Kemin Community Outreach & Involvement

Charitable Involvement

While Kemin strives to improve the quality of life by touching half the people of the world every day with our products and services, we also strive to have a positive impact on the communities we call home. Our employees support many organizations individually, while our company efforts are focused on underprivileged children, science, general education and affordable housing.

Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS)
In 1999 Herb Elliott, a now retired Kemin employee, went to YESS in the role of Santa Claus with other Kemin employees to deliver candy, fruit and pillow blankets donated by employees. While visiting what is known as the crisis nursery where they house children five years and younger, a young girl came up to Herb, put her arms around his leg and said, "I love you Santa". Choking back tears thinking about all the children spending Christmas in the shelter without the joy of family or gifts, he told the little girl that Santa loved her too. 

Herb was so touched by this experience he began thinking of ways Kemin could do more for the children at YESS and proposed a holiday craft auction with Kemin employees donating the items for the auction. The goal was to raise enough money to purchase gifts for each child living at the shelter over the holidays. The first year, employees raised $2,400 from 42 items auctioned, more than enough to purchase several gifts for each child and donate the remainder to Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) for growing expenses. The Kemin/YESS holiday auction has become an annual event with 12 auctions raising more than $250,000. 

Habitat for Humanity®
Since 2001, Kemin employees in Des Moines have donated hours of sweat equity to help build homes for low-income families through Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. The organization relies on businesses and individuals to help build homes for qualifying families who receive a 0% interest, 20-year mortgage for the value of the materials used to build the house. In 2010, Kemin employees built an entire house during Habitat for Humanity’s 20/10 Blitz Build, where 10 houses were built in 20 days. In 2011, Kemin employees raised more than $10,000 for Habitat’s Head of the House building competition where teams of men and women competed against each other to raise money for housing materials.

Kemin Hope Primary School
After an earthquake devastated Sichuan Province, China, in 2008, including a school in Qin Chang village, southwest of Chengdu, Kemin officials announced the company would collect and match employee donations that would be used to help rebuild the area. In July 2008, Kemin donated the money collected to rebuild Hope School. The school, re-named Kemin Hope Primary School, is a two-story building with six classrooms, one multifunctional room and one office. The structure accommodates more than 300 students and 10 teachers.

Today, more than 150 students in the Qin Chang Village of Sichuan Province are enjoying a positive learning experience in a modern and fully-equipped elementary school rebuilt in 2009. Kemin continues to support Hope School by providing scholarships to the highest achieving students each year. In September 2011, Kemin awarded 10 scholarships for outstanding academic achievement. In addition to the scholarship program, Kemin employees were active in the classroom teaching two-day courses in English, nutrition and sustainability for all students.


YESS™, is a trademark of Youth Emergency Services & Shelter of Iowa.

"Habitat for Humanity®" is a registered service mark owned by Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat® is a service mark of Habitat for Humanity International.

The Kemin Vision

Improving health, feeding a growing population, protecting our resources, and being a resource for others in need . . . these comprise our purpose. They’re our passion. They’re what move us forward and drive us constantly to do more. They’re about touching lives and improving life.

And as we see our world continue to change and grow, we continue to change, to foster new ways of thinking, to redefine our focus, and to expand our reach.

These are our stories: stories of partnership, innovation, growth, new discovery, and, most importantly, of lives changed.

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