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2019 Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES honorees named

(L to R) R.W & Mary Nelson, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn. Photo by Dustin Hoffmann

The World Food Prize announced this year’s recipients of the Robert D Ray Iowa Shares Humanitarian Award. They are R.W. and Mary Nelson, founders of Kemin Industries for their profound humanitarian commitment as manifested in their outreach to remote parts of distant countries to alleviate the suffering of villagers and help rebuild communities affected by devastating natural disasters as well as their many works of charity and assistance closer to home.

World Food Prize President Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn told the audience about how impressed he was by the Nelsons and their commitment to alleviating human suffering.

Ambassador Quinn talked about the Nelson’s commitment to helping those who have suffered all over the world.

  • Beginning in 2000, the Nelsons, through Kemin Industries, have raised over $725,000 to help provide gifts and cover expenses during the holidays for children at YESS (Youth Emergency Services and Shelter).
  • After a devastating tsunami hit India in 2004, the Nelsons led a campaign to help a village that had lost all its boats in the disaster. Through the Nelsons’ encouragement, Kemin employees raised $30,000 which was matched by corporate funds, to buy boats, motors, and fishing equipment.
  • After an earthquake devastated the Sichuan Province in China in 2008, the Nelsons led the Kemin team by donating funds to help rebuild the area. Through employee donations and a Kemin corporate match, Kemin funded the rebuilding of a primary school in Qin Chang village, southwest of Chengdu, and the Kemin Hope Primary School opened its doors in 2009. In the decade since, Kemin has contributed support to the school by awarding scholarships to the highest achieving students each year.
  • After a devastating earthquake in Nepal directly impacted a Kemin employee, the Nelsons and Kemin team members rallied together around the world to donate money to the victims of the tragedy. Through employee donations and a Kemin corporate match, Kemin sent $90,000 to assist Habitat for Humanity with relief efforts.

The award will formally be presented during the Iowa Hunger Luncheon on October 14th.

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