Kroger's new Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative includes UofL
Kroger's new Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative includes UofL

The Kroger Louisville Division is making a $1.5 million pledge to the University of Louisville as part of a broad-ranging effort to reduce hunger and waste in the local community.

The gift will create the Kroger Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Fund at UofL. The fund will provide support in three main areas: diversity and inclusion, food security and sustainability and leadership development.

“Kroger is so proud to be part of this innovative and truly remarkable partnership,” said Ann Reed, Louisville Division President for Kroger. “We love the University of Louisville and all the wonderful programs that are available in the city through its leadership. Our combined efforts around food insecurity and sustainability and our focus on diversity and inclusion will drive innovation and improvement for Kroger and the university.”

Highlights of the Kroger gift include:

  • $80,000 annually for undergraduate scholarships, beginning in fall 2020. Strong preference will be given to low-income, under-represented minorities pursuing STEM+H careers. Kroger Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Scholars will develop and present projects to a panel of UofL, Kroger and community professionals. Projects will focus on such topics as food waste diversion, food access for underprivileged families and communities and recycling and sustainability initiatives.
  • $30,000 annually to UofL’s Office of Diversity & Equity to provide student services that will increase the likelihood of retention and degree completion of Black, Latinx, LGBTQ and female students.
  • $30,000 annually to create and fuel a UofL Employee Success Center. These funds will enable the center to provide leadership and professional development training to thousands of UofL staff and faculty.
  • $10,000 annually to UofL’s Sustainability Center for increased zero waste efforts and on-site composting expansion.

“We are thankful to the Louisville Kroger Division and its many associates for stepping up to assist the students, faculty and staff of the University of Louisville,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “This generous gift will greatly strengthen our efforts to foster diversity and inclusion, promote sustainability on campus and build the next generation of leaders.”

The Kroger gift includes support for the renovation and expansion of the Cardinal Cupboard and the donation of a vehicle to help volunteers gather items to stock the on-campus food pantry. The Kroger agreement also creates a partnership with the Kroger Mobile Market, through the Dare to Care Food Bank. The mobile market will make stops at the Belknap and Health Sciences Center campuses to provide healthy and convenient fresh food access.

UofL faculty and staff further stand to benefit through the creation of an exclusive discount program for all full- and part-time employees. By presenting a current UofL ID at checkout, faculty and staff will be offered special discounts and offers.

Through the partnership, Kroger dietitians, nutritionists and other experts also will host cooking classes and information sessions on nutrition and other topics.

Kroger’s Louisville Division operates 116 retail food stores in Kentucky, Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois. 

John Karman, III
John Karman joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2014 after a 20-plus year career as a Louisville journalist. He has served as director of media relations since 2015. In that role, he answers reporters’ inquiries and is the university’s main spokesperson. John was a reporter for Business First of Louisville from 1999 to 2013. There, he won numerous awards from the Louisville chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and American City Business Journals, parent company to Business First. John can die happy after seeing the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, although he would also enjoy another title.