SEATTLE (News release) -- Weyerhaeuser Company announced the launch of a new program that will provide targeted support to five of its rural operating communities, starting with Zwolle, La., and the northwest Louisiana region. The new program, called THRIVE, involves a commitment from Weyerhaeuser to invest $1 million in each community over the next several years. As part of this $5 million investment, the company will work with innovative partners -- including businesses, nonprofits and governments -- to further support these communities through grants and other types of funding and local engagement.
"Giving back to our operating communities has been foundational to our company since our first days at Weyerhaeuser, and we are incredibly excited for the launch of our THRIVE program," says Devin W. Stockfish, president and chief executive officer. "We made our first donation as a company in 1903 and have always understood that supporting and making a positive impact on our operating communities is essential for our long-term success. We see tremendous opportunity to make a real difference through this program, and we're looking forward to amplifying the support we can provide as a company and community member."
As part of the program, Weyerhaeuser will work closely with local leaders and other stakeholders to tailor investments and help ensure all plans and priorities make sense at the community level -- and that the company is providing the appropriate resources and scale to be effective. In and around Zwolle, where the company operates a wood products manufacturing facility, those plans include working with partners to address challenges in areas such as housing, broadband connectivity, education or workforce development and specific needs such as infrastructure replacement.
"The town of Zwolle is excited for our partnership with Weyerhaeuser and their new THRIVE program, which will bring important investments to our community and help make Zwolle a community that 'thrives' on excellence," says Marvin Frazier, mayor of Zwolle. "We have a longstanding relationship with Weyerhaeuser's mill in Zwolle and look forward to building on our partnership as we work together to address some of our community's most pressing needs."
Weyerhaeuser expects to announce additional THRIVE communities next year. Selected communities represent areas where Weyerhaeuser has a significant presence (in Louisiana, the company operates five manufacturing facilities, manages 1.35 million acres of timberland and employs more than 1,000 people); where the company has a history of employee and leadership engagement; where there are opportunities to take advantage of external resources, such as federal or state infrastructure grants, to strengthen advocacy efforts; and where Weyerhaeuser can partner with other employers, nonprofits and community leaders to amplify efforts and impact on the ground.
"We want to provide the support these communities need, but we know we can't do it alone," says Nancy Thompson, senior director of advocacy and philanthropy for Weyerhaeuser. "We are excited to partner with local leaders and grassroots groups to help identify the areas of greatest need and opportunity, and we'll build on what we learn with our first THRIVE community to ensure we're making the greatest possible difference in these communities and everywhere we operate."