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.

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 Moreno Valley currently supports The Pink Ribbon Place in Riverside, California. This new partnership yielded a $1,500 donation raised last October from Shango pink merchandise sales during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Pink Ribbon Place serves breast cancer patients, family members and primary caregivers near Shango’s Moreno Valley dispensary. It offers counseling to help build the skills and confidence needed to cope with the emotional hardships on the difficult journey from breast cancer diagnosis and treatment to recovery and remission.

“The Pink Ribbon Place team is so grateful for businesses like Shango, whose teams truly understand the value of giving back to charities who offer direct services,” said Terri Akens, Director of Community Health Programs. “These efforts directly impact our ability to continue offering quality services at no cost to individuals and families impacted by cancer throughout the Inland Empire.”

Shango also does battle against breast cancer inside its dispensaries.

“If someone fighting cancer needs special attention, we will give it to them,” Shango Controller Julie Dubocq said. “And we’ll help them understand how cannabis can be a powerful ally in their fight. This is the one of the most effective ways we can help breast cancer survivors in Moreno Valley and nearby communities.”

This is the first year of what will be an ongoing partnership between The Pink Ribbon Place and Shango Moreno Valley.

“Thank you for the fundraising efforts that were committed to The Pink Ribbon Place in October 2021,” said Shené Bowie-Hussey, vice president of Health Strategies for the Riverside Community Health Foundation. “We appreciate the partnership and intentionality dedicated to helping us meet the needs of the community.

“We know that it is critical for families who face cancer diagnosis and treatment to have a support system that helps gain and maintain a sense of normalcy and emotional stability,” Bowie-Hussey said. “We appreciate contributions like Shango’s that help us to do our part in supporting Inland Empire families.”

The Pink Ribbon Place was established in 2009 and merged under Riverside Community Health Foundation, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization, as a fundamental program in 2013.

“Funding programs like The Pink Ribbon Place is a vital component of our ongoing commitment to the Inland community,” Shango Founder and CEO Brandon Rexroad said. “This is the one of the most effective ways we can help breast cancer survivors.”

The program serves Inland Empire families impacted by cancer by providing products such as wigs, post-surgical undergarments, breast prosthesis, education, and support services – all at no cost.

“The Pink Ribbon Place team is so grateful for businesses like Shango,” said Terri Akens, Director of Community Health Programs. “These efforts directly impact our ability to continue offering quality services at no cost to individuals and families impacted by cancer throughout the Inland Empire.”

Pandemic Relief

Despite opening its doors during the pandemic, Shango Moreno Valley made its presence felt immediately in the community by donating nearly three tons of food to Unity of Faith Christian Outreach Ministries to help local residents in need during the pandemic.

Shango collected items at its Moreno Valley dispensary and coordinated its efforts with Food for Farms, a Mendocino County-based farmers consortium, that provided boxes of fresh food from farms 600 to 700 miles from Moreno Valley.

The group is part of Madrone Grown, a group of Mendocino vegetable and cannabis farmers. The farms are Independently owned and operated by Californians. For more info, see Madronegrown.com.

“This was a golden opportunity to get fresh produce to people of need,” one organizer said. “With restaurants and stores not needing as much produce, we were able to find a large population who needed food and needed it now.”

“We were delighted that this enormous venture has found its way to the needy families in our area,” said Rev. Cooper Hagans III of Faith Christian Outreach Ministries. “The need is so great that we need to accept as much as we can.”

Hagans’ food program needs doubled from 7,500 people a month to 15,000 when the pandemic took hold. Donations included fresh lettuce, squash, green beans and peas, as well as other offerings.

In 2020 and 2021, Shango Moreno Valley held three food drives in six months, but none bigger than the 2,500 pounds delivered to Unity of Faith Christian.

“We went to the weigh station, and it came out right at 2,500 pounds,” Hagans said. “This was the biggest contribution to our program from Shango. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.” A second truckload of food was delivered during the Christmas holidays.

“We have had hundreds of people respond with kindness in a time of great challenge,” said Controller Julie Dubocq.”

Shango first teamed up with Foods for Farms in 2019 to help supply turkeys, fresh food and canned goods to those in need at Thanksgiving. The Shango Thanksgiving Food Drive resumed in 2022.

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.