Categories: GrantmakingTags:

Author: Carmen Adamson

Sobeys Inc. is one of Canada’s largest retailer with grocery store operations across various banners in Canada including Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, FreshCo and more. In March 2020, Sobeys created the Community Action Fund to support local organizations across Canada that were in need due to the impacts of the pandemic. The Community Action Fund now supports organizations across Canada that align with the corporate giving pillars of Sobeys Inc. We sat down with Laura Brown, Manager Community Investment and Ryan Barberio, Specialist, Community Investment at Sobeys Inc. to learn more about how they got this program started.

Please give our readers a little background on how you defined the grants program at Sobeys Inc.

The Community Action Fund launched in March 2020 as a direct response to the increased need that organizations and communities were facing as a result of the pandemic. We accepted applications from organizations who were impacted by the pandemic and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in support to non-profit organizations across Canada.

We recently went through the process of creating and implementing a new corporate giving strategy. As part of this strategy we have two pillars, healthy bodies and healthy minds. The healthy bodies pillar focuses on non-profit partners like foodbanks and food-based organizations. Our healthy minds pillar is born out of a partnership with 13 children’s hospital foundation across Canada. This pillar is focused on child and youth mental health.

What were some important features of a grants management platform that you were looking for?

Prior to onboarding GrantsConnect we were managing part of this program manually where our team was accepting applications from a fillable form embedded in our banner websites. We knew that in order to streamline and expand our corporate giving programs that we would need to implement a new platform to accept and review applications and provide detailed reporting to our teammates and community partners. GrantsConnect allowed us to achieve this and also allowed us to set filters regarding eligibility, so we are reviewing applications from organizations that align to our corporate donation pillars.

Can you talk a little bit more about how you manage grant programs where applications are coming in from organizations across Canada with the need for local team members to review?

We set the system up to allow for flexibility for our team members to be able to meet local needs across the country. Store operations leaders are looking at their dashboard weekly, or on a biweekly basis. It is helpful to know that organizations applying for funding already align with our community investment pillars. This reduces the total number of applications our team is reviewing and allows us to quickly get funding to organizations whose applications have been approved in a timely manner. The feedback we have received from our employees accessing the system to review applications has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone has been very happy with how intuitive and user-friendly the system is.

Join us for a webinar

Laura Brown, Community Investment Manager at Sobeys Inc. will join this panel discussion.

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