The Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF)—an employee-funded charitable giving program managed and supported by Altria companies’ employees—has awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 140 nonprofits based in some of its operating communities. The ACECF is one of the only employee-driven workplace-giving programs publicly reported among U.S. companies, according to the Changing Our World organization. This year, the ACECF has existed since 2000 in Richmond, Va., and has operated in Franklin Park, Ill., Hopkinsville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., and King of Prussia and Limerick, Penn. for the past two years. Throughout its history, the ACECF has awarded 1,452 grants totaling $40 million to non-profit organizations in some communities where Altria companies’ employees live and work. “Given these difficult economic times, many nonprofits are in more need than ever to continue their missions to address acute needs in their communities. With this unique opportunity, Altria companies’ employees are able to help make a difference in the places they call home through their commitments of money and time,” said Jennifer Hunter, chairperson, ACECF Board of Directors. Since Altria makes a contribution to cover ACECF’s administrative costs and also makes a contribution to the fund, every employee dollar raised goes directly to supporting local non-profit organizations. In addition to paying ACECF’s administrative costs, Altria makes an annual donation to the fund to support ACECF. Employee committees in each community reviewed the grant requests and selected the non-profit organizations for funding. In each community, employees of Altria’s companies select the ACECF grants categories. The focus areas for grant requests were: domestic violence, emergency services, hunger relief, homelessness, and youth and adult services. The ACECF was founded in 2000 by employees because they wanted a way to be more actively involved in helping their local communities. The first ACECF grants were distributed in 2001. To learn more about the ACECF, please visit altria.com.