GSF Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Changing Hearts, Changing Lives
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Since its inception, more than $60 million raised and 285,000+ hours volunteered by GSF associates, supporting children and families in need through more than 850 local charities and schools across the U.S.
IRVINE, Calif., (September 20, 2022) – GSF Foundation (GSFF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in need through personal involvement and contributions in the areas where Golden State Foods (GSF) associates live and work, today celebrates its 20th Anniversary, raising more than $60 million, donating 285,000 service hours, and supporting over 850 local charities and schools since its launch. During the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary year, associates are rising to the challenge to heighten their community service by volunteering 20 hours or more by the end of 2022. As GSFF marks 20 years today, the nonprofit’s 28 local teams throughout the U.S. are participating in a “Day of Service” to give back through activities, such as packing hygiene kits to donate to youth in foster care and packing meals at Second Harvest Food Bank.
“Over the last two decades, our caring, generous associate volunteers have dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to make a difference in the lives of children and families in need across the country,” said GSF Chairman and Chief Executive Office Mark Wetterau, who established GSF Foundation in 2002 and serves as GSFF Board Chairman. “Perpetuating GSF’s 75-year legacy of our values-driven, people-first culture, the GSF Foundation demonstrates how our company and our associates are not only focused on doing well in our businesses, but also on doing good in the communities where we work and live. The GSF Foundation is truly GSF’s Creed and Values in action!”
Since 2002, the GSF Foundation has built upon the existing community involvement of GSF associates. As a volunteer-run-and-funded nonprofit, the Foundation has engaged up to 80 percent of associates who lead their local GSFF committees, volunteer their time serving others, nominate local charities for support, and donate financially to fund Foundation programs with 100% of associate contributions directly benefitting those in need. Partnering with associate-selected schools and 501(c)(3) non-profits that align with the Foundation’s mission, each GSF location encourages its team to organize volunteer activities, grants, and core programs that help children and families in the communities where associates live and work.
Responsible for engaging more than 6,000 GSF associates and a growing network of nearly 30 nationwide committees, GSFF Executive Director Tess McAnena oversees all Foundation operations, including strategic planning, fundraising, and organizational management.
“Giving back is so important to our associates, who have accomplished so much and will continue to accomplish much more through their wholehearted community involvement,” said McAnena. “As the GSF Foundation celebrates 20 years of positive impact on the lives of children and families in our communities all around the U.S., there’s no better time to commemorate our associates’ continued contributions and inspire their future involvement in the decades ahead!”
Empowered associates and supportive business partners have contributed to the development of several multifaceted programs, providing necessities of life to children who would otherwise go without them. The Foundation’s core programs include:
Back(pack) to School, which has provided elementary school students in need with nearly 157,000 backpacks full of essential supplies, so they can begin the school year ready to learn.
Best Foot Forward, which has supplied more than 28,000 pairs of new shoes to children who cannot afford them, so students may participate in their schools’ physical education programs.
Coats for Kids, which has given kids in need more than 6,000 new, warm coats for winter.
GSFF BIKE BUILD™ and Pedal to Perfection, which have collectively donated 9,000 bikes, in addition to the Bike Build program offering youth the opportunity to build their own—and often very first—bicycle under the guidance of a caring GSFF mentor.
Focus on Food, which has supported local food banks in their efforts to alleviate childhood hunger by funding more than two million meals for food-insecure families since 2020, in addition to millions more meals donated through other programs and community leadership since GSFF’s inception 20 years ago.
Alleviating Hunger Resonates with GSF Associates
A leading supplier to the foodservice industry for 75 years, GSF today feeds one billion people worldwide every day, and associates across GSF’s food manufacturing and distribution businesses share a deep connection to fighting hunger. Beyond food insecurity-focused fundraising and grant-making, volunteers shelve donations in food pantries, glean produce from fields, and distribute groceries to neighbors in need. GSF associates have also provided their warehouse and transportation logistics expertise to help food banks operate more efficiently and safely. Additionally, the company’s involvement in hunger alleviation includes:
Surplus Bottled Milk Donations: In recent years, GSF associates have innovatively continued GSFF’s 20-year legacy of hunger alleviation initiatives, including turning surplus milk into truckloads of relief for vulnerable families in Southern California and Kansas. Since June 2020, the company and the Foundation have supplied millions of bottles of long-shelf-life, premium whole milk to U.S. food banks through donations and by selling them at cost.
Food Rescue Program Support: Partnering on customer initiatives, GSF distribution associates supported Starbucks’ 2020 No Food Wasted program and continue to collaborate on FoodShare donation logistics across the company’s 24 U.S. distribution centers. After GSF’s Seattle facility piloted Starbucks’ FoodShare in early 2019, the ready-to-eat meal rescue program expanded nationwide to more than 4,800 Starbucks stores donating over 31 million meals to 23 Feeding America food banks with GSF’s operational support.
Community Food Bank Leadership: Supporting nonprofits like Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County (located near GSF’s global headquarters) throughout the past two decades, GSF leaders have served as Board Members and advisory committee members. In the mid-2000s, as a Second Harvest Board Member and GSFF’s Board Chairman, Wetterau chaired the capital campaign to raise more than $8 million to remodel the food bank’s newly donated facility in Irvine.
About the GSF Foundation
The associate-run, associate-funded non-profit GSF Foundation was established in 2002 to improve the lives of children and families in need. A natural extension of Golden State Foods’ values-based business, the Foundation assists those in the areas where GSF associates live and work through personal involvement and contributions. Building upon the existing charitable involvement of its associates, the GSF Foundation partners with hundreds of associate-nominated local charities to benefit worthy organizations and the individuals they serve throughout the U.S. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $60 million to help those in need.