Giant donor

When you have “giant” as part of your name, people expect big things.

Giant Eagle lives up to that reputation with its philanthropy programs.

In the Cleveland area alone, the company has donated $1.8 million in educational equipment to schools during the last five years, donated 2.7 million pounds of food to the Cleveland Food Bank last year and made a $100,000 commitment to Race for the Cure during the past four years. This doesn’t include local donations and miscellaneous other programs it participates in.

The total estimated investment in the Cleveland community is $5.2 million during the past five years, and this does not include donations made by the Giant Eagle Foundation.

Giant Eagles uses a simple acronym to highlight the areas on which it focuses the bulk of its giving: CHEF.

“It stands for community, health, education and family,” says Anthony Rego, president, Northeast Ohio. “We look at all the various submissions and review them to see how they fit under the overall Giant Eagle theme of CHEF.”

The list of organizations that receive assistance reads like a directory of Cleveland-area nonprofit agencies: Baldwin Wallace College, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cleveland Museum of Art, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cleveland Zoological Society and many others.

“We see philanthropy as important for a basic reason,” says Rego. “We feel we have to give back to the communities in which we do business. We do it with our time, our talent and our money. We support local food banks and causes like the United Way. We are even the official supermarket of the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians. We like putting money into the economy of Cleveland.”

Donations flow not only from the corporate office but also from each neighborhood store.

“Each store gets its own budget,” says Rego. “It allows us to be giving to the community in a very local area. It helps get all of our employees involved. It starts at a high level, but we want to make sure it gets filtered down and woven into the culture of our business.

“We care about our employees and customers, but we also care about the general population of all the cities we are involved in.” How to reach: Giant Eagle, (216) 292-7000