In July 2008, the second largest beer company in America was formed between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company. The new leadership team cast a vision for building its brand, assortment of great beers and corporate citizenship with an emphasis on becoming America’s Greatest Beer Company. Despite major investments and commitments to charitable organizations across the country, the awareness and visibility of the legacy companies’ efforts, both with a long-standing tradition of supporting community needs, were minimal. Community Affairs leaders began internal planning to chart the joint company’s philanthropic vision and strategy, working diligently to reconcile a collective approach to funding, infrastructure, core causes and community partnerships. With a preliminary strategy in place, MillerCoors sought Changing Our World’s counsel to continue the planning effort.
The key driver behind MillerCoors’ engagement with Changing Our World was to find the “sweet spot” for the company’s enterprise-wide philanthropic commitment and determine ways to bolster its presence in key headquarters and brewery communities.
Through a custom-designed planning process, MillerCoors learned important facts that influenced Changing Our World’s final recommendations. An in-depth analysis of the company’s giving history identified a high volume of donations being disbursed across five broadly defined focus areas. Executive interviews confirmed senior leadership was passionate about philanthropic investments and had high expectations for future giving to enhance the company’s reputation nationally and be awarded strategically within well-defined cause areas. A close look at peer companies provided guidelines for MillerCoors to consider with respect to funding opportunities, local giving program models, and benchmarks for budget allocations. Community profiles provided evidence that brewery cities had similar needs and they were growing; particularly in education, youth development, workforce training, and the conservation of natural resources.
Armed with this information, Changing Our World packaged a new strategic giving framework for MillerCoors that would strengthen its investment position in three core areas: Alcohol Responsibility, Water Stewardship, and Economic Empowerment. Recommendations were provided on how to specifically align employee engagement initiatives and to establish consistency and protocols for funneling resources into local markets or brewery communities.
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