Covestro LLC awards $150,000 grant to expand Food Bank’s Backpack Program

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Some of Pittsburgh's youngest "citizen philanthropists" from South Hills Middle School join Covestro volunteers to pack food and snacks as part of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's "Backpack Program." Covestro announced a $150,000 grant to the Food Bank to expand the backpack program throughout the region over the next three years.

Donation supports “Zero Hunger,” other UN Sustainable Development Goals

Builds on recent skills-based volunteer contribution and upcoming THINC30 summit

Pittsburgh, October 27, 2017 — In an effort to combat childhood hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania and level the playing field so all students are ready and able to learn, Covestro LLC has donated $150,000 to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to expand its Backpack Program throughout the region over the next three years.

In an effort to combat childhood hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania and level the playing field so all students are ready and able to learn, Covestro LLC has donated $150,000 to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to expand its Backpack Program throughout the region over the next three years.

The donation, part of Covestro’s i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate) corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in the United States, affirms the company’s commitment to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and its efforts to implement those goals in the local communities where it operates.

The Backpack Program supports the two key UN goals of “Zero Hunger” and “Quality Education” by addressing the issue of food insecurity – or the lack of consistent access to enough food – among the region’s children. The program supplements the weekday meals they receive at school with nutritious meals and snacks for the weekend.

Roughly 71 percent of Pittsburgh Public Schools students qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. In the Southside Hilltop neighborhoods, 60 percent (three out of every five) qualify for free/reduced meals and among the Northside’s public charter and religious schools, the qualification rates are higher still at more than 86 percent.

The Covestro grant will support the Food Bank’s existing Backpack Program in these neighborhoods and enable it to grow from 75,000 backpack inserts – the equivalent of 450,000 meals – distributed in 2017 to 120,000 backpack inserts as more students enroll in the program. The grant also will support research that examines the impact of the Backpack Program on local students.

“At Covestro, we are committed to helping create sustainable communities and promote quality education, with a focus on STEM. However, we also recognize that if students cannot pay attention because they are hungry, they cannot learn,” said Rebecca Lucore, head of CSR and Sustainability, Covestro LLC. “With this donation, Covestro is giving Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable children the most basic tool they need to achieve academically and reach their fullest potential.”

Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. According to Share Our Strength’s Teachers Report 2013, Hunger in Our Schools, public school teachers and principals say hungry students can’t concentrate (88 percent); show poor academic performance (82 percent); lack energy (82 percent); and are at risk for disciplinary problems (67 percent).

“We are grateful to Covestro for this generous grant and for recognizing that food insecurity is especially devastating to our children and their futures,” said Lisa Scales, president and CEO, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “Some children rely on school meals to fulfill their daily nutritional needs. What happens when they go home for the weekend? The Backpack Program ensures they have access to food seven days a week.”

In addition to school performance, childhood hunger also is tied to health issues like obesity, behavioral issues such as ADHD and emotional issues including depression.

According to Lucore, this impacts the sustainability of the region. “When nearly three out of every four students enrolled in Pittsburgh Public Schools face hunger that threatens their ability to live a long and healthy life, it also threatens the future of our region. With this grant, Covestro is building on its relationship with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the important work they are doing to eliminate hunger and make Southwest Pennsylvania sustainable.”

The donation comes on the heels of another recent human capital contribution Covestro made to the Food Bank in the form of a skills-based volunteer project. That project involved a team of Covestro employees volunteering their time and talent to design a new, state-of-the-art inventory tracking system that increases efficiency and will help enable the Food Bank to meet its overall goal of providing 60 million meals throughout the 11-county region by 2025.

Zero Hunger, Quality Education and the 15 other global UN SDGs will be introduced locally at THINC30 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Covestro will host the one-day summit for business leaders, organizations and individuals interested in using the SDGs as a guidepost to secure the Pittsburgh region’s own economic, social and environmental sustainability by 2030 and beyond.

About Covestro LLC:

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and medical industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 15,600 people at the end of 2016.

Find more information at

About Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank:

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 that distributes more than 31 million meals annually throughout a network of nearly 400 member agencies across 11 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information on hunger in our region or how to get involved, visit

Covestro Contact:

Alice Sox, Phone: +1 412 413 5430

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This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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