Smithfield Foods contributes $250,000 to Richmond afterschool youth learning program

Smithfield Foods

Keira Lombardo (far left), executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation, presents a check to students at NextUp RVA to support the popular Sport and Wellness track.

The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., has donated $250,000 to NextUp RVA, an afterschool system for middle school students in Richmond, which serves to support academic and social development in students through hands-on learning activities.

This is the third year the company has contributed to NextUp RVA, and funding for this year will focus on the program’s Sports and Wellness track. Smithfield’s substantial contribution to NextUp RVA is part of the company’s recently announced charitable grant program that aims to address the unique needs of Smithfield’s local communities.

“We are incredibly grateful for Smithfield’s support and their commitment to our youth,” said Barbara Couto Sipe, executive director of NextUp RVA. “Our mission to enhance student progress and ensure a stronger learning culture both inside and outside of the classroom is showing tangible results and we are thrilled to partner with Smithfield for another year!”

Smithfield and NextUp RVA’s partnership will serve to enhance the lives of middle school students and their families through supplemental after school educational programs that support increased school attendance, higher grades in key courses, reduced behavioral incidents, and increased social and emotional well-being. Powered by a joint effort of educators, youth providers, city and school officials, and business and community leaders, Smithfield’s contribution will craft a lasting impact on students participating in NextUp RVA’s after school programs.

“NextUp RVA is a wonderful, results-driven, educational program and we are thrilled to build on our partnership for a third year through our charitable grant program,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods, and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “Education is one of Smithfield’s core focus areas for giving, as we believe it has the power to dramatically strengthen our communities.”

Smithfield’s substantial donation will be focused on the Sports and Wellness track, NextUp RVA’s most popular offering, where students participate in a wide-range of programs including outdoor adventures, cooking, swimming, team sports, and other exercise. This program track addresses the health of the whole student with the goal of helping them adopt healthy habits that continue throughout their lives.

To learn more about Smithfield’s commitment to its local communities and education, please visit

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