Southern Wine & Spirits of Kentucky Corporate Social Responsibility

Support of U.S. military service personnel, local volunteerism and lending financial support to numerous local nonprofit groups are important priorities at Southern Wine & Spirits of Kentucky (Southern), according to Pete McLaughlin, Vice President, General Manager of Kentucky. The entire Kentucky team is committed to corporate sponsorship, community involvement and educational excellence.

I.   Operation Homefront

A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers to provide emergency and financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

In a major national partnership with Jim Beam and Wal-Mart, Southern of Kentucky has supported the Operation Homefront program since 2010. In 2013 and 2014, at Ft. Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Southern’s team members worked alongside Jim Beam and Wal-Mart volunteers to distribute more than 600 meals to military families. Ft. Knox was added to the program in 2011 and together the sponsors have distributed 300 meals to Ft. Knox military families each year.

“Words cannot express how proud we are in Kentucky to participate in this great community outreach program. The food baskets we distribute include the ingredients to make a complete holiday meal – and the families of our troops appreciate the gift very much. We are humbled when they thank us. We are there to thank them for their service. They do not need to thank us. This is a heartwarming event and many holiday hugs are exchanged with our soldiers and their families,” commented McLaughlin.

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II.   2014 Unbridled Eve Gala

Beginning in 2004, Southern became the signature sponsor for Unbridled Eve, a gala held the first Friday in May as part of the annual Kentucky Derby. This event benefits Blessings in a Backpack and the ALS local chapter. The black tie gala is held at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville and is attended by Harvey, Southern Chairman, and Roberta Chaplin each year.

Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary schoolchildren—who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program—with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. Backpacks include easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, like granola bars, juice boxes, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal and other nutritious options. In 2014, Southern lent its support for the distribution of more than 80,000 meals and drinks stuffed in school backpacks over the 38-week campaign period.

In addition to Blessings in a Backpack, the Unbridled Eve executive committee selects a variety of small beneficiaries to receive financial support. These beneficiaries have included the local ALS chapter in honor of the sister of Will Conniff, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Kentucky, Illinois and Minnesota, who lost her fight with this tragic disease. The contribution assists families in dealing with the physical and psychological challenges of this debilitating disease.

Since 2004, SWS-KY has raised more than $1.3 million for the many charities involved with the Unbridled Eve Gala.

III.   Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society

In the belief that the fight to end breast cancer starts with a single step, the American Cancer Society (ACS) enlists the help of millions of people in more than 300 communities nationwide in numerous Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. In October 2014, Southern employees participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the 16th consecutive year. This year the company raised financial support through in-office fundraisers and soliciting the support of family and friends. SWS-KY was the 19th highest team contribution out of the 706 teams who participated in the Louisville walk. The Louisville ACS Walk raised $436,000 and Southern is very proud to have contributed to this overall total.

IV.   Additional Charitable Support

For the 15th consecutive year, Southern employees helped deserving families during the 2013 and 2014 holiday seasons by raising funds for the following nonprofits: Salvation Army, St. Joseph Children’s Home, and Fairdale Ministries among others.

In conjunction with the local Salvation Army and the Jefferson County Public Schools, Southern sponsored a total of 11 families located in Owensboro, Lexington, Covington and Louisville. In addition, Southern provided clothing and shoes for 30 children selected from the Jefferson County Public Schools and St. Joseph Children’s Home in Louisville. This program has been in operation since 1998 and supervised by Chris Hagan, Southern’s Human Resources Manager in the market. Hagan noted, “We are proud to participate in this particular effort, as we do for many other charities. We will continue to play a constructive role in these philanthropic efforts across the state.”

Conniff added, “Along with Pete McLaughlin, I want to praise the generosity of our team members and all the personal time devoted to these worthy community efforts across the State of Kentucky.”