5 Questions with Indira Case, Associate Manager, Community Impact at The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company is guided by a holistic sustainability strategy that focuses on safeguarding the health of the environment, supporting children and youth and building prosperous communities within the company's supply chain.
EmbraceRace has partnered with The Hershey Company since 2020 and recently sat down with Indira Case, Associate Manager, Community Impact.
What drew you to this career?
The importance of generosity and giving back was engrained in me at a very early age. Growing up, I was taught to seek opportunities to give back and look beyond myself to serve others. I have had significant role models who have poured into my life to help me along the way. For example, my parents moved to Hershey to become houseparents at Milton Hershey School, a residential school for students for low-income families that was created by the founder of The Hershey Company, Milton Hershey. Learning about Mr. Hershey’s legacy and my parents’ commitment to serving students helped shape my work today. My job at The Hershey Company is an extension of Milton Hershey’s efforts to give back to his community. While in a different capacity and environment, I also have the opportunity to serve. Milton Hershey provided for children in need by creating a home, education, and other opportunities they would not otherwise have been afforded. He also invested in the Hershey community. I feel fortunate to work for a company that has been philanthropic since its founding and includes ‘making a difference’ as a core value.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job by far is making difficult decisions related to our ability to support all of the amazing organizations we connect with. We are challenged to ensure that our giving aligns with our ESG (environmental, social and governance) priorities, and sometimes, we cannot fund every worthy request we receive. Whenever possible, I look for additional ways to support an organization, whether through volunteer opportunities, connecting them to other funders or sharing their resources with employees.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I gain the most energy from my job when I see The Hershey Company’s positive impact on our community and partners. I love receiving weekly progress reports, notes, cards and emails from our community partners who thank the company for its support in serving the community. I feel that is a true privilege. I also love meeting with so many dedicated and passionate people-- dreamers, doers, and believers --who want to make a difference. It’s always a breath of fresh air to meet someone for the first time, hear their story and learn more about a community need.
As you consider the broader landscape of social change, what areas or issues do you believe need increased attention and investment from the philanthropic community?
More companies are supporting disaster relief, and the definition of “disaster” is broadening. Previously, most companies focused on supporting relief efforts for natural disasters– floods, storms, fires, etc. However, increasingly companies are being asked to step up in other traumatic and disaster situations, such as social unrest, gun violence, and even war and geopolitical conflicts that can impact our consumers, employees and communities. With this in mind, increased attention and investment are needed for longer-term recovery and resilience efforts. As a company, we aim to identify how to drive long-term impact in a swift and strategic way.
What message would you like to share with fellow supporters and partners of EmbraceRace as we continue our mission together?
Our world is evolving and getting more complex by the day, and we must work together to support EmbraceRace and organizations like it to ensure that our children are empowered, informed and resilient young people. This sentiment reminds me of Frederick Douglas’s quote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” For me personally, growing up in a predominantly white community, my parents and friends’ parents could’ve used an organization like EmbraceRace to lean on when it came to having discussions about race, differences and how to navigate this world. Supporting children and youth is a core focus area for Hershey, and we are proud to support the work of EmbraceRace. I believe EmbraceRace plays a critical role in helping each of us on our journey of becoming more empathetic and understanding members of our family and community.