Lowe's is marking its 100th birthday with a $10 million commitment to help rebuild and restore communities around the nation that are still reeling from natural disasters.
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On March 9, the North Carolina-based home improvement company, whose mission has always been to give back to the communities it serves, is launching an initiative to complete 100 impact projects over the course of 2021.
The effort -- dubbed 100 Hometowns -- is a chance to “beautify forgotten spaces," CEO Marvin Ellison told FOX Business.
Up until April 19, people across the nation will have a chance to nominate a project in their hometown that's in need of funding.
The grants for each project -- which will utilize Lowe's products, expertise, and in some cases its very own associates-- will be rewarded in June, Ellison said, adding that each project is expected to be completed by year's end.
Eligible projects include restoring and rebuilding community spaces such as parks, senior citizen or youth centers and neighborhood housing as well as cultural preservation and area revitalization.
Each project will be funded based on the unique needs of the local community, according to Lowe's.
"It's our way of making the communities we live in better," Ellison said, adding that it "is really about making a difference, not by looking in but by looking out."
Helping the community has always been a central focus for the company since its early days as a small-town hardware store in North Carolina to become one of the largest home improvement retailers, according to Ellison.
For its 100 year anniversary, however, Ellison said the company wanted to be more intentional in its efforts to help especially after such an unprecedented year rocked by COVID-19 and extreme weather.
"Last year drove us to understand that as a company we have to have a more concerted effort around how we support our community dealing with the pandemic," Ellison said. Over the course of 2020, Lowe's issued nearly $1.3 billion to associates, communities, and store safety. The company also issued several rounds of bonuses to frontline employees throughout the year while also providing financial assistance to rural, minority-owned and women-owned small businesses.
Lowes also continued to provide assistance and supplies to communities hit hard by disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes.
The company's latest initiative just underscores the company's "longstanding support of communities in the areas where we live and work," Ellison said.
A team will evaluate each submission to determine the level of need and the company's ability to support the community.
Ellison said the company will also focus on making sure the projects are "balanced" meaning there will be "representation across the country – from rural to urban to suburban projects – that reflect the diversity of our country and communities we serve."
To kick off its latest effort, Lowe’s teamed up with country music star and former Lowe's associate Kane Brown. Together, they will renovate and repair the East Lake Boys & Girls Club in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
100 Hometowns is a first-of-its-kind program to celebrate the company's centennial. However, Ellison said the company will continue the program if it is successful.
"It all depends on if we feel like we've made a positive impact," he said.
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