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Social Responsibility

Kemin is dedicated to creating a better future through our commitment to charitable giving, nonprofit partnerships, and engagement in our Kemin communities around the globe.

The heart of our charitable ethics began with our founders, R.W. and Mary Nelson. As Kemin continues to grow and become increasingly involved with meaningful causes close to our vision to improve the quality of life around the world, we honor and continue their strong sense of responsibility to the global community.

“We have a responsibility to return to our community and the world a portion of what we earn from our endeavors.”
 – Mary Nelson, Co-founder of Kemin Industries

Focus Areas & Sponsorship Applications

At Kemin, we center our global charitable giving and community engagement initiatives around four pillars: 

  • Science and general education

  • Affordable housing and food security

  • Sustainability 

  • Creation of vibrant communities

Corporate Sponsorships 

Operating by calendar year, an internal Kemin committee reviews all corporate-level sponsorship requests each quarter. 

General Guidelines

  • Requests that align with our four pillars are given priority consideration. 

  • A focus within the communities where Kemin operates is an important factor when selecting initiatives to sponsor, as we want to best support our employees, customers, and their quality of life where they live and work. 

  • Apply for sponsorships as soon as possible to be considered for support during the calendar year. 

  • Event sponsorship requests must be submitted at least 90 days in advance of the event date. 

Submit a corporate sponsorship request.

Charitable Contributions Committee 

Comprised of U.S.-based Kemin employees and chaired by Mary Nelson, the co-founder of Kemin, this group meets monthly to review requests and welcomes ongoing submissions for smaller-scale sponsorships, in-kind donations and volunteer opportunities. Contact Us to submit a request or inquiry. 

Community Partnerships

As a socially responsible company, Kemin works closely with a variety of organizations, including, but not limited to, those listed below.

World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) is Kemin’s largest global community partner, and together, work to improve the quality and safety of the worldwide food supply chain. The World Food Programme was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas. As one of the world's leading humanitarian agencies, WFP fights hunger worldwide and provides food assistance in emergencies and programs that help communities improve nutrition and build resilience.

Using our extensive knowledge and expertise in food technologies, we impact more than 25 million people each year through our partnership. 

As one of WFP’s first corporate partners, Kemin has worked with the United Nations agency for more than a decade to assist with complex and evolving food quality and safety strategy. We provide critical assistance as WFP continues to expand the development and implementation of a Food Safety Quality Management System and Quality Culture within the organization. By sharing Kemin’s expertise in food safety and quality control, we help prepare WFP to better assist with emergency food programs, especially in crisis situations and war-torn areas.

In 2022, Kemin formally extended our partnership with World Food Programme and will continue to provide services, including laboratory analysis in Belgium and expertise in quality management from the U.S.A., to help achieve Zero Hunger, one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Habitat for Humanity

For more than two decades, Kemin team members have donated volunteer hours and lent their support to Habitat for Humanity’s important work to provide housing to those in need around the world. 

At our global headquarters, Kemin employees have helped build homes for deserving low-income families through Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.

Kemin teams across the globe raised funds and sent an international team of 40 employees to the Kavrepalanchok District of Nepal to help Habitat for Humanity rebuild the area after a devastating earthquake. Along with a corporate match, Kemin teams sent $90,000 to assist with relief efforts. 

In 2018, Kemin employees from five continents traveled to Brazil to build cisterns for families in need as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Water for Lives program. 


Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council

As a member of the Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council, Kemin supports and shapes the direction of STEM education in our home state and prepares students to become leaders in finding solutions for the global challenges our world faces.

In 2014, Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin and then co-chair of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, polled a number of Kemin scientists to find out who or what piqued their interest in pursuing a career in STEM. After discovering the vast majority were influenced by an educator, Dr. Nelson and the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council established the annual IowaSTEM Teacher Award to honor educators whose leadership and dedication in the classroom inspire Iowa’s students to develop a passion for STEM. These teachers are making a difference in the lives of students by providing excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning and helping students become the innovators, critical thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow.

Kemin continues to sponsor the Iowa STEM Teacher Award each year, recognizing one teacher from each of Iowa’s six STEM regions with a cash prize for them and their classrooms. 

In addition to Dr. Chris Nelson’s former chairmanship, Emily Fuerst, Research and Development Director for Kemin Crop Technologies, currently serves as a council member. 


In 1999, Herb Elliot, a now-retired Kemin employee, played the role of Santa Claus on a visit to what was then known as the Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) in Des Moines, just up the street from where Kemin’s global headquarters is now located. Heartbroken after seeing children without the joy of family or presents at Christmas time, he was inspired to make a difference and organized a fundraiser among Kemin employees.

Since Elliot’s inspiration in 1999, the Kemin Ellipsis Charity Auction has become an annual event, raising more than USD $861,000 in donations. The funds raised during the event go toward holiday gifts for children living in the shelter, and the remainder go toward the nonprofit organization’s growing operational needs.

The World Food Prize

For almost 30 years, Kemin has been an active partner with The World Food Prize, founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner and Iowa native Norman Borlaug and headquartered in Des Moines. The World Food Prize honors outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improve the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Together, Kemin and The World Food Prize work to alleviate hunger around the globe and draw attention and resources to the challenges facing food security worldwide.

Kemin Hope Primary School

After an earthquake devastated the Sichuan Province of China in 2008, Kemin team members around the globe raised funds to help rebuild the area. Through employee donations and a Kemin corporate match, Kemin financed the rebuilding of a primary school in Qin Chang village, southwest of Chengdu.

A decade ago, Kemin Hope Primary School opened with modern facilities and learning environments that accommodate 300 students and 10 teachers. In the years since, Kemin has continued to support the school by awarding scholarships to the highest-achieving students each year.



For inquiries regarding sponsorships or community engagement opportunities,
contact Head of Worldwide Communications Lauren M.G. Burt.

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