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. Continue reading here…