Over the last two years, billions of people around the world have shared in the hardships caused by COVID-19. People lost loved ones, food and job security, and the ability to interact and connect. These hardships exposed deep inequities that have prevented prosperity for so many, long before the pandemic's arrival.

And it was people who also helped us recover, provided critical sustenance and healthcare to those in need, and restored hope that we could gather safely again. These human triumphs revealed our individual and collective capacities to innovate and find solutions to almost any challenge, even those that seem insurmountable.


Inspired by humanity's ability to overcome, in 2021, the John Deere Foundation pledged to invest at least $200 million over the next 10 years in three groups of people: smallholder and resource-constrained farmers around the world, families and youth in John Deere's home communities, and the company's own workforce.

In making this pledge, the foundation strengthened its commitment to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals by directly aligning its work with the targets and measurements related to ending poverty, eliminating hunger, and ensuring quality education by 2030. To unleash the full potential of innovative nonprofit organizations to achieve these ambitious goals, the foundation also dramatically increased its support for capacity-building and operational expenses.

collage of rural farmers


At the heart of John Deere's higher purpose is our belief that farmers are essential to global prosperity. That is why the foundation has committed $50 million to smallholder and resource-constrained farmers throughout the world to bolster their ability to make a living, feed a growing global population, reduce inequality, and protect the world around us. In 2021 alone, the foundation invested $3.4 million in farmers around the world, reaching 1.4 million total farmers.

Guided by similar values, One Acre Fund empowers farmers in Africa by "putting farmers first." One Acre Fund provides farmers with resources and support fundamental to their success, including the financing of high-quality seeds and fertilizer, distribution of farm inputs, agricultural training, and commercialization opportunities. As a result of this work, incomes of One Acre Fund clients averaged 39 percent higher than control farmers on supported activities between 2018 and 2020.


When One Acre Fund started its work in 2006, it piloted its approach with 38 farmers in Kenya. By focusing its efforts on making its model more effective, One Acre Fund has grown to directly serve over 1.4 million farm families in seven African countries.

In 2019, the foundation committed $5 million over five years to One Acre Fund, making it the largest corporate foundation gift in One Acre Fund's history and one of the largest grants in the John Deere Foundation's history.


John Deere's success over an almost 200-year period is inextricably linked to the prosperity of the families and youth who live, learn, and work in our home communities. That is why the foundation has committed $100 million to ensure inclusive and equitable access to resources and educational opportunities critical for human dignity and self-sufficiency within these spaces.

Perhaps there was no greater aftershock from COVID-19 in our home communities than the dramatic increase in food insecurity, a particular threat to households with children, Black and Hispanic families, and those fighting against poverty.


River Bend Food Bank, a non-profit organization serving 23 counties in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa, was able to meet these needs by distributing over 20 million meals in 2021. By creating mobile pantries closer to those in need and working with community partners to pilot new distribution methods that bring food directly to people's homes, River Bend was able to more than triple the number of meals served a decade before.

In 2021, the foundation pledged $1.7 million to River Bend in an effort to end hunger in John Deere's headquarters region. This donation will allow the organization to procure more food, enhance its infrastructure to store and transport meals, and upgrade its technology.

John Deere and the John Deere Foundation has been investing in food bank capacity to ensure equitable distribution of food since the U.S. Farm Crisis in 1982. In total, the foundation invested $2.7 million in food banking systems around the world in 2021, supporting the distribution of nearly 12.8 million meals. In our U.S. home communities alone, this investment produced almost 10.4 million meals, the equivalent of $32 million in economic relief (calculated using U.S. food sales data).

collage of Habitat for Humanity volunteers working on a house


John Deere's global workforce is the company's most valued asset. While the company is known for its industry-leading products, its people help make, shape, and enrich the communities where they live and work.

The foundation's goal is to engage each employee by committing $50 million over the next 10 years to further mobilize their vast talents and generosity. In line with this commitment, almost $4.8 million was donated in 2021. By encouraging our employees to run, we can leap forward together.


For example, in 2021, more than 70 Waterloo Works production and maintenance employees volunteered to build the walls for six homes in Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity communities. In total, they built over 200 walls inside the John Deere facility. Once the walls were complete, they were set and sided by more John Deere employees at multiple home construction sites. By volunteering their time, each employee also earned rewards per hour volunteered through the foundation's Dollars for Doers Program, which the employees could then direct to nonprofit organizations of their choice as monetary donations.

Because access to safe and affordable housing is critical to a community's vitality, the foundation provided a $2 million grant to Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity in 2021. In the counties served by this Habitat, more than 300 people are still on the waiting list to participate in the organization's homeownership program.

In 2021, John Deere employees recorded over 124,000 volunteer hours which resulted in over $1.21 million donated to their favorite causes through the Dollars for Doer Program. 111,000 of these hours were logged in the U.S, where the latest estimated value of each volunteer hour is $28.54. This means John Deere employees created over $3 million of additional value in their service of others.

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