Retail giant Target is ending its signature, education-focused giving program and shifting its philanthropic focus to health and wellness efforts, such as promoting good nutrition and active lifestyles, writes the Star Tribune.
The Minneapolis-based firm said it will terminate the 18-year-old Take Charge of Education program next year after disbursing more than $432 million to some 100,000 schools across the country.
Laysha Ward, who heads Target's corporate social responsibility efforts, said the change is driven by customers, who a decade ago identified education as their top social concern but now rank health No. 1. She said the company's commitment to donate 5 percent of its profits to community programs "is not going to change. What will look different is how we express and reimagine our social responsibility commitment."
The Take Charge program — under which Target donated 1 percent of purchases made with its Redcard credit cards to customer-designated schools — was innovative at the time of its launch for tying corporate charity to shopping behavior. Ms. Ward said the firm will test some new campaigns this fall, with a likely emphasis on greater use of social media to reach consumers. Target has been among the biggest U.S. corporate donors in recent years.