It’s in the jeans — Schwan fundraiser tops $1M mark

MARSHALL – Schwan is synonymous with Marshall. It has been pretty much since founder Marvin Schwan loaded his Dodge van with his family’s ice cream to deliver it to rural families back in 1952.

Over the years, Schwan has grown and has made numerous changes. Through all the international company’s evolution, one thing has remained a constant: the company’s financial support of its true home base of Marshall. And one of the driving forces behind the company’s efforts to give back has been its “Jean Day” program that has reached a milestone.

Schwan employees have donated $1 every Friday, or “Jean Day,” since 1999. On Wednesday, the company announced “Jean Day” has raised more than $1 million, which has been donated to community organizations and Second Harvest Heartland.

“I think it’s so very exciting,” Schwan Community Relations Manager Theresa Zaske said. “A dollar doesn’t seem like very much – I spend more on coffee than that, but it all adds up. I cannot believe how much our employees have raised. And we’ve helped so many organizations.”

The $1 million total includes employee contributions and dollar-for-dollar matches from the company and Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation.

The Jean Day program is coordinated by a group of employee volunteers who collect donations from employees when they wear jeans on Friday, Schwan said in a news release. The donations are not mandatory, but employees are encouraged to donate $1. The same Schwan team selects the organizations that will benefit from the money raised.

According to The Schwan Food Co., the program has benefited more than 190 charitable programs primarily in the Marshall area, since launching in Marshall in 1999. The funds raised are donated to organizations that provide basic needs such as hunger relief. Some groups include local food shelves, hospice care and organizations serving people in need.

Employees in Bloomington began participating in the program in 2013. Their collections help Second Harvest Heartland, which is affiliated with Feeding America, a nonprofit organization working to end hunger in the United States. The dollar-for-dollar donations by employees were matched by The Schwan Food Company until 2013. Since then, Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation has been responsible for matching the donations from employees.


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