Social Responsibility and Community Interests
Ruan was founded with a philanthropic spirit. From the beginning, we have been dedicated to environmental stewardship and serving the community we call home.
The World Food Prize
Created in 1986 by Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, the World Food Prize honors the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. Each year, the prize recognizes a significant contribution from any field that affects the world's food supply, including food and agriculture, science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership, or the social sciences.
The prize was almost discontinued in 1990 when the original sponsor withdrew its support and the Nobel committee turned down Borlaug's request for funding. Fortunately, John Ruan heard of his fellow Iowan's dilemma and made the decision to establish a foundation that assumed sponsorship of the World Food Prize.
The prize became one of Mr. Ruan's passions, and he worked to raise its profile in Des Moines, across the nation, and throughout the world. In 1994, Ruan and Borlaug added the World Food Prize Youth Institute, and in 1997, Ruan contributed $10 million to permanently endow the prize and ensure its tenure in Des Moines. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates—spearheaded by John Ruan III and the City of Des Moines—opened in 2011.
Today, with its $250,000 award, the World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing excellence and progress in overcoming global food production and distribution challenges while inspiring new generations to embrace the cause.
Serving Our Community
Founder John Ruan instilled a deep sense of philanthropy into the company and our team members. Ruan locations across the country celebrate Founder's Days each July by volunteering in their communities and organizing food and clothing drives.
Habitat for Humanity
Each year, Ruan team members from our Des Moines campus help build panels for a home to be constructed in Des Moines, through Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.
Meals from the Heartland
Meals from the Heartland empowers people to save the starving. During Founder's Days, Ruan team members volunteer their time to contribute to the mission of the organization.
United Way of Central Iowa
Each year, Ruan team members working in the corporate office are invited to participate in a campaign that supports central Iowans in need. United Way of Central Iowa (UWCI) is a voluntary, non-profit organization that brings together community volunteers and agencies to provide health and human services to individuals who live or work in central Iowa. The organization supports those individuals in the areas of income, health, and education through its own initiatives and a variety of participating organizations. Ruan offers team member participation-based incentives and matches each donation, dollar-for-dollar. Read about our most recent campaign success here.
Food Bank of Iowa
The Ruan family is a long-time supporter of the Food Bank of Iowa. In the past three years, Ruan has offered assistance and expertise in safety, compliance, and training space for their drivers and warehouse teams. We have also assisted in reviewing their network for route optimization.
Recently, the Ruan Foundation and Ruan Leasing helped purchase a refrigerated van to allow for food pick up across the Des Moines metro area, primarily at Hy-Vee stores. Together with Truck Country, our Ruan asset and fleet service teams have helped the Food Bank of Iowa with selecting three new straight trucks with the latest safety technology at a lowered cost. Ruan is also offering maintenance support for their fleet. Ruan President and COO Dan Van Alstine serves on the Food Bank of Iowa Board of Directors, finance committee, and is chair of the operations committee. Senior Vice President Chad Willis also serves on the operations committee.