Kimberly-Clark Foundation celebrates 60 years of giving back to our communities

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Cola G. Parker, president of Kimberly-Clark from 1942 to 1953, served as the first chairman of the Kimberly-Clark Foundation. Inset: One of the Kimberly-Clark Foundation’s first grants was to the Theda Clark Memorial Hospital, dedicated to the legacy of Theda Clark Peters, daughter of Kimberly-Clark co-founder Charles B. Clark.

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Kimberly-Clark employees from the our World Headquarters in Dallas, Texas, take a break from volunteering at a recent Boys & Girls Clubs event.

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Kimberly-Clark retirees in Roswell, Georgia, package surplus medical supplies to send overseas through our partnership with MedShare International.

Some 60 years ago, Kimberly-Clark President Cola G. Parker and other senior leaders in our company formalized an idea whose time had come: the establishment of a foundation to help Kimberly-Clark carry out one of its core values - the value of caring.

In 2012, Kimberly-Clark celebrates the 60th birthday of a very important part of our corporate family - the Kimberly-Clark Foundation.

According to its articles of incorporation, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation was incorporated in 1952 for the purpose "to raise, invest, and reinvest money and devote the principal and income therefrom perpetually and exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes, including the encouragement of art, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals within the United States or any of its territories or possessions."

Stiff language, indeed, for an organization that really has been anything but stiff since its inception. Although the Foundation began with a very broad mission, its purpose has continually evolved over time as the needs of our communities have changed, and the company and Foundation have worked to refine our giving strategy to better align with our business interests. 

"We are constantly asking ourselves, 'How can the Foundation make the most impact on behalf of our company on the communities where we do business?'" says Jenny L. Lewis, vice president of the Kimberly-Clark Foundation. "Most recently, we have been fulfilling our commitment to our communities through strategic partnerships with global organizations that address issues related to our business and of interest to our customers and our consumers."

At the first meeting of the directors of the Foundation in April of 1952, the board approved a total of $22,200 in donations, including contributions to:

  • Theda Clark Memorial Hospital of Neenah, Wisconsin, (now known as Theda Clark Medical Center) opened in 1909 and is dedicated to the life of Theda Clark Peters, daughter of philanthropist and Kimberly-Clark cofounder Charles. B. Clark. Theda was a well-known and well-respected philanthropist and community servant who died in 1903 from complications following childbirth. Theda Clark Hospital was the first in the area to provide such things as emergency helicopter transportation and single-room maternity suites.
  • The Institute of Paper Chemistry, now located at Georgia Tech and known as the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, is one of the leading research institutes specializing in paper science and engineering. Prior to becoming part of Georgia Tech, the IPST was an independent graduate school and research center supported by the paper industry. Founded 1929, it has been recognized nationally as the fifth most innovative school in the U.S. in terms of patents per faculty member.

 

In 2012, the corporation and the Kimberly-Clark Foundation together will support its communities across the globe with contributions of about $18 million. Today, the Foundation's key partnerships include:

  • For more than a decade, Kimberly-Clark and MedShare International have partnered to bring critically-needed medical supplies to health facilities around the world.  Every year, thousands of patients in the economically developing world suffer from a lack of healthcare and healthcare supplies. At the same time, hospitals in the U.S. discard millions of dollars worth of unused medical supplies. MedShare recovers surplus medical equipment in the U.S. and sends it to qualified healthcare facilities in emerging countries that have a critical need. Since Kimberly-Clark's original grant to help launch MedShare in 1998, the company has funded the shipment of $18.5 million worth of supplies to 13 countries in Latin America. In addition, Kimberly-Clark employees have worked thousands of volunteer hours to help pack the shipping containers with life-saving equipment.
  • For more than 30 years, Kimberly-Clark has supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America, whose mission is to promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. BGCA and Kimberly-Clark share a commitment to building family strength and togetherness. Kimberly-Clark has been the sole sponsor of BGCA's Family PLUS (Parents Leading, Uniting, Serving) initiative, a program dedicated to empowering families to participate fully in their children's lives by providing activities, advice and resources to help families develop the youth of today into the leaders of tomorrow.  In addition to our financial support, Kimberly-Clark Chairman and CEO Tom Falk serves on the organization's national Board of Governors.
  • Throughout the years, Kimberly-Clark has worked with the American Red Cross to support relief and recovery efforts in times of disaster. During that time, Kimberly-Clark and its employees have provided financial contributions, product donations, blood donations and volunteer time to help meet the needs of those affected by disasters. In 2007, Kimberly-Clark joined the American Red Cross' Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and in 2011 renewed our commitment with a pledge of $1.5 million over three years to support local, national and international disaster preparedness and response programs. As a member of the ADGP, Kimberly-Clark's support ensures that the Red Cross can be on the scene of a disaster at a moment's notice.
  • The Foundation's longest-standing relationship has been with the United Way, which the company began supporting in 1954 with a contribution through the Appleton Community Chest. Just like Kimberly-Clark, the United Way of America is committed to ensuring a better life for those in the community through their focus on improving the health and well-being of families. Each year as part of our annual employee fundraising campaigns, Kimberly-Clark employees across the country make a difference in their local communities by volunteering and contributing to United Way organizations; the company then matches employee pledges dollar for dollar. In the last decade, Kimberly-Clark and our employees have contributed more than $60 million to United Way.
  • Our second most long-standing relationship is with the United Negro College Fund, which received its first grant from the Foundation in 1955. Since then the Foundation has contributed almost $700,000 to the UNCF.

 

"Kimberly-Clark's investment - in the long run - is helping the U.S. better compete globally by strengthening the colleges that support statistically-disadvantaged students and that are so integral to increasing the number of college graduates," says UNCF representative Diane Stephenson. "Our network of Historically Black College/University institutions relies on Kimberly-Clark's gifts to help transform students' academic potential to scholarly achievements."

Since the Foundation's inception, the Foundation and Kimberly-Clark Corporation have contributed about $400 million to nonprofit organizations in Kimberly-Clark communities worldwide.

"The Kimberly-Clark Foundation has helped our company give back to the communities where our employees live and work," says Tom Falk, chairman and CEO of the Kimberly-Clark. "We are all beneficiaries of the vision our company leaders had in 1952 about what the Foundation could become and how it could help so many people have better lives."

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