- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Those who benefited from Oscar Mayer’s generosity in Madison say the loss of a major corporate benefactor will be a blow to the community.

Oscar Mayer’s parent company, Kraft Heinz Food Co., will shut down the Madison headquarters and eliminate hundreds of jobs at a company that has been a part of the community’s fabric since 1919.

The company was among the top workplace donors to the United Way of Dane County last year, with corporate and employee donations totaling $520,000. United Way president Renee Moe told the State Journal (https://bit.ly/1Q6P9A1 ) Oscar Mayer also provides volunteers and in-kind services for countless other events.

Moe says United Way will look elsewhere to fill the void, particularly toward growing sectors of the local economy.

“Our hearts go out to every single person affected by this,” Moe said. “We want to turn our attention to supporting the folks who’ve supported us for so many years.”

The River Food Pantry says the company has been a significant contributor, providing volunteers and donating products. Pantry development director Amy Lord said they’ll prepare for the possible need to give help to some of those volunteers.

The Oscar G. and Elsa S. Mayer Foundation says it will continue to award grants in the community. It gave a recurring $50,000 grant to the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families in 2013, and other recent recipients include a high school theater fund and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County.

Barbara Pope, the foundation’s secretary-treasurer, said the foundation’s relationship is personal, rather than relying on the corporate presence. Many Mayer family members live in the city.

“The foundation operates based on recommendations from the family members,” Pope said. “Those family members are not moving.”

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj


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