When Shango opened its doors in 2014, only a few states had legalized the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis. The legal cannabis industry was in its infancy and the sudden appearance of cannabis dispensaries on Main Streets throughout these states was greeted with equal measures of celebration and suspicion.
Shango wanted to assure each community hosting our dispensaries and cultivations that Shango was a legitimate, professional, law-abiding business just like any other local farm or retailer. That our customers were just like any other shoppers and our employees were good citizens and good neighbors. That Shango would make a positive contribution to the economic vitality and the social and cultural life of the community.
As a result, community involvement has become a cornerstone of our business model and an important part of our ongoing success. One of the most effective ways we serve our communities is by donating our time, efforts and money to worthwhile local initiatives and charitable organizations.
Shango provides support for U.S. military veterans and breast cancer survivors, disaster and pandemic victims, and families in need of food and gifts during the holidays. Here are just a few of the stories that document our history of giving.
U.S. Military Veterans
When Shango’s Las Vegas dispensary donated $5,000 to Veterans Village Las Vegas, it joined casino powerhouses Wynn and The Venetian in an important drive to help build and maintain housing for homeless vets. Since then, Shango has made a total $25,000 in contributions to this nationally recognized organization.
Veterans Village partners with public and private organizations to provide housing, food, clothing, medical services, transportation and 24/7 counseling for homeless U.S. Veterans. Its non-profit business model relies on financial and material support primarily from the private sector rather than government agencies.
Veterans Village has drawn praise from state and federal lawmakers, as well as two U.S. Presidents. Now that its model has been proven successful, the organization faces the ongoing challenge of raising money to meet the ever-growing need for their services.
“Veterans Village is dedicated to creating an environment that is home to United States Veterans,” says Dr. Arnold Stalk, Ph.D., founder of Veterans Village. “We provide emergency housing, transitional housing, permanent housing and assisted living to homeless vets.”
Veterans Village currently houses more than 800 people each night at three facilities. Stalk has established solid and active private sector partnerships with prominent hotel-casino operators, corporate businesses and small businesses throughout Southern Nevada, as well as thousands of volunteers from various trade unions to help build, renovate and furnish housing units.
Over the past five years, Shango’s contributions have included cash donations, as well as much-needed food and clothing donations, especially around the holidays.
Shango was also a sponsor of the Larry Griffith Helping Hands Charity Event, benefiting Veterans Village and the Nevada Youth Network. The event featured a food, toys and clothing drop-off for Veterans Village residents. The items donated included new toys, thermals, gloves, scarves, socks, canned goods, hygiene products, blankets and towels.
Breast Cancer Victims, Survivors and Caregivers
Shango is a staunch ally in the battle against breast cancer armed with donations from the company, its customers and its employees. Shango began supporting breast cancer charities five years ago at its dispensary in Portland, Oregon, and has since expanded its fundraising efforts to communities in Nevada and California.
“Shango believes in building long-term relationships with purposeful local charities,” said Shango Controller Julie Dubocq. “We seek out charities in the same communities as our dispensaries. This helps us get to know the people who work for each charity and become directly involved in its mission and fundraising.”
Shango dispensaries sell its signature line of pink merchandise year-round to raise money for worthwhile organizations that serve cancer patients and survivors, as well as their families and caregivers. They also accept direct donations and employee contributions. One hundred percent of all pink merchandise profits, as well as other donations benefit Shango’s breast cancer charitable partners.
In these financially challenging times when many breast cancer charities are having difficulty raising funds, these organizations, particularly the national charities, rarely accept donations from cannabis companies even though their products can make a significant, positive difference in the quality of life for breast cancer patients and survivors.
“Cannabis companies are respected, successful businesses, cannabis sales generate significant tax revenue in the majority of states and the medical benefits of cannabis are now widely recognized,” Dubocq said. “But for some reason, the misperception of ‘weed’ as a danger to users and society persists, at least in some boardrooms and donor databases.”
However, despite Shango’s strong commitment and good intentions, it’s not always easy to find charities that welcome donations from a cannabis company. Many local and national breast cancer charities refuse money raised by cannabis companies and/or from the sale of cannabis products.
Shango Las Vegas has contributed to three separate breast cancer charities in the past five years, helping breast cancer survivors with post-surgery needs and assisting to pay their bills after surgery. The Caring Place, an adult services program under the umbrella of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, became the latest recipient in 2021.
The partnership between Shango and The Caring Place was formed to help fund programs for cancer patients, both adults and children. The Caring Place offers more than 40 programs to assist families that are battling the challenges of caring for loved ones touched by cancer, particularly breast cancer. All at no cost.
The Shango Las Vegas dispensary donated $2,500 from pink merchandise sales in 2021.
“We are so very grateful to Shango for this generous donation,” said Jeff Gordon, President/CEO of The Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. “These dollars will go directly into one of the most important programs at The Caring Place to help those who have been devastated by the costs involved in treatment.”
“Funding pivotal programs like The Caring Place is an integral part of our overall commitment to the Las Vegas community,” Shango Founder and CEO Brandon Rexroad said. “Providing program assistance to those in crisis is the one of the most effective ways we can help breast cancer survivors.”
Shango, which operates in six states, has a tradition of partnering with local organizations that make a real difference in the lives of breast cancer victims and survivors, and their families. Shango Las Vegas donated more than $10,000 over three years to two other breast cancer charities, including nearly $7,000 to the Ink Ribbon Foundation, a nonprofit group that pays for mastectomy scar cover-up tattoos.
In 2017, Shango Las Vegas, Team Rubicon, the respected disaster relief organization of military Veterans, and Formula Drift racecar driver Danny George teamed up to deliver much-needed food, supplies and money to victims of Hurricane Harvey.
George, one of the most popular and competitive drivers in the Formula Drift series at the time, personally delivered the donations to the Red Cross on his way to a race at the Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth. Danny George Racing is the first team in a national motorsports series to be sponsored by a cannabis company – Shango.
The Shango Danny George Racing team transporter loaded with supplies was tracked by numerous TV and online media outlets as it journeyed from Shango Las Vegas to the speedway.
Shango is always looking for new opportunities to serve the communities we call home and new ways to increase the personal, professional and financial support we provide. As we continue to grow in our six state markets and across America, we look forward to partnering with exceptional public, civic and charitable organizations that will help us write the next chapter in our ongoing history of giving.