Florida's Hurrican Charley victims helped out by foundation.

The Chief Marketing Officer of a network marketing company typically focuses his energies on how to help associates sponsor customers and sponsor other associates. Dave Clare is a CMO who does this, and more. Dave also gets to delight in a more unusual mission: helping associates to sponsor worthwhile causes.


Identifying a Company’s DNA

It all began in the summer of 2003 when Dave and his company’s two new owners, co-CEO and Chairman Paulo Bangerter and co-CEO and President Aaron Webber, were sitting in Aaron’s office grappling with their identity—at 3:00 in the morning.

“We were determined to define our DNA,” says Dave. “That’s what we call those foundational beliefs and principles we want to adhere to so strongly they become our persona, our unique fingerprint and blueprint. With these two men taking over the helm, we had an opportunity to change how we approach this business.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Who are we? What is it we want to be? What do we really feel? What do we want to accomplish? What makes us different?’ We were determined to establish ourselves as the legitimate, authentic business we are, distancing ourselves from any hint of any sort of ‘get rich quick’ image.”

They pondered the fact that their products make people’s lives better, in terms of health and wellness; and their business opportunity helps to better people’s lives financially. As they thought about these fundamentals, they realized that they shared a common belief: “the only thing that’s really meaningful in life is when we’re serving others, when we have a chance to give back to others or to lift someone out of the limitations of their present circumstances.”

Three words emerged to define their mission: health, freedom, and hope. The first two sprang naturally from the nature of their business; the third was something that they manifested through the conception of a new non-profit foundation.

 

Sponsoring a Cause

“As we were sitting around the room in the wee hours of the morning, we asked ourselves, ‘What is our value? What is our contribution to the world? What would make us more complete as a company?’ We didn’t want to create the same kind of charity as other organizations; we wanted whatever it was we created to belong to our associates. We had a burst of creative thought: if our associates could sponsor people to join their businesses, wouldn’t it be great if they could also sponsor people in order to make a difference in their lives in other ways? Once we articulated that idea, everything began to crystallize.”

The company set the tone by donating huge amounts of products, funds and materials to needy projects, including Orphans Around the World (www.orphansaroundtheworld.org), for which the foundation provided nutritional support, bedding, clothes, learning aids, medical care and financial support; and Reach the Children (www.reachthechildren.org), whose mission is to provide underprivileged children opportunities for self-reliance by strengthening families and communities. The foundation supported these children with school construction, education, books and literacy programs, and water and agriculture training.

Associates quickly followed suit, tapping into this new DNA and requesting partnership with the foundation to make a difference in the world.

One such associate is Neal Secrist, D.O. Every year, Dr. Secrist takes a team of medical students and others to Cochabamba, Bolivia, nestled in the base of the Andes, to help build a children’s hospital under the auspices of Hospitals of Hope (www.hospitalsofhope.org).

Says Dr. Secrist, “The company was very generous in donating formulations to the workers who accompanied me to this remote village. The products helped to bolster our immune systems so that we were able to do the work we came to do. We’re grateful for partnering with the foundation whose mission supports us to provide free medical care to this large indigent population.”

Another associate linked the foundation to a group of Lee University medical students on a humanitarian trip to Ghana. To bring hope to the impoverished people of Ghana, these students took a two-day plane ride and full-day bus ride to deliver the donated multi-vitamin and mineral supplements to the entire village of 3600 men, women and children.

Left: Dave Clare at Golf with two other golfers at golfing charity event. Right: Celebrity signed auction item.

Working at Making a Difference

“Now that our DNA is complete with our concept of hope,” says Dave Clare, “our service-oriented associates can tap in and say, ‘Would the foundation like to help?’ It has become a part of our culture.”

Indeed, the breadth of the foundation’s charities are as broad as the interests of the company’s diverse associates. By request, the foundation has supported associates in cancer-related fundraisers from walks to bicycle races, in charitable golf tournaments and auctions and in putting on dinners to raise money for goods for the troops in Iraq.

“To comfort the homeless and needy people in Colombia, associate Vincent Nicholas arranged for the company to donate enough money to build an entire house, plus $20,000 worth of nutritional products, through the charity Minuto de Dios,” reported their company’s magazine in the summer of 2004.

Associate Todd Smith, along with members of his family and networking team, saw an immediate need and were able to answer the call rapidly with the help of the foundation. They applied their energy, combined with the foundation’s resources, to provide food, water, diapers and other supplies to impoverished communities on the west coast of Florida in the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Charley.

Says Paulo, “When the hurricane hit in Florida, we could respond and make a difference immediately. That felt good. When else in my life have I been able to do something like that? What other organization have I worked with that has provided that type of service as an ethic in action? The answer is none, except for my church.”

Paulo continues, “We not only love the Foundation, we feel deeply about it. It’s the core of what we’re all about. The whole purpose that drives us is our desire to make a difference in the world. If we change the life of just one person, then we have changed the world. It sounds trite, but it isn’t trite. It is fundamentally important to us.

“If we want to be good people, we need to act like good people. The foundation gives us a way to manifest our willingness to do that, not just in word but also in deed. It’s profoundly a part of what we’re all about.”

 

…And Work that Makes a Difference

Paulo also acknowledges the impact that the business side of network marketing makes in positively affecting the world.

“Business is about succeeding. When you do well, then other people—your employees, management, suppliers, business associates and partners—do well. Thousands of lives are better when your business succeeds. Now we can take that chain of success one huge step further: when our businesses succeed, we can share the blessings that come to us with people who have no other means for helping themselves.”

Clare acknowledges that the Foundation is the brainchild of the CEOs.

“It was their idea, it’s their DNA, their company, their passion. They are very generous and eager to have the company fund the Foundation as much as possible.”

One creative way they do so is to take a small percentage of the company’s profits from every sale and direct it to the Foundation. The unique twist is that these profits are tagged in the names of the associates who purchased the products, so that each Associate in essence builds her own Foundation funding with an ever-growing account. While this concept is still in its developmental stage, the intention is for each associate to be able to direct her funds to those projects that speak to her heart.

“Rather than it simply being the company that supports all these different charitable causes,” Clare explains, “we want our associates to participate fully and say, ‘I want to sponsor Jimmy down the street who I know doesn’t have enough money for his surgery.’ “

And this is exactly what appears to be happening. As associates are acculturated into the unique “DNA” of this charitable vehicle, they find themselves serving people through their businesses, providing health products and financial opportunity, and then serving them through their ownership in the Foundation.

 

Hope for the Future

Paulo is excited about the Foundation’s future.

“Not everyone has the skills, ability and capacity to function in a successful business. For those people who are not in a position where they can actively better their own circumstances, the Foundation is here to reach out and help them do that. We can’t help everybody; Mother Teresa couldn’t help everybody. But we’re going to help somebody—a lot of somebodies—and that’s going to make a difference.”

Only one year into his new job as CMO, Dave’s focus on global strategies has already put the Foundation at the forefront of the company’s priorities, which Dave points out means aligning their efforts with the basic priorities of human existence.

“It’s about getting back to the basics, such as food, shelter and clothing. It’s about putting our money where our values are. And for us, that means health, freedom and hope.”