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Monsanto To Give $1 Million To North County Initiatives

(courtesy Monsanto)

Monsanto is committing $1 million to support Ferguson and surrounding north St. Louis County communities.

Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said Monsanto took its time and tried to strike the right balance between donating to short-term and long-term initiatives.

"[The non-profits] are also a balance of agencies we’ve worked with for many, many years and also some new initiatives that I think have tremendous potential to make change in the long-term," Grant said.

The money will be divided between the following non-profit agencies for job development, education and economic vitality:

  • United Way of Greater St. Louis will receive $500,000 for its newly established Ferguson Fund to help those affected by the unrest in the suburb following Michael Brown’s death. Monsanto donated $4.1 million to the United Way of Greater St. Louis last year.
  • The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis will receive $200,000 to support the “Save Our Sons: Workforce Development Initiative,” which is geared toward men between the ages of 21 and 34 and helps them obtain GEDs, workforce training and  job placement. The money will also go toward the League’s Head Start program.
  • Reinvest North County Fund will receive $200,000 to provide immediate assistance to area businesses recovering from the product loss and damage to their stores. It will also support area school districts.
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri will receive $100,000 to help provide legal assistance to local residents experiencing personal hardships and to support the Children’s Legal Alliance Program.

Grant said many of Monsanto’s 4,000 local employees will continue to volunteer in the community. He said in the last four years the corporation has logged 100,000 volunteers hours.
"There’s a real groundswell of people who live and work in St. Louis who think there’s more they can do, so I think this is really a beginning," he said. "I don’t think this is solution in and of itself."

Monsanto is the latest Fortune 500 company based in St. Louis to commit financial assistance to the north county area.

Emerson, which is headquartered in Ferguson, announced in September it would donate $4.4 million to fund scholarships and youth employment efforts in the suburb and the surrounding region.

Centene Corporation is planning to build a new medical claims facility in Ferguson next year that will hire 150 to 200 people.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.