Laysha Ward

Laysha Ward
President, Target Community Relations and Target Foundation
Target Corporation

2011 Corporate Philanthropy

Schools involved with the Target School Library Makeover program always have a lot in common: renovated reading spaces, new technology, a buildup of excitement for books. But every library boasts something special, too. For George Peabody elementary School in Dallas, it’s a connection to their community’s love of football.

That’s why Target invited current and former NFL players to volunteer at the library as part of the NFL Day of Service held in conjunction with the Super Bowl in Dallas. Players came together with Target volunteers and The heart of America Foundation to transform George Peabody’s library, which school officials previously described as a big, brown, ugly box.

Target overhauled the space, then added new furniture and shelves, customized wall art, new computers, and 2,000 new books. Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys and Ben Tate of the Houston Texans even signed jerseys to hang above the bookshelves. “Everyone loves football in Texas; it was so special for the children to see a football player in person,” said Dee Anne Egan, George Peabody’s principal.

Students each received backpacks filled with books to keep. And because students who go to school hungry have a hard time focusing on their studies, a grant to a local Feeding America-affiliated food bank helped implement Target Meals for Minds, a school-based food pantry program. once a month, more than 350 families at the school choose from a variety of staples and fresh produce to take home.

Target Corporation
Corporate Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Primary Business: Retail
Employees: 335,000