The Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia are spearheading a proposal for McDonald’s Corporation that they respond to the public health concerns and data about the effects of fast food on the health of children. The Sisters are joined by a number of other religious communities including Benedictines, Dominicans, and BVMs as well as other health, financial, and educational organizations.
The Franciscan Sisters are shareholders in McDonald’s, owning more than $2,000 worth of McDonald’s stock, which gives them the right to make such a proposal.
PROPOSAL NO. 11: Advisory Vote on Shareholder Proposal Relating to a Report on Children’s Nutrition
WHEREAS, the contribution of the fast food industry to the global epidemic of childhood obesity and to diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, have become a major public issue …
RESOLVED: Shareholders ask the Board of Directors to issue a report, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, within six months of the 2011 annual meeting, assessing the company’s policy responses to public concerns regarding linkages of fast food to childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children’s health. Such report should include an assessment of the potential impacts of public concerns and evolving public policy on the company’s finances and operations.
For more information, read the full text of the Sisters’ proposal to McDonald’s as well as a story National Public Radio ran about the Sisters’ proposal.
I’ve read a number of comments on blog posts about this proposal and was struck by a few who thought it was odd that the nuns were shareholders at a corporation, especially at McDonalds. The nuns, some commenters implied, should stick to the classroom and out of the world of business and politics. Well, I got news for these folks. Caring for people and God’s creation and educating people around Gospel values must happen at all levels of society — on the immediate, front lines and at the systemic level. We need to tend to the wounds of the sick and influence health care police. We need to teach children in the class room and have a voice in the public sphere to be sure children are protected and cared for.
The Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia, for example, are not only working on behalf of children and health as shareholders at McDonald’s, but they help run and teach at Mother Seton Academy which offers tuition-free alternative middle school education to the underserved population; they provide housing and support services for women and children; they run a family counseling center to help individuals, couples, and families; and so much more.
So charge on, my Sisters, and know that our prayers are with you as you walk into that board room.
Sisters and friends, you might be interested in the work of Sr. Patricia Daly (OP) and the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment. Sister Pat might be a great guest for Ask Sister. I’ve met her a couple of times, and have loved the conversations I’ve had with her. She’s a part of the Caldwell Dominicans – she could probably speak not just about the work she does but also about community life, as within the last few years several of the sisters who were once spread around NJ have recently moved back into one of the convents to be more connected to one another.)
Whoo-HOO! Rock on, my sisters! We had one of their sisters here in NM last week, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that the Philly Franciscans are making this stand. And it’s obvious that McDonald’s is listening to groups like this. They have put milk and apple slices on the kid’s menu as options to fries and a soda.
Friends, with actions like these sisters have made, we CAN change the world!
i was ecstatic to see that nuns were shareholders. who better to look after the world? in my world, sisters have always, always spoken for the best interests of ALL, and they have done so fearlessly, often when no one else bothered. they have my utmost respect.
You Go Girls! lol What a wonderful positive position to take in our culture at this time ~ hopefully one that can effect positive change for current and future generations.
When I was young, there was only one “fast food” restaurant in town, and we only ate there once! We ate closer to the earth, at a slower pace, with more direct relationship to those around us and what we put into our bodies.
As a former Nun, I am not surprised at all to see this group of women taking such a practical and effective stand on something that touches so many people in our culture. Why not Catholic Nun’s leading the way in the change? After all, Nuns are first and foremost PEOPLE! As Margaret Mead says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
For Lent this year, I have decided to give up fast food. I tell you, it is quite a challenge for me in the fast paced overly commited world in which I live. I wonder if I am going to make it? But, I am taking it one day at a time. It is better for me: body, mind and Spirit! And, I am saving the money I would have lost on fast food towards a donation that will hopefully make a small positive difference for someone in need.
I wonder, at the end of lent, can I keep it up? Maybe? Perhaps not? I guess I will just live it out here, today … and celebrate these women who are working towards creating a healthier world with better options for all of us. Thank You dear Sisters!!!
i admire your ability to even try to give up fast food.
Over the years, various religious groups have become small shareholders in several corporations, introducing shareholder resolutions and attending shareholder meetings in person to press the point. Corporations must include these resolutions in their proxy statements. They usually “recommend a vote AGAINST these proposals.” Usually, the effort is about as effective as a pacifist pamphlet up against a Sherman tank, but it does raise people’s consciousness about the issues. McDonald’s seems more responsive and community-involved than many corporations. And many corporations really do make an effort to do good things in this world. For the others, like water dripping on a stone, eventually, these little efforts can change “business as usual.”