Jude House, Lifestyles and Farming 4 Hunger receive more than $80,000 in grants via Wills Group employee matching grants and the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund

The Wills Group announced the distribution of more than $115,000 in grants to regional and national charitable organizations, with three nonprofit organizations that serve Southern Maryland – Jude House, Lifestyles of Maryland Foundation and Farming 4 Hunger – set to receive $82,238. More than 90% of the grants distributed by The Wills Group will support charitable organizations in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

The Lifestyles of Maryland Foundation will receive $29,668 for general operating support. Annually, Lifestyles serves approximately 14,000 individuals providing emergency assistance, transportation, housing, job training, and food.

Farming 4 Hunger (F4H) will receive $27,570 for general operating support. Farming 4 Hunger hosts more than 5,000 volunteers, groups, individuals and families at Serenity Farm, and provides 26% of the fresh food that goes to the Maryland Food Bank. Jude House will receive $25,000 to assist with its efforts to refurbish a new home in Bel Alton, MD for women in recovery.

“The Wills Group, our companies – including SMO Energy and Dash In Food Stores –and our employees are honored to present these organizations with support to help ensure they continue to provide essential services in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties,” said Lock Wills, Chairman, CEO and President of The Wills Group.

The grants are just one aspect of The Wills Group Community Engagement Program, which was restructured in 2016 as part of activities organized to honor the company’s 90th Anniversary. During the past year, The Wills Group revisited and expanded its Community Engagement effort, which now includes paid leave for volunteer activities and a matching fund to extend employee charitable giving.

In addition, the Wills Group also created the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund, a charitable fund established by The Wills Group in 2016 to honor Julian Blacklock “Blackie”Wills, the third President and CEO of The Wills Group. The Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund is designed to carry on Blackie Wills’ commitment to community and civic engagement.

“These grants would not be possible without the incredible enthusiasm and generosity of everyone who works at The Wills Group,” added Wills. “In 2016, we saw a 58% increase in total employee participation in The Wills Group’s Charitable Match Campaign. While we have welcomed the opportunity to volunteer and work with each of these three organizations, it’s gratifying to see that our team is also equally committed to providing direct financial support.”

The primary focus for The Wills Group Community Engagement program is to support efforts that ensure that no child is hungry; people have opportunity to live in a safe and healthy home; and families can move forward with access to education and economic opportunity.

Since 2006, the company has donated more than $1.9 million to communities across Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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