2020
Community Engagement Report

Keeping Lives in Motion

“The challenges we faced in 2020 as a company, and as individuals, families, and community members, were unprecedented and unrelenting. Like many, our top priority was to ensure the safety of those we care about. The year stretched all of us beyond our capacities, and for us at the Wills Group, it put our purpose — Lives in Motion — to the test.”

Lock Wills
President, Chairman, and CEO
Wills Group, Inc.

Listening to Our Partners
on the Frontlines

Since the onset of the pandemic, the number of people in the United States facing food insecurity was projected to rise to more than 50 million, including 17 million children. In response, food banks nationwide stepped up to ensure our neighbors impacted by the crisis have the food and essentials they need.

All of us at the Wills Group were proud to support our regional food bank and local nonprofit partners working on the frontlines in 2020 to address the increased and urgent needs of our communities. Through the hard work and dedication of our employees, we were able to increase our financial support and implement new ways of working with our partners.

  • 4.2 billion meals
    distributed by food banks nationwide from March through October
  • 80%+
    of food banks across the country served more people than in 2019
  • 1 in 6 Americans
    could face hunger as a result of the pandemic

Source: Feeding America

Responding to the Growing
Hunger Crisis

The Wills Group and Dash In provided $500,000 in unrestricted grants in 2020 to four regional food banks and three local nonprofit partners to address hunger issues related to COVID-19.

As the pandemic spread globally in March, the Wills Group and Dash In worked quickly to provide resources and support to regional food banks and nonprofit organizations, lending a helping hand as our partners struggled to keep up with the increased demand for food.

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Lifting Up Our Local Heroes Working on the Frontlines

Dash In and its employees put their commitment to the communities they serve into action with the launch of the new Lift Up program, supporting healthcare professionals and first responders working on the frontlines across the more than 50 communities where Dash In stores are located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The first Dash In Lift Up activation provided free breakfast sandwiches to all healthcare professionals and first responders who visited any Dash In location from the end
of April through early May.

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  • 2,500
    Snack-O-Grams delivered to 10 healthcare organizations and fire departments

“It was incredible to see all of the Dash In employees coming together to deliver the Snack-O-Grams… we really value the kind words we received – and the snacks!”

Katie Blaha
Development and Events Officer, Baltimore Washington Medical Center Foundation

Hosting a Mobile Food Bank in La Plata

On July 8, the Wills Group’s headquarters in La Plata, Maryland, became the location for a mobile food bank. This mobile food distribution site enabled the Maryland Food Bank — working with the Maryland Department of Transportation, along with local officials and volunteers — to safely and efficiently provide boxes of food through a contactless drive-through.

The Wills Group was proud to collaborate with local nonprofit partners, including End Hunger Charles County, LifeStyles of Maryland, and Servants of Christ Ministries, to host this essential event and distribute 250 fresh produce meal kits and 400 gallons of milk to local individuals and families in need.

  • 250 fresh produce meal kits provided
  • 400 gallons of milks distributed

Coming Together to Raise Awareness and Funds

The Wills Group raised almost $175,000 in support of the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund at its fourth annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic, held on September 14, at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland.

While we were able to host this year’s tournament in adherence to the Maryland state and CDC guidelines, we knew some of our partners would not be able to join us. However, many were able to contribute to the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund — a welcome surprise that gave new meaning to, “We’ll be there in spirit.”

Funds raised at this year’s Blackie Wills Golf Classic will support ongoing community engagement efforts to end childhood hunger and respond to the increased needs of individuals and families in local communities impacted by COVID-19.

  • $174,970
    raised at the fourth annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic

Join Us in Addressing the Hunger Crisis

  • Need: Help Capital Area Food Bank purchase more food to meet increased demand.

  • Need: Assist Feed More in raising funds to increase their food supply to feed more people in need.

  • Need: Support Food Bank of Delaware’s mobile distribution efforts to deliver food to the hardest-to-reach communities.

  • Need: Join Maryland Food Bank in its efforts to raise $28 million in critical funds to address rising food insecurity.

“The Wills Group’s donation went toward supporting Capital Area Food Bank’s mobile food pantries. Between July 1 and September 30, 2020, our mobile pantries distributed over 425,400 pounds of food, approximately 75 percent of which was fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Radha Muthiah
President and CEO, Capital Area Food Bank

“With the help of the Wills Group, we were able to support our partner agencies working on the ground to get food to communities that need it most. The funding also enabled us to build on our fresh produce program and increase distribution via mobile pantries.”

Doug Pick
CEO and President, Feed More

“With the help of the Wills Group, the Food Bank of Delaware expanded our mobile food pantries and extended our backpack program to be offered year-round, ensuring children have access to food they would typically receive through school breakfast and lunch programs.”

Larry Haas
Chief Development Officer, Food Bank of Delaware

“The donation from the Wills Group went directly to food purchasing, which was our biggest need in 2020. From March to October, we distributed more than 42 million pounds of food statewide — a 96-percent increase from 2019.”

Carly Frank
Director of Development, Maryland Food Bank

THANK YOU

The Wills Group would like to recognize the members of the Community Leadership Team and the community engagement committees. In spite of the many challenges we faced in 2020, they selflessly invested themselves in carrying out the Wills Group’s commitment to community engagement.

  • Community Leadership Team
    • Lock Wills (Co-Chair)
    • Tara Handy (Co-Chair)
    • Mary Jane Garner
    • Ken Halperin
    • Don Hamberger
    • Amanda Nelson
    • Mark Oliver
    • Caitlin Peden
    • Brooke Rieman
    • Sam Stornelli
    • Blackie Wills
    • Joe Wills
    • Michele Wills
  • Community Impact Committee
    • Amanda Nelson (Co-Chair)
    • Caitlin Peden (Co-Chair)
    • Mary Jane Garner (Incoming Co-Chair)
    • Sam Stornelli (Incoming Co-Chair)
    • Mindy Butler
    • Amanda Campbell
    • Saher Jilani
    • Kim Purdy
    • Sajid Rahim
    • Anthony Young
    • Karen Zamostny
  • Match Campaign Committee
    • Ken Halperin (Chair)
    • Veronica Breck
    • John Brucculeiri
    • Sharon Espinosa
    • David Lipshaw
    • Aaron Mace
    • Karen Zamostny
  • Community Events Committee
    • Don Hamberger (Co-Chair)
    • Brooke Rieman (Co-Chair)
    • Brady Appleton
    • Brian Fenwick
    • Steve Gagliardi
    • Huong Hogan
    • Susan Peery
    • Michelle Reeves
    • Jim Tisack
    • Lindsay Singleton
    • Tabitha Wilson