The RAI companies’ foundations and corporate and employee giving broadly center on three critical areas — education, economic and social development, and arts and culture — where we believe we can make the most impact in the communities where we live and work. Even so, our companies and employees have interests that don’t always fit neatly into these three categories, so we do tackle other issues of need.
RAI, its subsidiaries and foundations support public school and community programs that prepare children to enter school ready to learn, as well as programs that focus on improving academic performance in impacted schools working to better the outcomes of students. Improving education helps our communities thrive and contributes to a high-quality future workforce for our companies. Our National Merit Scholarship Program rewards the hard-working children of our employees and retirees by providing support for their collegiate education.
In 2017, our educational giving also included support for:
- Project Impact, supporting the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools;
- Forsyth Technical Community College; and
- Winston-Salem State University.
Through the support of the United Way to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and the many organizations working with our youth, the community has seen its graduation rate increase from 70.7% in 2007 to 86.5% in 2017. Many of the educational programs supported by the corporate and foundation funds have made a positive difference in students’ success.
Supporting education and youth development is also a critical component of our youth tobacco prevention efforts and contributes to the health of our communities. Corporate and foundation giving is coordinated with our Youth Tobacco Prevention efforts, including the We Card Program and Right Decisions Right Now: Be Tobacco Free (RDRN), our free youth tobacco prevention program. We encourage employee engagement in RDRN by making grants to youth groups that participate in the program and had 864 employees present to 444 youth-focused organizations in 2017, a 75% increase over the previous year.
ECONOMIC & SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Supporting economic and social development of the communities in which employees live and work is the right thing to do for our communities and for our businesses. Contributing to the overall well-being of our communities creates an attractive environment for recruiting and retaining a high-performing talent base to our companies. We do this through the work of our foundations, through gifts of land, buildings and cash, and through employee volunteerism
In 2017, we worked with numerous organizations to provide support and contribute to the economic and social welfare of the regions in which we work, including the:
- United Way of Forsyth County;
- Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County;
- Authoring Action; and
- RiverRun International Film Festival.
In addition to monetary donations, RAI and its subsidiaries remain committed to ensuring that our companies’ formerly used facilities continue to play a vital role in economic development. RAI’s giving heritage began with Richard Joshua Reynolds and his family’s donations of land and buildings to organizations such as Wake Forest University. In later years, our donations of land and property have led to the redevelopment of downtown Winston-Salem to what is the now-vibrant Innovation Quarter, as well as the redevelopment of the Whitaker Park manufacturing site by a collaborative private-public sector nonprofit group.
ARTS & CULTURE
Reynolds American, its subsidiaries and foundations support preserving and promoting arts and culture, and preserving the history of our communities. The arts are vital to the vibrancy of our communities, benefit our current and future employees, and contribute to our local economies.
In 2017, the Reynolds American Foundation lent its support to various local cultural institutions, including the:
Old Salem Museums and Gardens; and
- Reynolda House Museum of American Art;
Supporting the preservation, promotion and advancement of American Indian culture in the United States is Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Foundation’s core focus. The Foundation provides funding to organizations that preserve and enhance American Indian culture and languages, including the:
- Institute for American Indian Arts;
- Indigenous Language Institute; and
- Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.