Gillian Hormel, the heiress to the Hormel Foods brand, is carving out her own legacy by venturing into the realm of media production with Partners in Kind. This collaboration between Hormel and author Shelly Tygielski, isn’t just another production company — it serves a beacon of purpose in an industry often criticized for its superficiality. Through Partners in Kind, Hormel isn’t just telling stories; she’s catalyzing change.

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“What that means is trying to attach some sort of impact campaign or tangible act of kindness to every project we’re involved in,” Hormel explains. “There’s so much influence in the media and we want that ripple to go further than just the two and a half hours. We want to make sure there’s some sort of tangible impact after just what’s on the screen.”

The thematic focus of Partners in Kind spans a wide spectrum that reflects Hormel’s personal advocacies including educational equity, environmental conservation and social justice. Her commitment extends beyond conventional philanthropy, manifesting in diverse forms of support, from voting rights initiatives to regenerative farming.

Central to Partners in Kind’s ethos is the commitment to measuring social impact, an ongoing endeavor in collaboration with organizations like Social Impact Entertainment Society. Hormel cites examples of potential metrics, from viewership statistics to donation increases, underscoring the multifaceted nature of impact assessment in the realm of media-driven philanthropy.

The genesis of this initiative traces back to Hormel’s upbringing, deeply influenced by her parents’ values of kindness and community. “That was just part of who I was growing up. I feel like we’re meant as humans to look out for one another and what we’ve lost most in our generation has been that real sense of community and having people around that you can actually rely on. And I want to bring that back,” Hormel says. She speaks of her sister’s work with a dog rescue organization and emphasizes how these philanthropic endeavors are rooted in her family’s lineage, tracing back to her grandparents.

In the quest for like-minded collaborators, Hormel stressed the importance of discerning motives and alignment with the company’s values. Through a meticulous rubric and gut instincts, they navigate through potential partnerships, cultivating a network dedicated to responsible production and impactful storytelling. These collaborations extend to academia, with ventures like the documentary project featuring Martin Luther King III’s organization, aiming to amplify the voices of grassroots initiatives through student-led filmmaking.

Looking ahead, Hormel envisions a future where Partners in Kind leads the way in responsible media production, fostering a culture of empathy and empowerment. “I don’t feel like we need more production companies. Instead, I feel like we need to work together and amplify each other, not just in the film and television space, but also academic minds, other organizations, brands and individuals who have that common goal for good and come together so we can maximize our impact and influence in the best possible way,” Hormel concludes. As she navigates the intersection of media and philanthropy, Hormel remains guided by her family’s legacy of compassion and community service, epitomizing the transformative potential of purpose-driven entrepreneurship.