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General Mills expands Feeding Dreams® program: Community champions in 10 southeastern cities recognized


Online polls open today at; Cast a vote for your favorite community champion and show support for their amazing work

In its third year, Feeding Dreams has generated a strong following and much excitement. Continuing the grassroots program’s legacy of celebrating everyday heroes who are doing extraordinary things, General Mills is expanding its reach from four to 10 southeastern markets to recognize Black Community Champions who selflessly volunteer to improve their neighborhoods.

Feeding Dreams highlights Community Champions who invest their time, energy and talents to make improvements at the local level. Their compassion for their neighbors is paired with a deep-rooted passion for creating healthier communities; and their service initiatives range from youth mentoring to volunteer training to creating support networks for troubled individuals.

The Feeding Dreams campaign launches in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Columbus, Jacksonville, Jackson, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans and Norfolk now through October 31, 2010. In addition to the impactful community relations component, the integrated multicultural marketing campaign includes digital, public relations, event sampling, in-market advertising and retail visibility. General Mills brands supporting Feeding Dreams include: Honey Nut Cheerios®, Yoplait®, Grands!® Biscuits, Betty Crocker®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch®, Nature Valley® Sweet & Salty Nut Bars and Hamburger Helper® dinner mixes.

Meet the Champions
At, visitors are encouraged to vote once per day for their favorite Community Champion. The individual who garners the most votes at the end of the voting period will receive a $10,000 grant to benefit the charity of his or her choice; followed by the second-place winner who will receive $5,000; and a third-place champion who will receive $3,000. The remaining champions will receive $2,000 grants respectively for their designated charities. All nominees receive a $500 check as acknowledgement of their community service.

At, supporters can meet all 10 Community Champions by viewing their photographs and reading more about their work. The Community Champions by market are: Atlanta: Vanetta S. Keyes for C.H.O.I.C.E.S.; Birmingham: Dr. Sandra Ford for Spirit of Luke Charitable Foundation; Charlotte: Loretta Harris-Caldwell for Blessings in the Storm; Columbia: Dr. Stuart Hamilton for Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center; Jackson: Lorenda Cheeks for Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi; Jacksonville: Pepper Peete for The First Tee of Jacksonville; Memphis: Donald O’Conner for Watoto de Africa; Miami: Merline J. Barton for The Thelma Gibson Health Initiative; New Orleans: Jerome Smith for Treme Community Center; and, Norfolk: Joyce Gilliam Brown an International Folklorist.

“We’re thrilled to have our Feeding Dreams Community Champions on board for this year’s meaningful campaign,” said Rodolfo Rodriguez, multicultural marketing director, General Mills. “Feeding Dreams reflects General Mills’ ongoing commitment to Black communities. We’re proud to support Feeding Dreams for a third year, and we encourage supporters to visit daily to vote for their favorite Community Champion.” also features portraits and profiles of the 2009 Feeding Dreams Champions: Glinda Fincher of Birmingham; Kelly Hutchinson of Charlotte; Ekundayo Bandele of Memphis; and Gregg Shivers of Norfolk. Photographer Joe Dickie captured the images of the 2009 and 2010 champions, which are highlighted on the web site. Nationally acclaimed Photographer Michael Cunningham captured images for the 2008 Feeding Dreams Champions: Kerri Pruitt of Birmingham; Wavey Williams of Charlotte; and Sandy Bordueax of Memphis. Their stories and a 10-minute film about each can be found in the Community Hall of Fame page on the web site. Cunningham, known for his mastery behind the lens, has published several coffee table books including Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats and Queens: Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair.

“We’re celebrating a handful of our brightest community stars, our civic engineers. Their shared dream for a better future comes closer to reality with every foster child they reach out to, every homeless family they support and every person in peril they believe in,” said Susan L. Taylor, Feeding Dreams spokesperson, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. “I am inspired by their leadership and energized by their work. These champions show that with vision, passion and a plan, we can restore our communities and change our world.”

About Feeding Dreams™
Feeding Dreams, General Mills multicultural platform to support African-American consumers, recognizes and celebrates local heroes who have devoted their lives to: helping others; nurturing their communities; and charting a better future. In its third year, Feeding Dreams taps top minority-owned businesses to help create and implement the campaign. Visit for complete details on the initiative.

About General Mills
One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

Feeding Dreams, Honey Nut Cheerios, Grands!, Nature Valley & Betty Crocker are trademarks of General Mills.
YOPLAIT is a registered trademark of YOPLAIT Marques Internationales SAS, France, used under license.


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