Community Support & Crisis Response
Our business thrives when our communities thrive. McDonald’s is a part of so many communities around the world and that comes with a responsibility to help support people. We think globally and act locally to better connect with our customers, employees and wider society.
With our size and scale – over 39,000 locations worldwide – we’re uniquely positioned to give something back to the communities we serve.
The global COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020 has heightened the importance of food security and health and safety for communities. Throughout it all, we’ve been able to be a critical resource – helping feed and support the most vulnerable people in our communities – elderly and isolated neighbors, families, and kids who depend on school meals.
The communities in which McDonald’s operates are rich with potential, but every community experiences its own challenges. Because most of our restaurants are run by independent Franchisees, McDonald’s has deep roots in communities and knows how to best be there for them, whether that’s providing a delicious meal, volunteering in the neighborhood or helping during a time of need.
McDonald’s has also established shared value relationships with community-based organizations across the world. These relationships help provide us with direct insights into issues and challenges facing our communities – where Franchisees are neighbors as well as business owners.
Our community strategy focuses on three key areas:
- Local support – Together with our Franchisees, we are proud to contribute to local communities around our restaurants across the world through sponsorship, funding and resources. From giving kids access to free football training across the U.K. & Ireland, to providing grants and sponsorships to non-profit organizations in the U.S, we are committed to supporting the communities we serve.
- Volunteering – Giving back has been a celebrated part of McDonald’s culture since we opened our first restaurant. All around the world, Company employees, Franchisees and suppliers volunteer their time, skills and energy to support local communities through our Global Volunteer Program.
- Crisis response – When it comes to preparing for and addressing disasters, we primarily work through our long-standing partnership with the Red Cross. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected McDonald’s operations, people, customers and communities. We took a multi-pronged approach to tackling it – from supporting our Franchisees who are small businesses facing financial pressure, to ensuring no breaks in our supply chain, and partnering with the Red Cross to support communities in need.
The Illinois Red Cross is grateful for the McDonald’s corporate employees' four-day commitment to volunteering alongside us at the United Center vaccination site. During this time, it is critical that partners like McDonald's come together and support our community as we all work toward recovery.
Don Herring, Chief Development Officer, American Red Cross
Helping Support the Sustainable Development Goals
Our support of charitable work and crisis response helps contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:
McDonald’s also makes investments that help build stronger communities around the world. In 2020, McDonald’s investments, which include capital expenditures and taxes paid, amounted to approximately $3 billion.
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Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic
While we were faced with new challenges and business disruption resulting from COVID-19, we leveraged the strengths of our global System to manage through the crisis.
Keeping Restaurants Running Safely During the Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, McDonald’s implemented elevated practices informed by guidance from health ministries in the majority of the countries where we operate, as well as through recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
We worked with Franchisees around the world to evaluate operational feasibility and to adapt and continue to serve customers where it was safe to do so. At the peak of the crisis, approximately 75% of our restaurants around the world were operational, the majority of which adapted to focus on Drive-Thru, delivery and takeout.
We put in place operational measures for closing and reopening restaurants, protecting customers, and supporting our crew and keeping them safe. We continue to utilize our long-standing relationships with external experts in the fields of epidemiology, medical, microbiology and chemistry in an ongoing effort to elevate the hygiene and safety standards and procedures for our restaurants to protect our crew and our customers.
Watch the video below to see how our safety procedures came to life in Gaia Mafamude in Portugal.
Visit our People Safety page to learn more about the programs we developed to keep people safe.
Helping Communities Access the Support They Needed
The McDonald’s global System stepped up to help support communities to meet their basic needs. For example:U.S. – McDonald’s provided roughly 12 million Thank You Meals to healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics who helped keep us safe during the pandemic. McDonald’s has also made commitments to support truck drivers across the country, and donated $1 million to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to ensure non-profits in our home state have the supplies they need during this time.
- Morocco – Crew members and local partners in Morocco donated and delivered free McDonald’s meals to hospitals when our restaurants were closed.
- Malaysia – Provided around 63,000 McDonald’s meals to healthcare workers all over Malaysia as an appreciation for their courage and commitment during these challenging times.
- Italy - In addition to donating food and meals to charities and first responders across Italy, McDonald’s, together with RMHC, franchisees and suppliers, donated €1 million to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients at a new hospital in Milan and the “Vittore Buzzi” Children’s Hospital.
