In 2013, under the direction of Jack Brennan, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of California, a division of Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., the Company continued to be a dedicated contributor to dozens of charitable causes throughout the state. Mr. Brennan said: "Here at Southern, giving back to the community is something our employees and executives do on a daily basis, and our dedication to being a socially responsible corporate citizen is equally strong.

Southern Wine & Spirits of Southern California and Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California: University of California TIPS Program

During 2013, at various University of California campuses, Southern Wine & Spirits of California’s two principal divisions – Southern Wine & Spirits of Southern California and Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California – have been working to help support the TIPS [Training for Intervention Procedures] for the University’s educational programs at its various campuses across the State of California.

As a responsible educational institution, The University of California acknowledges that whether or not students [of legal drinking age] choose to drink, they are likely to find themselves in situations where alcohol is being consumed. Unlike other programs, TIPS for the University teaches students intervention skills to prevent alcohol-related problems such as intoxication, drunk driving, and underage drinking among their peers.

Accordingly, the TIPS series is comprised of a practical three-part program that covers the essential knowledge and tools students need:

Information, such as signs of intoxication, factors that affect the rate of intoxication, intervention strategies, state-specific laws relating to alcohol, and other topics.

Skills Training, which engages students in a series of realistic scenarios, helps develop their abilities to assess behavior and intoxication levels. Thus, participants learn to determine appropriate responses to difficult situations.

Practice and Rehearsal, where students take the information and skills they have learned, and use them in role-playing exercises that challenge their ability to effectively intervene in difficult alcohol-related settings.

Address Alcohol Use in All Aspects of Student Life; in this program more than 450 campuses use this dynamic program in many facets of student life, including:

  • Residence Life

  • Greek Affairs

  • Athletics

  • Orientation

  • Student Activities

  • Off-Campus functions

Create a More Positive Culture Campus Wide; thisTIPS for the University program builds on students’ concern for the safety of their peers. This non-judgmental approach helps students from all segments of campus life learn:

Decision-making skills that help students guide their behavior and consider the consequences of their actions:

  • Confidence to prevent alcohol-related incidents on campus such as property damage, injury and drunk driving.

  • Interpersonal skills that increase students’ abilities to effectively intervene in difficult alcohol-related situations.

  • Liability protection for both the school and its student organizations.

  • Respect and concern for others that lead to a more positive environment throughout the campus.

The TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) for the University program is a three-hour program designed to teach students to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage drinking among their peers. This program addresses concerns specific to students, residence life, Greek organizations and all aspects of university life. All sessions are taught by certified TIPS trainers, using video and printed materials to facilitate discussion of the course content.

The course consists of three primary sections: Information, Skills Training and Practice/Rehearsal. At the end of the program, the trainer administers a multiple-choice exam that is sent to Health Communications, Inc. for grading and record-keeping. Students who pass the exam receive a certification card, valid for three years.
Following is a brief outline of the topics covered in the TIPS for the University program.

The Information Section uses a video presentation followed by discussion to cover basic information about alcohol, its effects on people and effective intervention strategies. Some of the topics include:
  • Behavioral Cues (visible, progressive signs of intoxication)

  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC, the level of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream)

  • Absorption Rate Factors (items that affect the absorption of alcohol)

  • Effective Responses (intervention strategies for students to use with their peers)

  • Checking IDs (proper formats and things to look for on an ID)

  • State-Specific Information (laws that relate to consuming and serving alcohol)

  • Understanding Liability (explanations about how students and groups can be held

  • responsible for alcohol-related problems)
  • Creating Responsible Environments (ideas to ensure alcohol is used responsibly)

  • Review (question and answer exercise to test understanding of information).

TIPS is the outreach designed for our customer base, as well as the university student population. It has been particularly desirable for the student athletes and has given us a considerable amount of visibility on the college campuses where we were previously having difficulty with the nature of products and specifically NCAA regulations.

SWS of California and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)

Southern’s college recruiting initiative has grown to include over 20+ University campuses in California. Our presence on each campus is designed to build relationships with a variety of campus leaders in athletics, the career center, marketing/professional associations, and with faculty/student leaders. The University Relations team is recognized on these campuses for our creativity, innovation and effectiveness educating student/faculty leaders on the industry and filling in gaps in career planning/networking, which have been lost due to budget cuts.

