June 2009

Southern Wine & Spirits’ 40th Anniversary

By: Rachel Burkons
Kindles A Relevant and Generous Gesture
 
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “You must be the changeyou wish to see in the world.” In 2008, Southern Wine and Spirits ofAmerica 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 charitableorganizations across the country with generous donations designed tohave an immediate impact.

When Richard Gunderson decided todonate his old trombone to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts’ Musicfor Schools program, he realized that his small gift would change thelives of children for years to come. Last year, Gunderson, a SouthernWine & Spirits District Sales Manager, nominated the  Music forSchools organization for a grant from his company’s “40 for 40”charitable giving campaign and knew that, with the help of thedistribution powerhouse, countless children in the Sonoma, CA, areawould be given the gift of music.
 
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts’ Music forSchools program proves disadvantaged children with instruments andmusical education. “Not everyone can afford to participate in thearts,” says Music for Schools’ Kristi Buffo. “This is a wonderfulexample of how people like Richard [Gunderson, an SWS District SalesManager], and the many others at Southern Wine and Spirits can reallymake a difference in the lives of children.”
 
When Southern announced its plans for the “40 for40” campaign, every employee was asked to nominate a deserving localcharity within their respective communities. Of the 860 detailedproposals submitted, 40 commendable non-profits were selected. “Sinceour founding, our company has had a tradition of giving back,” saysWayne E. Chaplin, SWS President and Chief Operating Officer. “We canthink of no better way to commemorate our 40th anniversary than byinvolving Southern’s employees and asking them to participate in thecompany’s celebration by helping propose charitable organizations.”
 
Southern’s Donation to the Alisa Ann Ruch BurnFoundation will be used towards sending two burn survivor children to aweek-long summer camp, “Camp Champ,” with other burn victims.

As the 2008 Holiday Season approached in themidst of an uncertain economic climate, Southern stepped up to theplate, knowing that charitable organizations would need their help nowmore than ever. The company also bypassed the tradition of sending outholiday gifts, redirecting those funds to the charitable campaign andknowing that the donations would immediately benefit the small,community-based non-profits that frequently get overlooked.

The charitable organizations selected bySouthern are based in 15 different states and support everything fromthe promotion of eco-gastronomic education to helping needy youth inHarlem through the sport of hockey to providing wounded veterans withmuch-needed counseling and support as they re-enter the Americanworkforce.

Southern also made a generous donation to theSoutheast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, which will use thefunds to register patients and families with the Safe Return Program.This program provides bracelets to reunite disoriented and lostAlzheimer’s sufferers with their families. “Everyone knows someone withAlzheimer’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 SouthFlorida that can thank Southern for a greater chance of a safe returnif their loved one ever gets lost.”
 
Southern’s donation to Southeastern Guide Dogswill be used to sponsor a student as he or she is trained to enter anew life of freedom and independence with the help of a guide dog.

If one of Southern’s 40 donations can help 200families, it is nothing short of staggering to imagine the number ofpeople nationwide who have been and will continue to be touched bySouthern’s generosity. With kindness, careful thought and attention tocommunities, Southern is leading the way in corporate socialresponsibility; 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        
The Deliverer        
GiGi's Playhouse        
Gilda's Club         
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        
Mama's Kitchen        
Morning Madness        
Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California        
Paint Your Heart Out        
Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes Research Education        
Restart, Inc.        
Seniors First        
Slow Food USA        
Southern Guide Dogs, Inc.        
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Inc.        
Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.
Wounded Warrior Project       

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