Australia’s oldest grocer, Ritchies Supermarkets has paid $50 Million dollars to Aussie charities

BY Australian Retailers Association
12 March 2020

Staff and community members at Ritchies Supermarkets, recently raised a glass to the momentous $50 millionth payment through the Ritchies Community Benefit Program.

Since its inception in 1993, the program has given its members the opportunity to give a percentage of their grocery bill to a local school, club or charity of their choice.

In a timely nod to the devastating bushfires burning through Australia, the $50 millionth donation was donated to the Dromana CFA, with a $5,000 cheque presented to Captain Timothy Desmond, Dromana CFA.

“We’re so grateful to receive Ritchies $50 millionth donation. Our monthly payments from the program have to date totalled over $334,000, ultimately allowing us to invest in five new vehicles and essential equipment like duraline hoses, positive pressure fans, and electronic equipment such as mobile telephones, portable CFA radios, iPads for appliances as well as station computers and furniture, he said.

“Dromana brigade, which was established in 1929 has been serving the broader Victorian community for over nine decades. Ritchies Community Benefit Program has had the most impact on our fundraising, with this ongoing community partnership allowing our volunteer members more time to train and be ready to ‘Respond to Our Community’,” he said.

Ritchies commitment to giving back to the community runs deep throughout its history and can be traced back to its Founder, Thomas Ritchie who experienced incredible hardship in his life, including losing his four kids to a house fire in 1863, surviving thanks to the support of his community.

When opening Ritchies Supermarkets in 1870, Thomas built his business with community always at the forefront. His original “penny for every pound” scheme became the inspiration for the Community Benefit Program today and his objective to support local communities in any way he could, remaining intrinsic to operations at Ritchies to this day.

Ritchies longstanding CEO, Fred Harrison said Ritchies will always be committed to giving back to the community. “We are honoured that the Ritchies Community Benefits Program has changed the lives of many Australians and enriched countless organisations that help our local communities. We’re so proud of what we have achieved to date. Fifty million is just the start.

“We are so proud to donate $5,000, the $50 Millionth donation to the Dromana CFA, especially in light of the recent fires that have ravaged through the country. An amazing local organisation who have played a critical role in keeping the community safe.”

The top ten nominated charities reveal Australia’s commitment to their local Country Fire Association, seeing an extraordinary $3 million go towards these vital networks over the past 26 years. Based on Ritchies Community Benefit Program nominations, Australians also have a preference for Emergency aid and medical related research charities.

High profile aid charities such as The Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul and Westpac Rescue Helicopter claimed five of the top ten spots. Ritchies shoppers also deemed medical care and research of utmost importance, with high profile research charities, Cancer Council and the Royal Children’s Hospital claiming an additional three spots in the top ten most donated charities.

A major benefactor of the program to date, The Salvation Army is thankful for the support received from the program.

“The Salvation Army congratulates Ritchies Community Benefit Program in celebrating 26 years of practical support for so many disadvantaged in our communities. Over 26 years of partnership with Ritchies, The Salvation Army has received $1.85 million dollars that has been used to support families and individuals who find themselves in need of assistance. We are grateful for the partnership with have forged with Ritchies and we look forward to many more years of partnering in support of our local communities,” Bruce Harmer (Major) said.

Growing to employ over 5,500 employees in 78 stores across three states, Ritchies Supermarkets is a mainstay in the Australian grocery sector. Under the leadership of six prominent family leaders over the course of its life, not only is Ritchies the longest serving supermarket in Australia, but also a legacy brand for Australia, pre-dating federation (1900), sliced bread (1927), the telephone (1876) and even toilet paper (1878).

Australians vote: Top ten charities as nominated by Ritchies shoppers

1. Victorian CFA’s - $3 million (combined figure – Brigades received individual amounts)

2. RSPCA - $2,750,000

3. Cancer Council - $2,699,000

4. Salvation Army - $1,850,000

5. Royal Children’s Hospital - $1,580,000

6. Ritchies Emergency Relief Fund - $876,972

7. Westpac Rescue Helicopter - $613,217

8. St Vincent De Paul - $488,429

9. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Vic - $411,420

10. Guide Dogs - $414,828

Media enquiries:

Ellen McIver 0414 137 686/ Alex Mowatt

0411 208 684 /


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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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