This past year Southern continued its national college recruiting initiative. SIFE programs bring university teams and business leaders together in a competitive forum whereby the students present business solutions which support their heart for the world and their mind for business.

This past year we had executives across disciplines and markets judge regional and national competitions. The skills and capabilities of these students are in alignment with the needs SWS has for future business leaders. Public Speaking/presentation skills, the competitive advantage, and a work ethic which will ensure success in a market leading organization like ours. We are among only 155 marketing leading organizations to act as a business partner to SIFE. These partners are some of the most notable in world, so it has been an honor to network and share best practices with this audience. Lastly, our recruiting team is recognized in the two leading professional organizations which govern college recruitment – The National Association of Colleges & Employers and the Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges & Employers.

SWS of Northern California and the Peninsula Outreach Programs (POPS) Annual Golf Charity 2012/2013

Mr. Brennan said, “In Southern’s Northern California Division, the annual Charity Golf Tournament is a good example of our Company's desire to help out at the local level, with proceeds benefiting POPS, the Peninsula Outreach Programs, Inc. group."

Mr. Brennan added: “The annual golf event is a sell out every year; we take over two courses at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, and more than 250 golfers compete, with all the proceeds earmarked for POPS.” According to Mr. Brennan, POPS is an established non-profit organization that provides a variety of resources, assistance and needed advocacy services for and on behalf of children with disabilities. Peninsula Outreach Programs, Inc. is based in Redwood City, California. Mr. Brennan said, “At our Annual Golf Charity Invitational, we were able to exceed last year’s donation by a generous margin.”

In a letter addressed to Southern’s Supplier Partners who participated in last year’s POPS Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Mr. Brennan said: “Thanks to all you for your generous donation at last year’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament held at Silverado. Your continued commitment to helping POPS/CECC (Peninsula Outreach Programs & Conductive Education Centers of California) is sincerely appreciated.”

“Each year POPS continues to touch the lives of many thanks to you and your involvement in my tournament. Through our efforts and contributions this annual golf tournament has kept the POPS doors open. With their dedication to the advancement of Conductive Education, we are all aiding children with motor disabilities and their families.”

“The money we raised will be used to now keep the Santa Rosa facility open year round. It will also cover the scholarship for 5 new families, who have been waitlisted. As you have witnessed from the testimonials from families and children at the tournament, your participation has made miraculous advances within POPS. With the help of donations from supporters such as you we will continue to see the lives of children change for the better.”

“Offering a simple “Thank You” for your donation never quite feels like it’s enough, because what you have done is help forever change the lives of many where there was once no hope. Frankly, we could not do it without donors such as you. I greatly appreciate your continued annual support. Let’s see if we can beat $90,000 this year.”

Mr. Brennan ended his POPS thank you note with a timely reminder: “Mark your calendar for this year’s event – I hope to see you there.”

Mr. Brennan also called attention to a statement about Southern Wine & Spirits of California’s ongoing support of POPS that Southern received from Ursula Miller, Founding President of POPS, which is based in Redwood City:

“I fell in love with motor disabled children in 1992. Rest is they say”
Below is "in a nutshell" what the Annual Charity Golf Tournament has meant to our organization!”

“POPSKIDS and POPSCECC, as did nearly all smaller not for profit organizations, suffer massive losses as a direct result of 9/11 and the related financial fall outs for years following the event. This and the bursting of the Silicon Valley bubble caused huge difficulties for our cause and Educational Programs for special needs children in general throughout California.”

“However, POPS is one of the lucky ones; we were able to pull through; there was this LIFELINE - our LIFERAFT = Jack Brennan and Southern Wine and Spirits. Proceeds from the Annual Charity Golf Tournament are what made it possible for us to keep our doors and programs open to motor challenged children. It is, in no small way, thanks to the Beverage Industry and SWS that our centers were able to remain open during this time of crisis and that children in need of scholarships are able to continue to attend the Conductive Education Programs in California. Southern Wine and Spirits is our angel - the wind beneath our wings!”

“Hope this helps explain just how incredibly important Southern is and has been to our survival during these very challenging times.”

“You are all so incredibly generous and amazing! Could not do what we do without Southern!!”

