As part of Clover Sonoma’s Clover Care community giveback program, the company gives 5% of profit every year to charitable organizations that fit within its mission of elevating dairy, empowering future generations, and supporting the community.
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American Heart Association - Heart Health Day at Clover Sonoma headquarters. (Courtesy Photo)

What three events or activities would you like to highlight as examples of ways your company or you have helped or continue to help make things better in the North Bay?

As part of Clover Cares community giveback, the company gives at least five percent of profits every year to charitable organizations that fit within its mission of elevating dairy, empowering future generations, and supporting the community. The Clover Cares team selects and reviews each donation to make sure that every dollar is being maximized for the greatest social impact. Some of the programs supported through Clover Cares include a school garden project, a junior cooking challenge, education grants, and agricultural education.

The giveback in 2019 alone came to more than $800,000 in cash and product donations.

What ways does your organization help support the idea of helping others?

The Clover Sonoma Power Hours Grant Program is designed to encourage and reward Clover employees for volunteering their time outside of work with qualified nonprofits and community-based organizations in our communities. Clover employees are encouraged to submit their community volunteer hours (aka Power Hours) on a monthly basis to the Clover Cares team via a simple reporting form.

Every employee reporting two or more hours of volunteer time in a given month will be entered into a raffle drawing. For every 25 hours that an individual employee accumulates volunteering for qualified organizations, Clover Sonoma will donate a $250 Power Hours grant to the organization of the employee’s choice (it must be an organization where the employee has volunteered).

How is the idea of helping others or working to solve community issues incorporated into the company’s culture?

Born of founder Gene Benedetti’s desire to build “a company that truly reflected his personal ethos,” Clover has always taken the long view — thinking well beyond next quarter or next year. We consistently rise to, and surpass, the standards of quality and sustainability in the dairy industry, challenging ourselves to maintain our values despite the pressures of a growing business and industry. We source directly from regional family farms, fostering family farming and sharing quality and sustainability methods. In short, we strive to support the community that supports us, wherever and however possible.

What inspires your employees about the North Bay spirit of helping others?

For generations, Clover Sonoma has committed to building relationships within the Northern California community, evidenced by long- standing partnerships with farmers, employees, suppliers, consumers, and charitable organizations. All 30 Clover Sonoma dairy farms are family-owned and American Humane Association Certified. They are required to adhere to the company’s rigorous quality standards, also known as the Clover Promise of Excellence, and are paid a premium to support those standards. Clover Sonoma’s commitment extends to employees as well. All workers are confirmed to be receiving not only the individual living wage for their respective areas, but rather the family living wage which is estimated based on a family of four. In addition, the company supports its employees through generous health and wellness benefits.

How does your company’s philanthropy work spill over into personal life?

The company encourages employee volunteering, community involvement and giveback on many levels which empowers employees to contribute positively to the community in which they live.

Describe why you do what you do in the community in six words.

“…to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Why are you inspired by helping others?

Danielle Cantrell, employee: I am inspired to help others because helping others makes me feel good, gives me a sense of purpose, and helps my community thrive.

How has this group helped your cause?

Maureen Highland, Petaluma Education Foundation executive director: The Petaluma Education Foundation serves more than 12,000 students at 38 public, private and charter schools in our community. Thanks to dedicated partners like Clover Sonoma, the PEF Scholarship program provides financial awards to graduating seniors planning to attend two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and vocational programs after high school. Awards acknowledge a variety of student accomplishments during their academic careers.

For nearly two decades, Clover Sonoma has supported PEF, providing scholarships and grants for programs like the Sustainable Culinary Garden Project, Model Classrooms: Interactive Learning for the 21st Century, Community Matters: Safe School Ambassadors, Science Technology Integration for Supporting Student Learning, plus a multi- year funding for a campus-wide STEAM Initiative transforming the learning environment for hundreds of students. As a lead sponsor of our annual Bash gala event, Clover Sonoma also ensures our impact continues to grow, elevating the educational opportunities for every student throughout each stage of their academic careers. It is truly incredible to collaborate with such a constant and passionate corporate leader in our community.

Dennis Agnos, Social Advocates for Youth chief development officer: Founded in 1971, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) is the leading service provider for homeless, disconnected, and vulnerable youth in Sonoma County. For more than 25 years, Clover Sonoma has supported SAY in our mission to help youth achieve their dreams and succeed. As a philanthropic leader in Sonoma County, Clover continues to be a compassionate, strategic partner in our work to end youth homelessness and empower self-sufficiency.

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused milk prices to plummet…

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