Meijer presents exec with first Fred Meijer Award

Cathy Cooper (left) became the first recipient of the Fred Meijer Award.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer has given out its first Fred Meijer Award to Cathy Cooper, senior director of community partnerships and giving for Meijer.

Cooper started her career at Meijer in 1982 as a store manager and advanced through several roles in the marketing organization prior to her current role directing Meijer's community partnerships and giving efforts. In her current role, she acts as the company's primary contact for the numerous philanthropic organizations Meijer supports. She also directs Meijer sponsorships of collegiate and professional sports and serves as the executive director of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.

According to the company, the Fred Meijer Award will be granted annually to one Meijer team member who most exhibits the qualities Fred Meijer was known for — leadership through humility, generosity and passion for serving others. The award is one element of the company's new Legacy Awards, which also includes a Presidents Award that will be presented to several Meijer team members throughout October. The Legacy Awards were created to honor Meijer team members who are leaving a lasting legacy among their teams and communities.

"Our family is so pleased to present this award to Cathy," said Hank Meijer, executive chairman of Meijer. "Cathy has been such an amazing ambassador of our company during her 37-year career that it's only appropriate she is the first team member to receive this annual award."

Frederik Gerhard Hendrik Meijer was an American businessman, the chairman of the Meijer hypermarket chain, headquartered in his hometown of Greenville, Mich. He died Nov. 25, 2011.