Ursula Miller
Founding President

For more information about this year’s POPS Golf Tournament event, please contact:
Monica Maffei / Director of Executive Support / Southern Wine & Spirits of California / 33321 Dowe Avenue, Union City, CA 94587 / 510-477-5801

SWS of California Receives Union City, California Community Steward Award

Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. announced on September 28, 2012 that Union City and the Union City Chamber of Commerce—through the Annual Business Award’s Program—have named Southern Wine & Spirits of Union City as this year’s recipient of the Community Steward Award.

The award recognizes companies that have made great contributions to the residents and businesses of Union City. "We're appreciative of all of our businesses," said Christine Friday, Union City's Economic Development Manager, "but most importantly, we appreciate those that give back and help Union City's profile."

“This award, which recognizes outstanding businesses in the community, is an exciting honor for Southern,” stated Gary Nedd, Vice President, Operations, Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California. “Giving back to our communities has always been a cornerstone of Southern’s corporate social responsibility philosophy,” added Steve Harden, Vice President, Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California, “and we are extremely honored and appreciative of Union City and the Chamber of Commerce for appointing Southern as a leading contributor to the local community.”

The ceremony, co-presented by the City and the local Chamber of Commerce, honored eight businesses in six categories: Innovation Business Award, Small Business Award, Environmental Business Award, Ambassador Award, New Business of the Year Award and the Community Steward Award. The formal Annual Business Award’s Ceremony Luncheon was held on September 13th.

Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California & Annual Children’s Holiday Party

As in previous years, SWS has celebrated a Children’s Holiday Party. Every year Southern selects an organization. Last year Southern contacted Alternative Family Service in Oakland. Received 150 names of foster youth from 0-18 years of age. Southern employees select a child to purchase 1 or more gifts for them. Holiday party Southern employees volunteer to make this party for Children a success.

Local high school teens donate their time to dress up as popular cartoon characters. Receive credit of 4 hours community service. Hire entertainers such as magician, puppeteer, story tellers and or singers. Picnic menu is served throughout the evening.

SWS of CA and Community Outreach Activities

On a quarterly basis we inspire SWS of CA employees to partner with the HR team and donate time and or goods/financial support to members of the community who need our help. We have aligned with a variety of different organizations and audiences in the area. Several highlights include, Save the Bay Beach Clean-Up, Serving/Meal Preparation at Glide Memorial and The Society of St. Vincent De Paul of Alameda County. The Annual Dress For Success Suit Drive, The Foster Care (Back-Pack/Diaper Drive for local foster children), The Special Event Trivia Day with the Masonic Home in Union City, and the Alameda County Food Bank (Food Drive & On-Site Volunteer Efforts).

The most recent outreach was a book drive we completed with a local Union City elementary school to equip classrooms and teachers with books the students need for their literature curriculum. Our next initiative will mirror our corporate counterparts whom have developed a relationship with the Red Cross to host an on-site blood drive. The most recent outreach was a book drive we completed with a local Union City elementary school to equip classrooms and teachers with books the students need for their literature curriculum. Our next initiative will mirror our corporate counterparts whom have developed a relationship with the Red Cross to host an on-site blood drive.

Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern and Southern California Support of Other Charitable Organizations

In 2013, as in past years, Southern Wine & Spirits of California also contributes to the Wounded Warriors Project, which gives money to wounded veterans, the Hong Kong Schools Alumni Scholarship Foundation, the Cheesecake Factory Charitable Foundation, and Nathan S. Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Research, according to Mr. Brennan.

According to Mr. Brennan, Southern Wine & Spirits of Northern California also supports the Boys and Girls Town of Italy. He said, “We annually support their cause which is an American charity in service to the Girls and Boys of many nations without distinction as to race or creed,” adding “Another annual charity contribution that we make goes to Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. The Ronald McDonald House at Stanford creates a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatment at local hospitals.”

In addition, during 2012 and 2013, Southern Wine & Spirits of California has donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society “MS 150 Bike Tour”, the American Cancer Society, and assorted products to the La Casita Verde School for their annual fundraising event, said Mr. Brennan, who added that when and where appropriate the company donates products to help support fundraising events or dinners which are held annually by many deserving non-profit groups across the state.

SWS of California Internship Opportunities

SWS of California has expanded their college recruiting initiative to include the development of internship opportunities. The process has been piloted in the South/North and students have had access to a variety of departments and disciplines. We have had success turning interns into full-time hires upon completion of their degree requirements. While the program is still in its infancy we are confident it will continue to grow and again supports our branding and the education of students to the benefits of preparing themselves for a career in the exciting world of wine/spirits.