Kindles A Relevant and Generous Gesture
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” In 2008, Southern Wine and Spirits of America took a giant step toward change for the wine and spirits world. As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the company launched its “40 for 40” charitable giving campaign, gifting 40 separate charitable organizations across the country with generous donations designed to have an immediate impact.
When Richard Gunderson decided to donate his old trombone to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts’ Music for Schools program, he realized that his small gift would change the lives of children for years to come. Last year, Gunderson, a Southern Wine & Spirits District Sales Manager, nominated the Music for Schools organization for a grant from his company’s “40 for 40” charitable giving campaign and knew that, with the help of the distribution powerhouse, countless children in the Sonoma, CA, area would be given the gift of music.
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts’ Music for Schools program proves disadvantaged children with instruments and musical education. “Not everyone can afford to participate in the arts,” says Music for Schools’ Kristi Buffo. “This is a wonderful example of how people like Richard [Gunderson, an SWS District Sales Manager], and the many others at Southern Wine and Spirits can really make a difference in the lives of children.”
When Southern announced its plans for the “40 for 40” campaign, every employee was asked to nominate a deserving local charity within their respective communities. Of the 860 detailed proposals submitted, 40 commendable non-profits were selected. “Since our founding, our company has had a tradition of giving back,” says Wayne E. Chaplin, SWS President and Chief Operating Officer. “We can think of no better way to commemorate our 40th anniversary than by involving Southern’s employees and asking them to participate in the company’s celebration by helping propose charitable organizations.”
Southern’s Donation to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation will be used towards sending two burn survivor children to a week-long summer camp, “Camp Champ,” with other burn victims.
As the 2008 Holiday Season approached in the midst of an uncertain economic climate, Southern stepped up to the plate, knowing that charitable organizations would need their help now more than ever. The company also bypassed the tradition of sending out holiday gifts, redirecting those funds to the charitable campaign and knowing that the donations would immediately benefit the small, community-based non-profits that frequently get overlooked.
The charitable organizations selected by Southern are based in 15 different states and support everything from the promotion of eco-gastronomic education to helping needy youth in Harlem through the sport of hockey to providing wounded veterans with much-needed counseling and support as they re-enter the American workforce.
Southern also made a generous donation to the Southeast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, which will use the funds to register patients and families with the Safe Return Program. This program provides bracelets to reunite disoriented and lost Alzheimer’s sufferers with their families. “Everyone knows someone with Alzheimer’s, or knows an Alzheimer’s story that breaks your heart,” says Dottie Carson, AASEFC Development Chair. “Southern Wine & Spirits is, in fact, saving lives, and there are 200 families in South Florida that can thank Southern for a greater chance of a safe return if their loved one ever gets lost.”
Southern’s donation to Southeastern Guide Dogs will be used to sponsor a student as he or she is trained to enter a new life of freedom and independence with the help of a guide dog.
If one of Southern’s 40 donations can help 200 families, it is nothing short of staggering to imagine the number of people nationwide who have been and will continue to be touched by Southern’s generosity. With kindness, careful thought and attention to communities, Southern is leading the way in corporate social responsibility; they are making the change by being the change.
Southern Wine and Spirits “40 for 40” Donation Recipients
Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation
Alzheimer's Association of Southeast Florida
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Autism Speaks, Inc.
Basket Brigade of Delaware
Blooming Grove Day Care Center, Inc.
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
California Association of the Deaf
Catholic Community Services of S. Arizona
Children's Cancer Fund of New Mexico
Clarke Jacksonville Auditory/Oral Center
Caring 4 Kids Foundation
Corvettes for Kids
Grand Strand Junior Women's Club
H3 United Soccer Club
The Healing Place
Ice Hockey in Harlem, Inc.
Jagriti (Awakening) Foundation
The Jeffrey Foundation
LaDor VaDor Intergenerational Programming
Let it be Foundation
Life Path Hospice, Inc.
Locks of Love
Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation
Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California
Paint Your Heart Out
Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes Research Education
Slow Food USA
Southern Guide Dogs, Inc.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Inc.
Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.
Wounded Warrior Project