Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Grace Kennedy Honour Award

Published:Friday | January 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File Grace Kennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby.
Contributed Photo Grace Kennedy was among the more than 80 local suppliers of goods and services which had a strong presence at the JAPEX 2014 trade show, through the coordinated efforts of the Tourism Linkages Hub and other partner entities.
Gladstone Taylor / Photographer Grace Kennedy extends its brand ambassador agreement with swim champ Alia Atkinson at the beginning of the year. From left: president of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica, Martin Lyn; CEO of Grace Kennedy Financial Group, Courtney Campbell; CEO of GraceKennedy Group, Don Wehby; Alia Atkinson; Natalie Neita Headley, minister with responsiblity for sports; Michelle Allen, CEO of GraceKennedy Money Services; and Christopher Samuda, secretary general, Jamaica Olympic Association
Don Wehby, chief executive officer, Grace Kennedy Group Ltd, hugs (from left) Selena Fisher, Julianne Dawkins and Touri-Ann Collins from Ascot Primary, victors of the 2014 Western Union Primary Schools' Debates

The unquestionably affectionate relationship that Jamaicans have treasured and shared with GraceKennedy Company Limited for 93 precious years is explicable. For apart from the fact that Grace Kennedy epitomises all that is great about brand Jamaica, the company was ushered into existence on Valentine?s Day ? February 14, 1922.

Both literally and figuratively, the company has entrenched itself as a household name for Jamaicans from all walks of life, earning a sound reputation, just as it has become synonymous with quality of the highest standards.

Its penchant for efficient management, promotion in the market place and involvement with every single Jamaican has catapulted its status to the zenith of the Jamaica?s tasty expectations. And while firm business practices have remained the cornerstone of its foundation, GraceKennedy has over the years made significant philanthropic contribution to countless lives in every nook and cranny of Jamaica. Thanks to the company?s myriad benevolent foundations, the lives of thousands of Jamaicans are the better for it.

Today, Jamaica owes a debt of gratitude to the foresight of founders Dr John Grace and Fred William Kennedy for the vision to establish Grace Kennedy and Co Ltd. The legacy of both men continues to serve Grace Kennedy and by extension Jamaica well. Armed with vigour, commitment and dedication, thanks to Grace Kennedy, brand Jamaica is now global.

For its immeasurable contribution to Jamaica?s economy and its people, The Gleaner Company proudly presents GraceKennedy Company Limited with The Gleaner Honour Award for exceptional Business practices in 2014.

RONALD THWAITES - Minister of Education

Without a doubt, Grace Kennedy is a household name in Jamaica, not just for the quality of its food products and services, but also for its active involvement in numerous programmes that contribute to the upliftment of persons in communities across the hills and valleys of Jamaica.

?I admire them because of the breadth of their engagement with all Jamaicans,? noted Rev Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education and Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Kingston - the location of the headquarters of Grace Kennedy.

?They are a strong believer in Jamaican products and in Central Kingston they have been unique in offering assistance in the most precious area of education, which is the only reasonable means of advancing the lives of people who live in the constituency,? Thwaites stated.

In particular, he pointed to the Grace Homework Centre and the activities of Frances Madden and the Grace staff, ?which have become institutions of great pedigree in the inner city and recently they have extended that by (establishing) that remarkable science laboratory on Water Lane that has recently been opened.?

The Central Kingston MP said he was ?grateful for the partnership that Grace, in all of its aspects, offers islandwide and particularly in the area I am privileged to represent.?

WILLIAM MAFOOD - President, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica

Like most things Jamaican, Grace Kennedy is renowned for its quality, innovation and strength - attributes that have made it a premier household name over the years.

As noted by Williams Mahfood, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Grace Kennedy - which is involved in the manufacturing of high quality Jamaican food products and spices, banking and finance as well as remittance services - ?is a true Jamaican company that has provided tremendous opportunities for many Jamaicans, both here and abroad. Its name has become synonymous with quality foods and more recently, excellent financial products and services.?

GEORGE FORBES - Competition Director, Inter-Secondary Schools Association

For many years Grace Kennedy has been a major supporter of sports in Jamaica, sponsoring many sporting activities as part of a deliberate thrust to foster the development of Jamaica?s talented young athletes.

The Inter-Secondary Schools Association (ISSA), which stages the annual Boys? and Girls? Championships, has been one of the main beneficiaries of Grace Kennedy?s generosity.

George Forbes, ISSA?s competition?s director, said the food and financial services conglomerate has been one of its key partners over the years. Grace Kennedy is currently the title sponsor of the Boys? and Girls? Championship - the flagship track and field event considered to be the developmental ground for many of the island?s global track stars, like Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce.

?They have been one of our main partners over the years,? Forbes said. ?Grace Kennedy and ISSA go hand in hand.?

According to Forbes, the company doesn?t just support its track and field programme, but it also sponsors the cricket programme for youngsters.


* While firm business practices have remained the cornerstone of its foundation, Grace Kennedy has never shied away from its altruistic responsibilities and obligations. Thousands of Jamaicans have been assisted through its myriad benevolent foundations.

* Grace Kennedy has a strong focus on apprenticeship, affording staff members the opportunity to move up through the ranks.

* Last year, Grace Kennedy put just over $83 million into educational initiatives through its Grace and Staff Community Development and Grace Kennedy Foundations. The figure represents a $31 million increase over last year.

* ?We know that education will be the game-changer for Jamaica, and that is why we remain committed to investing in that area. We look forward to making a significant impact in 2015 as well? - Don Wehby, chief executive officer, Grace Kennedy Group Limited.