FUNDING AREAS: Food insecurity and nutrition, children's health, education, and the arts
CONTACT: Kim.Nelson@genmills.com, 800-248-7310
IP TAKE: As committed to charitable work in her personal life as her professional life, the indefatigable Nelson oversees hundreds of grants annually to a wide range of nonprofits in regions of the country near General Mills facilities, with a particular emphasis on the Twin Cities.
PROFILE: Kim Nelson is a packaged foods company executive by trade. A corporate officer at General Mills since 2000, Nelson has been integral in promoting such American pantry/lunch box staples as Hamburger Helper, Chex Mix, and Betty Crocker fruit snacks. Today, Nelson serves as General Mills' senior vice president of external relations and also as president of the company's charitable arm, the General Mills Foundation.
At the foundation, headquartered in Minneapolis, Nelson oversees about $25 million in charitable grants annually. The foundation's primary areas of focus are family services, health and nutrition wellness, education, and arts and culture.
Nelson is obviously ambitious in her career, but she also devotes some serious resources to helping her community. At General Mills, she helped found programs to foster development among black and female employees. Outside of General Mills, Nelson is engaged in a slew of do-gooder causes. From her General Mills bio:
Kim is very engaged in the Twin Cities community with a current focus on improving education outcomes for children of color. She serves on the Steering Committee of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) and was the first co-chair of the AALF Education Work Group which advocates for education reform in the Twin Cities.
Kim shows up. If she commits to something, she does what she says she's going to do. And she's tremendous at keeping her relationships going. She's always ready to offer a hand or congratulations. She stays in touch; she really wants to know what's going on in your life.
And when she's not running divisions of General Mills or finding solutions to problems plaguing our society, Nelson is a mother to two daughters.
Nelson's philanthropic spirit fits in well at General Mills. Since the foundation's inception in 1954, General Mills has contributed more than $1 billion to a variety of causes, including the arts, education, hunger and nutrition, and natural disasters. In 2013, General Mills' giving totaled $154,000, which includes food donations, corporate contributions, and foundation grants.
General Mills Foundation has a distinct Twin Cities focus, due in part to the fact that their corporate headquarters is located in nearby Golden Valley, Minnesota. (For many years, the General Mills Foundation has been the single largest corporate donor to United Way in the Twin Cities.) At a press conference in 2012, St. Paul, Minnesota mayor Chris Coleman quipped, "There's a reason it's called 'Generous' Mills."
- $200,000 to the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (presumably to help build houses for needy people in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul)
- $150,000 to Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis (Incidentally, Nelson teaches Catholic religious education to high school students in her spare time.)
- $333,000 to Second-Harvest Heartland, a hunger relief organization, in support of the Hunger Free Minnesota campaign