7,000 children.

Second Harvest works with about a dozen nonprofits in the county to provide food to hungry people.

She called on businesses to address the problem because it has a big impact on the community. But she also pointed out that partnering with nonprofits can help a company’s bottom line.

She cited research from Cone, a company that researches social responsibility. That company found that the majority of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if it comes from a company that is purpose driven.

“Purpose driven brands are poised to gain new customers as well as market share. You probably all know that,” she said on Friday morning. “I think those are great statistics for businesses to understand how getting engaged with a nonprofit can benefit your brand. Second Harvest really relies on local businesses to help support our mission.”

She cited the example of LifePoint, a hospital chain headquartered just north of Brentwood. That company has allowed employees to volunteer on company time and has donated more than $350,000 to the food bank.

Day said the organization is providing more fresh food than it used to, so it needs to improve its infrastructure for storing food.

Last year, Second Harvest opened a new distribution center in Benton County, updated a distribution center in Rutherford County and expanded the nonprofit’s Nashville location. All of those projects cost about $20 million. The organization still needs to raise $5 million to pay back the loan for those projects.

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