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
Shango Las Vegas
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.
Several Shango dispensaries have “adopted” a local Veterans organization and donated money to support their operations and community programs. For example, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1325 was pleasantly surprised to be contacted by Shango Portland about donations to aid VFW members and their families. Thus far, our contributions have funded an essay contest for local school students and paid for a new roof at the VFW center.
“We would like to recognize Shango and their personnel for their thoughtfulness and generosity in supporting Veterans,” said Post Commander Bruce W Hall. “This has enabled our post to better serve our veterans and their families.”
Breast Cancer Victims, Survivors and Caregivers
Shango continues its battle against breast cancer armed with donations from the company, its customers and its employees in three states. 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 and 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 currently supports Breast Friends located near Portland, The Caring Place in Las Vegas and The Pink Ribbon Place in Riverside, California.
“Shango is honored to partner with three enlightened, life-changing charities to serve the needs of breast cancer patients and survivors, as well as their caregivers and families,” Shango CEO Brandon Rexroad said.
Shango Las Vegas
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. The company also gave 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 scar cover-up tattoos.
Over the first four years of their relationship. Shango Portland contributed more than $12,300 from pink merchandise sales to Breast Friends while also honoring a breast cancer patient with the first-ever Courage Award and a $1,000 gift.
“We just love this organization, its mission, its staff and the women they serve,” said Shango Portland Controller Julie Dubocq. “Shango is proud to partner with Breast Friends and support its mission to serve breast cancer survivors.”
Breast Friends Co-Founder Becky Olson, who passed away recently from breast cancer, initiated the relationship with Shango in 2018 and said at the time, “Shango has given us a whole new perspective on cannabis. We are glad they found us. Our position has always been that breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, and neither do we.”
“Shango is honored to serve these brave cancer survivors,” Dubocq said. “Providing resources that can help them succeed on their journey to recovery has become an essential part of our charitable giving.”
In the fourth year of providing Breast Friends with financial support, the national cannabis company initiated the first year of the Courage Award to honor a breast cancer survivor who best exemplifies the courage shown by Olson, who battled back from four bouts with breast cancer.
Pamela George became the first recipient and received a check for $1,000, a $250 gift card from Shango and have her name inscribed on plaques to hang permanently at the Shango dispensary and at Breast Friends headquarters in Tigard, Oregon. The plaques read, “In honor of their profound valor and steadfast perseverance, Breast Friends and Shango of Oregon present Pamela George with the 2021 Becky Olson Courage Award.”
“Breast Friends is so appreciative of the generosity and support of Shango,” said Allison Hancock, executive director of Breast Friends. “The Becky Olson Courage Award is beautiful and the recipient that we chose to receive the award was overwhelmed and very thankful for the check that was given to her. The money will be very helpful to cover the cost of unexpected expenses. It helps to ease the worry and exhaustion of navigating a cancer diagnosis and the financial stress that comes along, too.”
“Partnering with Shango has been a reminder to us of the great community support that we receive,” Hancock said. “This year’s generous donation will help us continue to provide resources, information and support to women who are navigating their cancer diagnosis. Thank you for supporting the work that we do in ensuring that no woman goes through cancer alone.”
“Shango wants to help worthwhile organizations that make a real difference in someone’s life,” Dubocq said. “Rather than donating to a general fund, we provide money and services to charities that deliver immediate results. And with Breast Friends, it is easy to see the results.”
Statistics show that every woman in America will be touched by breast cancer or other women’s cancers. One in eight women will be diagnosed, and the other seven will know her. The Breast Friends goal is to reach the seven in order to help the one.
“This is also an amazing opportunity for Shango to be able to help out a charity that recognizes and promotes the potential benefits of medical cannabis to patients before and after surgery.” Dubocq added. “We admire their courage.”
Shango documents the path of the donation and provides photos and story information to the public. Donations can be made directly to www.breastfriends.org.
Shango Moreno Valley
Shango’s new partnership with The Pink Ribbon Place in Riverside 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.”
The Pink Ribbon Place is located at 4275 Lemon Street., Riverside, CA 92501.
Shango Moreno Valley
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 location in Moreno Valley 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.
“We were delighted that this enormous venture has found its way to the needy families in our area,” Rev. Cooper Hagans III of Faith Christian said. Donations included fresh lettuce, squash, green beans and peas, as well as other offerings.
Hagans’ food program need doubled from 7,500 people a month to 15,000 when the pandemic took hold. “The need is so great,” Hagans said, “That we need to accept as much as we can from as far away as 600 to 700 miles to Mendocino County.”
Farms for Farms consists of a group of 40 farms, part of the Madrone Grown network. Madrone high grade cannabis is crafted, trimmed and packed by hand in Mendocino County. The farms are Independently owned and operated by Californians. For more info, see Madronegrown.com.
“This is a golden opportunity to get fresh produce to people of need,” one organizer said. “With restaurants and stores not needing as much produce, we are able to find a large population who does need food and need it now.”
In 2020 and 2021, Shango of Moreno Valley held three Food Drives in six months, but none bigger than the 2,500 pounds delivered to Unity of Faith Christian Outreach Ministries.
“We went to the weigh station, and it came out right at 2,500 pounds,” Rev. Cooper Hagans III said. “This was the biggest contrition to our program from Shango. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
A second truckload of food was delivered during the Christmas holidays and the drive is still underway.
“We have had hundreds of people respond with kindness in a time of great challenge,” said Controller Julie Dubocq.”
In 2019, Shango teamed up with Farms for Farms to help supply turkeys, fresh food and canned goods for those in need for Thanksgiving. The Shango Thanksgiving Food Drive will resume in 2022.
Shango Las Vegas
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.