JACKSONVILLE, FLA. - Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has founded the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant Program. The program will provide nonprofits supporting minority communities with opportunities to receive funding to serve diverse sectors. 

The announcement comes during a time in which the country faces heightened racial distress in the midst of a global pandemic, and Southeastern hopes the new grant program will foster a culture of belonging and inclusion for people of all backgrounds. 

“At Southeastern Grocers, we take pride in cultivating an environment of belonging, inclusion and diversity. As a people first company, we are committed to creating a thriving culture with stores that reflect the local communities we serve,” said Elizabeth Thompson, executive vice president and chief people officer for Southeastern. “Embracing and celebrating our differences makes us stronger, and we are honored to stand with our associates, customers and neighbors to support nonprofits that positively impact our communities. We are stronger together.” 

Romay Davis, the namesake of the program, was a 20-year Winn Dixie associate who celebrated her 100th birthday last year at a Winn Dixie in Montgomery, Ala. The retailer said Davis constantly broke barriers and challenged society’s limited beliefs in times when neither people of color nor women had access to equal rights.  

Davis served in World War II, graduated from New York University and thrived in a 30-year fashion career. After retirement, she continued to blaze trails by earning a master's degree and a Black Belt in Taekwondo. At the age of 80, she rejoined the workforce as a Winn-Dixie associate.  

Davis has achieved many milestones throughout her accomplished life, and it is SEG’s hope that this grant, named in her honor, provides inspiration and opportunity for others to do the same. The company began accepting applications for the grant on July 8 and application are open through Sept. 8.  

Organizations throughout Southeastern Grocers’ footprint can apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The SEG Inclusion and Diversity Committee will review and evaluate all applications and grant awards will be announced in December 2020.