MINNEAPOLIS, MN -General Mills’ African American CSR initiative “Feeding Dreams” announced the winners of its 2009 program that annually recognizes African-Americans known for championing great work to improve their cities and local neighborhoods.  The voting for this year’s winners took place online at www.FeedingDreams.com.

Over the last several months, residents of four southern cities – Birmingham, Charlotte, Memphis and Norfolk – could cast a daily online vote for their favorite Feeding Dreams Community Champion at FeedingDreams.com.  In turn, General Mills is awarding grants to each local champion’s charity of choice, which will be distributed based on who received the most votes: $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. A total of $32,000 in grant monies will be awarded to designated charities.

“This successful grassroots initiative showcases 12 champions who selflessly reinvest their talents and energy to improve their communities day after day, month after month, year after year,” said Rodolfo Rodriguez, multicultural marketing director, General Mills. “We received thousands of votes at our Feeding Dreams web site over the course of the campaign. This amazing group of everyday heroes has their own fan club – and rightly so!”

This year’s Feeding Dreams winners were:

Birmingham:  Glinda Fincher, Girls In Action, $5,000 grant
Jason Branch, B.O.U.N.C.E., $2,000 grant
LaJune White Dyess, Grace House, $1,000 grant

Charlotte:   Kelly Hutchinson, R.E.F.O.R.M., $5,000 grant
Kym Gordon Moore, Dove’s Nest, $2,000 grant
Valarie R. Brooks, Girl Talk Foundation, $1,000 grant

Memphis:     Ekundayo Bandele, Hattiloo Theatre, $5,000 grant
Chauniece Conner, Ballet On Wheels, $2,000 grant
Linda Guy, Hope House, $1,000 grant

Norfolk:     Gregg Shivers, Diggstown Southside Boys & Girls Club, $5,000 grant
Jan House, Noah’s House, $2,000 grant
Renay Kirby, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, $1,000 grant

“We’re celebrating the work, the passion and the power of these amazing individuals who do so much to improve the lives of so many. May we all listen and learn from them, and then follow their lead to build stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities,” said Susan L. Taylor, Feeding Dreams National Champion, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine and founder of the national CARES Mentoring Movement.

The second annual Feeding Dreams campaign launched last August. In addition to the community relations initiative, the integrated multicultural marketing campaign includes digital, public relations, event sampling, in-market advertising and retail visibility. Favorite General Mills brands supporting Feeding Dreams include: Honey Nut Cheerios®, Yoplait®, Grands!®, Nature Valley® and Betty Crocker®.

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