We build vibrant communities through economic development, charitable giving, employee volunteerism and partnerships. We contribute to the vitality of communities through taxes, wages and investments in infrastructure, including ports, storage buildings and facility improvements. Our businesses, facilities and employee-led groups support civic and non-profit organizations in local communities.
We are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way; reducing our environmental impact; and improving the communities where we live and work. We are passionate about our purpose to be the global leader in nourishing people and operating responsibly across the agricultural, food, industrial and financial markets we serve. We invest in, engage with and respect cultures while promoting sustainable and responsible economic development to improve living standards and promote stable communities.
We provide corporate support to select national and global nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that serve communities in which we have a business presence. We support partners working within our focus areas of food security, nutrition, and sustainability. In fiscal 2016, Cargill charitable giving reached $50 million across 57 countries.
Cargill businesses, facilities and employees give through more than 350 employee-led Cargill Cares Councils worldwide. The councils provide support for local charitable and civic organizations and programs such as food relief agencies, school and youth programs, and local environmental projects. In our headquarters community, the Cargill Foundation supports education and childhood nutrition programs to nourish and educate the next generation for success in school, work and life.
We encourage our employees to volunteer their time and expertise to help reduce hunger, improve nutrition, strengthen educational opportunities and protect our global natural resources. Working collectively and individually, our employees and retirees strengthen schools, mentor and tutor youth, educate farmers, clean up shorelines, promote health and support economic development. Employees and retirees volunteer on an individual basis and with their co-workers in team activities. Through more than 350 Cargill Cares Councils globally, our employees and retirees around the world contribute millions of dollars and lend more than 100,000 hours of their time and talent to volunteer activities that have a local impact.
We invest in partnerships to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are committed to helping end poverty and hunger and advancing sustainable approaches to land, water and climate. Through our global partnerships, we are working to scale long-standing, successful projects and test promising new approaches. Some of our key partners include: CARE USA, TechnoServe, The Nature Conservancy, and Heifer International. We also work with national food banks in 18 countries to address hunger, food waste, food safety and other issues.