Community Support & Crisis Response
McDonald’s is a part of so many communities around the world, and with that comes a responsibility to help support people, especially in times of need. We know that our business can only thrive if these communities thrive too – that’s why being a good neighbor is one of our core values. Thinking globally and acting locally isn’t just the right thing to do; it helps us better connect with our customers, employees and wider society.
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.
With our size and scale – over 38,000 locations worldwide and around 2.2 million people globally – we’re uniquely positioned to give something back to the communities we serve.
The communities in which McDonald’s operates are rich with potential, but every community experiences its own challenges. Because the majority 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 Francishees, 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 nonprofit 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 global 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 donate food and masks to communities in need.
The Red Cross is proud to count McDonald's Corporation as a partner to continue to provide people with much needed support during the pandemic as we help communities impacted by disasters big and small, and countless other crises.
Don Herring, chief development officer, American Red Cross
Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals
Our support of charitable work and crisis response contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:
Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic
While we were faced with new challenges and business disruption as a result of 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 how our safety procedures came to life in Gaia Mafamude in Portugal.
Helping Communities Access the Support They Needed
The McDonald’s global System stepped up to help support communities to meet basic needs. For example:
- Global – McDonald’s donated $3.1 million in food to support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, donations equate to nearly 3 million pounds of food, including dairy, beef (including over 1.2 million pounds of 100% USDA-inspected beef), produce, fruit and bakery items.
- U.S. – McDonald’s provided millions of 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 nonprofits in our home state have the supplies they need during this time.
- U.S. – 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.
- Latin America – Through our Youth Opportunity program we partnered with the International Youth Foundation and McDonald’s largest Franchisee in Latin America, Arcos Dorados to make a digital life skills curriculum available to youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Morocco – Crew members and local partners in Morocco donated and delivered free McDonald’s meals to hospitals and associations in cities around the country 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.
- Israel – Turned a McDonald’s Drive-Thru in Israel into a quick, convenient and safe testing site.
Ensuring Our Supply Chain Never Broke
As a supply chain, we are constantly planning for natural disasters and facility closures and making contingencies to divert supply from one area to another in times of crisis. While the industry struggled to maintain its supply during the early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald’s did not. Our supply chain team took quick and decisive action, leveraging its network of suppliers to keep providing food and important resources to many of the 38,000 restaurants in over 100 markets. We didn’t have a single break in supply globally for food, packaging, logistics or toys.
In our communities, school closures and rising unemployment meant that food insecurity was becoming an even bigger concern and 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.
Many 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 in almost all markets, 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 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 job security, and planning for the future of our employees and Franchisees.
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. For example, in 2019, in celebration of United Nations’ International Youth Day, McDonald’s individuals from our offices and Company-owned restaurants volunteered their time at events across the U.S. to celebrate the role of young people as essential partners in change.
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 employees, 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 winners were selected, each receiving a donation to their charity of choice.
Supporting Local Community Programs Around the World
Encouraging Kids’ Football
U.K.: We 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.
Czech Republic: 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 nonprofit organizations to deliver positive impacts in their communities. Through this program, in 2019 we provided over $1 million in grants and sponsorships, and since 2015 our contributions total over $13 million.
In 2019, McDonald’s USA donated nearly $33,000 to the Red Cross, Hawaii Food Bank and Northern Illinois Food Bank. In 2020, in excess of $3 million was made in food donations and more in face mask donations to communities around the U.S.
McDonald’s also matches funds raised by our employees 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.
McDonald’s, Franchisees and suppliers each create jobs in their respective communities and make investments that help build stronger communities around the world. In 2019, these investments, which include capital expenditures and taxes paid, amounted to approximately $4 billion.
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