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At TJX, we have a longstanding tradition of being a good corporate citizen. During our more than 35-year history, our Company and Associates have been committed to supporting and giving back to the communities in which we work and live. Today, as a Neighbor of Choice, we continue to support organizations that help children, women and families; aid in education; assist the disadvantaged and sick; and help prevent domestic violence. TJX’s corporate community relations program has three main initiatives: The TJX Foundation, corporate partnerships, and workforce initiatives. In addition, our divisions in the U.S., Canada and Europe have many longstanding in-store fund-raising and community initiatives that support worthwhile causes and nonprofit organizations.
A Global Partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association
In late 2010, TJX announced a major, multi-year pledge and global partnership with the Alzheimer's Association on behalf of our retail divisions, Associates and millions of customers around the world. In 2011 and 2012, TJX continued our global partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association by launching an internal Alzheimer’s education program for Associates worldwide and committing to be a Champion of the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance. In September 2012, TJX became a National Team Member of Walk to End Alzheimer’s and lit our Corporate Headquarters building in Framingham, Massachusetts, with purple lights to raise awareness for World Alzheimer’s Month.
In February 2013, TJX continued its global partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association by announcing a second major, multi-year pledge, in recognition of the massive impact of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide. We believe our support will continue to help the Association to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide care and support for those affected, including caregivers; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
Through combinations of corporate sponsorships, in-kind donations, Associate volunteerism and other outreach efforts, we have developed corporate partnerships in the U.S. to support local and national initiatives in the communities where we do business.
Preparing the Next Generation of Associates: Many of our corporate partnerships focus on youth, where we foster affiliations with schools and educational groups to help prepare students for graduation and transition into the workforce. For example, TJX founded the Youth Business Institute (YBI), a ten-week, innovative, professional and personal development program that currently operates in fourteen high schools located in seven U.S. cities, and we expect to expand this number in the future. At YBI, TJX Associates teach high school students job readiness skills and expose them to career pathways relevant for entry into the retail workforce. YBI has graduated approximately 1,700 high school students and hired approximately 250 program graduates. Since the program’s inception, TJX has awarded about $500,000 in scholarships to YBI students.
Fostering Self-Sufficiency: In addition to our focus on youth, some corporate partnerships focus on fostering self-sufficiency among the under-privileged. TJX Community Relations and The Marmaxx Group continue to partner with The Crisis Assistance Ministry of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and Jackets for Jobs, Inc., in Detroit, Michigan, two nonprofits dedicated to getting people in need back on the path to self-sufficiency. With the help of local Marshalls and T.J. Maxx Associates and substantial TJX donations of funds and merchandise, thousands of people have been helped. TJX helped renovate two spaces for the nonprofits, and thanks to our corporate partnership, we continue to help create a shopping experience comparable to a true retail environment for clients of Crisis Assistance Ministry and Jackets for Jobs. TJX continues to provide clothing deliveries and support helping people move from dependency toward independence.
The story of TJX’s commitment to providing meaningful jobs for individuals with potential barriers to employment in the U.S. started in 1996. TJX Chairman Ben Cammarata, then TJX’s CEO, traveled to Capitol Hill and promised President Bill Clinton and Congress that TJX would hire 5,000 welfare recipients within three years. This was at a time when the country was challenged over how to break the cycle of multi-generational welfare dependency. TJX’s commitment helped define what a positive change could look like. The power of work as a key element in transforming lives was validated when we doubled our goal, hiring 10,000 welfare recipients in three years. This placed us on the path to becoming a leader in the Welfare-to-Work movement. Over the years, TJX has provided work for more than 175,000 people receiving some form of government assistance.
In addition to its focus on the Welfare-to-Work program, the TJX Workforce Initiatives group, in tandem with The TJX Foundation and our community partnerships program, works closely with community-based organizations (CBOs) to develop partnerships for our Company and support our goal of retaining a diverse workforce. The group also facilitates the building of employment relationships between the CBOs and our stores and distribution centers. These relationships are beneficial on many levels: job seekers gain self-confidence and learn about retail career opportunities; TJX hires enthusiastic Associates referred from a pool of pre-screened candidates and benefits from federal, state and local tax credit and incentive programs; and CBOs expand outreach efforts and continue to attract government and private funding because of demonstrated success in working with TJX.
