Humanity has a beautiful way of banding together in times of turmoil – the more fortunate helping the needy, the overworked, the disadvantaged. While it’s easy to get lost in the daily COVID-19 headlines and statistics, it’s important to recognize that there’s a lot of good going on in the world.
I’m proud to present Insperity’s new blog series, Good Business, showcasing companies that have adapted to meet the needs of this uncertain time and to give back to their communities. Let these stories be a beacon of compassion, hope and optimism that together we will persevere and work toward a brighter tomorrow. – Larry Shaffer, senior vice president of marketing and business development
Imagine you’re a healthcare professional coming home after a long shift caring for patients suffering from COVID-19 and other ailments. On the way to your front door, you spy a care package. Opening it up, you discover a note of gratitude, sauces, marinades and other kitchen essentials for a comforting meal.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 800 healthcare workers have received these care packages from ONEHOPE Wine, a direct-to-consumer wine producer dedicated to charitable giving. ONEHOPE’s Healthcare Heroes program, one of two dedicated to caring for frontline workers, is just the latest of nearly 13 years of philanthropic endeavors that germinated from a simple idea and the collaboration of friends.
A seed, planted
One October nearly 15 years ago, inspiration struck Jake Kloberdanz, then a newly minted wine industry professional, in a California grocery store. Standing in a sea of pink – an assortment of branded products designed to support breast cancer awareness and research – he wondered:
Why isn’t there a wine producer that supports philanthropic causes? And why couldn’t a brand support worthwhile charities year round?
Later, he shared his revelation with his seven coworkers, all of whom were working for the world’s largest wine distributor.
“At the end of the month, [the special promotions] went away. But, obviously, breast cancer did not,” recalled Kristen Shroyer, one of the coworkers with whom Kloberdanz shared his idea.
Kloberdanz and the gang – each fresh out of college – were merchandising grocery store displays from 3:30 a.m. until 3 in the afternoon.
“Because of our crazy schedules, we became best friends,” Shroyer recalled.
Nothing came of his idea for nearly two years. Yet, when Kloberdanz’s close friend was diagnosed with blood cancer, he suddenly was driven to start the company the group had envisioned.
“He gave us each a call, said he’d started the company we’d dreamed about, and asked us ‘Are you in?’ We all quit our jobs and moved to Southern California,” Shroyer said.
Fast forward more than a decade, and that shared vision brewed over a succession of happy hours has grown into ONEHOPE Wine, one of the nation’s largest direct-to-consumer wine companies.
Good will and good wine
Each bottle of ONEHOPE Wine sold supports a charitable cause. Their California Brut Sparkling Wine helps feed hungry children. The Vintner Collection California Red Blend supports a veteran-run program to provide disaster relief. Their Chardonnay funds breast cancer research.
ONEHOPE also empowers its customers to support a nonprofit of their choice by becoming a preferred customer or hosting a private wine tasting fundraiser with a wine representative. The company refers to the representatives as “cause entrepreneurs,” a phrase that reflects their drive to earn money while giving back to the world. There are currently over 4,000 cause entrepreneurs in 41 states across the country.
“Our cause entrepreneurs live and breathe our mission, share wine and give hope,” said Shroyer, now executive director of the ONEHOPE Foundation. “And it’s a community of 99% women.”
Since 2007, ONEHOPE Wine has donated nearly $5 million, planted more than 100,000 trees and provided meals for more than 2.7 million children – among many other charitable accomplishments.
In the wake of COVID-19, ONEHOPE is turning its attention and resources to serving two groups of people directly impacted by the pandemic: healthcare and hospitality industry workers.
Caring for frontline workers
When the pandemic began overwhelming healthcare facilities, Shroyer said she and her team wanted to look for ways to help.
They established ONEHOPE’s Healthcare Hero program to send care packages filled with Napa Valley hospitality directly to healthcare workers. Shroyer anticipates this program will continue to grow – thanks to incoming nominations and online support via the company’s website.
“I have never received such a thoughtful gift in the 30 years that I have been a nurse,” said one recipient healthcare worker.
ONEHOPE saw another opportunity, too – one tied directly to the folks who were vital to ONEHOPE’s success: hotel and restaurant workers.
Alongside online orders and the work of the company’s cause entrepreneurs, hospitality sales long accounted for a significant portion of the company’s pre-pandemic income. Sadly, mandatory closures forced many of ONEHOPE’s clients to make tough choices.
“Our brand was initially built in restaurants and hotels, and is served at over 10,000 accounts nationwide,” Shroyer said. “We wanted to come up with a way to help those affected in the hospitality industry, brighten their days a little … put a little money in their pockets.”
In response, the company set up the Mothers in Hospitality Relief Fund. The program provides $100 micro-grants to a special subset of out-of-work hospitality workers and has already funded $60,000 in grants, helping 600 mothers and their families during this difficult time.
“In such a trying time,” shared one recipient, the mother of a seven-month-old baby, “this is a beautiful glimmer of positivity.”
One hope, firm roots
Today most of the founders remain involved with the company, with Kloberdanz serving as CEO and Shroyer overseeing the ONEHOPE Foundation.
And that early passion the friends had for sharing good wine and spreading goodwill? It remains at the heart of every sale and charitable contribution.
Shroyer says the company will continue to look for ways to help – this year and beyond. After all, philanthropic endeavors are central to the company’s origin story: a group of friends coming together after work to dream big dreams.
“When we work together, there’s no problem humanity can’t solve,” Shroyer said. “That simple idea inspired Jake to start ONEHOPE and has driven us to help change the world for the better ever since.”
To read more stories about Insperity clients making a difference in their communities – like ONEHOPE’s program caring for frontline workers – please visit our Community Heroes page.