Ensuring Our Supply Chain Never Broke
As a supply chain, we are constantly planning for natural disasters and facility closures, making contingencies to divert supply from one area to another in times of crisis. This resilience and forward-looking approach ensured we could provide a consistent, essential source of food to communities that faced growing food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment during the pandemic. It became critical to balance supply and demand so that we could do our part to feed communities and donate bulk ingredients and meals to those most in need. Visit our Food Waste & Donations page to learn more about how we donated food to meet these needs.
Most of our restaurants are owned and operated by independent small and medium businesspeople. When the pandemic hit, we knew it was critical to work with Franchisees around the world to support financial liquidity during this period of uncertainty. We granted the deferral of cash collection for certain rent and royalties earned from Franchisees , and we worked with suppliers and lenders to extend Franchisee payment terms when possible.
Providing Job Security for People in Germany
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cut staff time in many of our company-owned restaurants in certain markets because restaurant hours were limited as a response to the outbreak. Meanwhile, grocery stores were left understaffed. To give McDonald’s restaurant workers in Germany the opportunity to keep working, we created a unique partnership with ALDI, where workers could fill in at the grocery stores. The top priority was to help franchisees and restaurant workers plan for the future and have a sense of security.
Volunteering to Support Our Communities
Our Global Volunteer Program launched in 2019. McDonald’s individuals from our offices and Company-owned restaurants around the world dedicate their time to support important causes in their communities, including virtual volunteer opportunities. Through the program, individuals have been volunteering to help reduce barriers to employment or education for young people, support RMHC®, or address the unique needs of their communities.. In 2020, virtual volunteer opportunities were created to allow employees to give back to their communities during COVID-19. In the U.S., employees participated in virtual career panels and resume/ job application workshops to benefit youth-serving organizations a part of the Youth Opportunity program.
Encouraging environmental volunteering at McDonald’s Russia
In 2021, McDonald’s Russia partnered with a leading environmental advocacy platform, +1City, to organize clean-ups around the country. Volunteers were rewarded for participating in the events with free menu items, redeemable through the McDonald’s app. Just the beginning of our partnership with +1City, users of the platform can choose to sign up for events in 170 cities around Russia. This innovative approach to volunteering is increasing engagement in the communities we serve, getting employees and customers alike involved in our commitment to sustainability.
McDonald’s Global Volunteer Awards
In June 2019, during U.S. National Volunteer Week, we launched new tools to make it easier for everyone in the McDonald’s System to volunteer. To mark the occasion, we invited Franchisees, suppliers and Company staff to nominate colleagues who make a meaningful difference; people who donate their time and talents to a charity they are passionate about. Of the 234 individuals put forward, 12 finalists and six winners were selected, each receiving a donation to their charity of choice.
Supporting Local Community Programs Around the World
Encouraging Kids’ Football
McDonald's U.K. support over 5,000 local football clubs across the U.K., providing 250,000 kits, rewarding volunteers and holding community football days. In 2018, we also launched a new long-term commitment to improve the standard of grassroots football in the U.K. with the renewal of our partnership with four Football Associations (FAs) for a further four years.
Having worked closely with all four U.K. FAs over the past 16 years, McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the country. Building on the huge growth of grassroots football over the past decade and a half, the next four years will see the introduction of a new, participation-based program aiming to provide 5 million hours of football training for children across the U.K. by 2022.
Established in 1992 by McDonald’s Czech Republic, the McDonald’s Cup is the largest football tournament for school pupils aged 6–11 in the country. More than 50,000 children from over half of all primary schools participate in the McDonald’s Cup every year.
We are proud to build and maintain strong relationships with local communities around the world. In the U.S., by coordinating focused financial, volunteer and in-kind support, we are able to support non-profit organizations to deliver positive impacts in their communities. In 2020, we provided over $1.7 million in grants and sponsorships, and since 2015 our contributions total over $14 million. Additionally, in excess of $3 million was made in food donations and more in face mask donations to communities around the U.S.
Throughout 2020, we donated $20 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC) as part of a $100 million commitment over the next five years. Through a social media campaign designed to raise awareness, we donated $100 in the name of each participant that posted supportive videos to their Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Facebook using #HereForRMHC.
In addition, together with our Franchisees in the U.S., we donated $250,000 to Reach Higher’s Emergency Grants Relief Fund to support first-generation, low-income students and students of color who are on the path to obtaining a degree.
McDonald’s also matches funds raised by Company staff up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a Vice President or Board member). Since 2015, over $3 million has been matched by the Company. We also offer a payroll-giving program so that employees can donate to charities of their choice in a tax-efficient way.
More in Our Purpose & Impact
Ronald McDonald House Charities®
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Food Waste & Donations
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At McDonald’s, safety is paramount. We are committed to keeping everyone safe.Read More