In 2011, our Workforce Initiatives group held its first “best practices” summit, with Associates attending from our stores, distribution centers and corporate offices. In 2012, TJX launched an internal award program called the Workforce Initiatives Distinction Awards, which recognizes the exemplary work of many of our regions, districts, stores and distribution centers with CBOs, non-traditional work programs, and people with disabilities. In addition to internal recognition, we are proud that many of our stores and management teams have received “Employer of the Year” or “Exemplary Employer” awards from our external community partners for providing jobs and work experience to individuals with barriers to employment. In the past two years, we received approximately 100 of these awards from local community-based organizations.
Supporting a more diverse Associate population is important throughout our global operations. For example, TJX Europe remains committed to making our European workplace more accessible to people with disabilities, working with a number of partners to help physically disadvantaged groups access training and employment within our business.
Disaster Relief Efforts
In addition to our focus on children, women and families, our giving extends to the community at large. Through our support of the American Red Cross, TJX has provided substantial funding for a variety of relief efforts, including the American Red Cross' Massachusetts Food Pantry. TJX also supports the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which assists individuals and families whose lives have been struck by natural disaster. As a member of the Red Cross' Annual Disaster Giving Program, we contributed to services that helped the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast of the United States in October 2012. Over the years, our contributions to this vital fund have helped victims of the Joplin, Missouri, tornado, Haitian earthquake, California wildfires, Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami, to name just a few.
In 2012, in addition to the substantial support we already provide to the Red Cross’ Annual Disaster Giving Program, U.S. brands, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods conducted an in-store fund-raising campaign to benefit those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, where customer donations at the register were matched dollar for dollar by TJX, up to $500,000. In total, through the Company’s direct donations and our fund-raising event, we made it possible for the Red Cross to receive over $1.5 million to help relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy!
Our Associates Make a Difference
We believe our Associates’ volunteer efforts breathe life into our Company’s core values of integrity, mutual respect and caring, while tapping the leadership skills, compassion and altruism of our Associates. Many of the volunteer opportunities undertaken add a new dimension to the lives of participating Associates while offering the communities in which we operate greater access to a talented pool of people and increased number of volunteer hours.
When we are able, we couple our Associate volunteerism with our regional targeting program, which invites Associates in our stores, offices, resource groups and distribution centers to recommend organizations in their communities to receive charitable grants through The TJX Foundation. Our Youth Business Institute and Jackets for Jobs programs, mentioned earlier, are excellent examples of leveraging the strength of Associate volunteers within our community relations and charitable giving efforts. Regional targeting of charities makes our philanthropic efforts more localized and meaningful for both our Associates and customers. Further, our Associates volunteer their time and talent in a number of meaningful ways, including fund-raising, mentoring and lending their leadership as directors on nonprofit boards.
Many Associates are actively engaged in fund-raising, donating time and money to various charities. In the U.S., since 1991, TJX Associates have been big supporters of the United Way’s annual fund-raising campaign. In 2012, more than 33,000 Associates participated in the annual workplace campaign, donating substantial funds to innovative programs that advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for those served. U.S. Associates are also actively engaged in supporting other national causes, and what started as smaller, grass-roots efforts have grown into national campaigns. For example, our U.S. Loss Prevention group leads efforts for TJX Associates’ participation in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks that occur throughout the country each fall. In 2012, this group rallied together 55 teams in 27 states, with over 1,900 Associates, family members and friends raising significant monies for breast cancer research and support.
In Canada, our Associates have been strong supporters of the annual Covenant House Cause and Effect Campaign. Covenant House Toronto is a widely respected organization that advocates for homeless youth in Canada. In collaboration with community partners, Covenant House serves the largest homeless youth population in Canada and provides a comprehensive range of housing and support services to meet the needs of homeless youth. In addition to their monetary contributions, for more than five years, our Associates have enthusiastically volunteered their time at Canada's largest youth shelter to help serve food, stock supplies and bring hope to young people to help them move from a life on the street to a life with a future.
At TJX Europe, T.K. Maxx and HomeSense Associates in the U.K. and Ireland are encouraged to volunteer and raise funds for the charitable causes they personally care about. Our Community Fund provides grants for individual Associates or Associate groups to support local causes close to their hearts. The Fund has supported over 300 local causes, from supporting children with multiple sclerosis to providing art and music workshops for socially disadvantaged children. In Germany, T.K. Maxx supports charity partner Children for a Better World, which provides afternoon care programs for socially disadvantaged children and young people, offering them a hot meal and a range of recreational activities. In Poland, stores are partnered with local charities, for which they raise funds, sell merchandise and make donations.