Today we’re spotlighting our portfolio companies ShopCore and LivCor. President and CEO of both companies, Luke Petherbridge, created a unique charitable program. “CoreGiving: Dollars Hours Pounds” tackles one specific issue: hunger. To date, ShopCore has provided more than 1.5 million meals across the United States. Our global head of Environmental Social and Governance Alison Fenton-Willock spoke with Luke Petherbridge and San Diego Food Bank CEO James Floros about the success of the program.
Alison: Luke (ShopCore CEO), how did you decide to tackle hunger?
Luke: About 5 years ago, a friend of mine happened to share a shocking statistic: 1 in every 6 children in America is “food insecure,” either going hungry or not knowing whether there will be food that day. That was a wake-up call. It is completely unacceptable, and that made the decision easy. One of our core values at ShopCore is giving back to the communities our shopping centers serve, and I know that, together, as one team, we can be part of the solution. Our mission is simple and clear: eliminate childhood hunger in our communities.
Alison: James (SD Food Bank CEO), what does this partnership mean to you?
James: This partnership with ShopCore has been absolutely fantastic. The leadership and staff of ShopCore have understood the power of their support from the very beginning – originally funding one school’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, that first year ShopCore made it possible for 50 children to have healthy food on the weekends, so they could focus on their studies and be successful in school. They made a powerful, tangible impact that can break the cycle of poverty.
As they shared the power of their support with others, the ShopCore impact grew – this year, 500 children have nutritious food every single weekend throughout the school year because of this partnership. These youngsters are able to relax, focus on their homework and live healthier lives because of ShopCore’s support. ShopCore is empowering those 500 kids to be good students, so they can build a strong future for themselves and their families.
Alison: Who came up with the March Madness Bracket Battle and how does it work?
Luke: In 2018, our (ShopCore’s) charitable giving program was given the name "CoreGiving." With the name change came a more profound sense of responsibility, which is why we made it our goal to provide half a million meals to those in need in 2018. There is a “competitive edge” running through our team, and with it, they came up with the idea of Bracket Battle to help ShopCore tackle our 2018 goal in an exciting and engaging way. For our inaugural Bracket Battle fundraiser, we set out to raise $10,000 via donations and bracket entry fees that would coincide with March Madness. We called upon business peers, friends, and family to join us in the fight to end hunger. We were humbled by the support we received, and we were able to donate $33,000 to the San Diego Food Bank's Backpack 4 Kids program.
Keeping in mind how successful the Bracket Battle fundraiser was in 2018, we set a new goal of raising $50,000 during our 2019 Bracket Battle. Again, we were humbled by the overflow of generosity and were able to donate $100,000 to the Backpack 4 Kids program. We look forward to continuing the battle in 2020!
Alison: Luke, any suggestions for other CEOs looking to get their companies more actively involved in their communities?
Luke: I would say it is all about your “why.” By explaining our “why” (that no child in America should ever need to worry about food), every member of the organization easily centers around the value and importance of our mission—we are able to directly engage with our communities and our employees to feel a connection to our CoreGiving initiative. Relationships and connections are invaluable, and allowing employees to engage in a larger cause motivates them in a way nothing else can.
Get to know the communities you are affecting each day. Understand what the needs are and how your company can best meet those needs. The more you understand the needs of the community, and the more you know the people already working to meet those needs, the easier it will be to get involved and to make an impact.