MeadWestvaco brings more than a new corporate headquarters to Richmond

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

Giving back to the community took on a new meaning during the construction of MeadWestvaco’s new corporate headquarters in Richmond. As part of its contract with The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., the company required that two percent of the value of contracted work on all jobs go into a community fund.

Whiting agreed and so did all 25 of the subcontractors that toiled on the 310,000-square-foot building. The result?  A $350,000 fund that awarded grants to nine local organizations. The community groups, recognized during a luncheon today, focus on programs that impact young people, education and the construction trade.

During the luncheon at MeadWestvaco’s headquarters, CEO John A. Luke Jr. thanked the construction industry for helping the Fortune 500 packaging, paper products and speciality chemical company give back to the community. He likened the partnership to “an old fashioned barn raising. It shows that when a lot of people work together, they can make something good happen.”

Dan Niccolucci, vice president of Whiting’s Richmond office, called the initiative “unprecedented” in his 40 years in the industry. “I thought it was amazing that they stepped up and took care of the community. $350,000 is a lot of money.”  Niccolucci explained that the two percent requirement was applied to the value of the tenant construction for MeadWestvaco, not the exterior shell of the building.  Whiting’s contract for that part of the project was with NewMarket Corp., the building’s owner.

Contractors sent their two percent donation to Richmond’s United Way organization, which created the fund at the behest of MeadWestvaco. Theresa Schnabel, the company’s vice president of facilities management who oversaw the four-year project, said this was the first time MeadWestvaco had used the building of a facility to create a community fund. By giving the money to the United Way, she said contractors could get a tax write off. 

The grants went to these groups. MeadWestvaco would not comment on grant amounts: Communities in Schools, Violence Free Zone, Challenge Discovery, Say it with Heart Initiative, Boaz & Ruth, First Contractors, J. Sargeant Reynolds, Partnership for the Future and St. Catherine/Christopher Saturday Academy.


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