The charitable foundation for Chandler-based apparel company State Forty Eight is still trying to figure out where it can do the most good.
“This first year, you know, we kind of went out there with a lot of intentions around the programs that we wanted to launch,” said Alyssa Moore, the new executive director of the State Forty Eight Foundation.
“This first year has really been about … having conversations with our different business partners, talking to our supporters and really seeing, you know, what it is they need out in the community.”
The foundation launched in December of last year. After having those conversations, it just staged its first event in September – a seven-week entrepreneur speaker program.
“It was our first program we’ve ever done, it was really exciting,” Moore said. “We had over 200 people in attendance.”
She said they secured more than $12,500 in grants and they plan to give that money away to entrepreneurs to help them start their businesses.
They are currently accepting applications for that grant money. The top grant will be for $2,000. Others will be $1,500, $1,000 and $500.
“It was a lot of work to get this thing off the ground,” Moore said. “Really trying to build up that curriculum, figure out who made sense for which part of the curriculum, and then finding those individuals.”
One of their next events is to help the Phoenix Rising break a food-packing record set by the Arizona Cardinals. The United Food Bank is helping.
The three organizations hope to find 200 volunteers to pack emergency food bags from 5 to 7 p.m., Nov. 17 at the Rising’s stadium.
The United Food Bank provides 75,000 meals daily and an emergency food bag can feed a family of four for up to a week.
Moore said there’s a reason they chose entrepreneurship as their first program.
“If you’re going to be developing out specific programming within your organization, it’s something you should be an expert at,” Moore said. “We’re not experts at youth mentorship, we’re not experts at feeding the hungry. That’s why we create partnerships. That’s what we did on the State Forty Eight side.”
She said that’s the plan they want to follow going forward: Using the same blueprint they used to build State Forty Eight to build their foundation.
“On the entrepreneurship piece, that’s what we know,” Moore said. “That’s our bread and butter. We’re connected to so many local businesses, which means most of them are startups themselves.”
And their foundation is hoping to help the next set of business leaders get their start.
State Forty Eight was started in 2013 by three local entrepreneurs as a casual clothing company that is inspired by Arizona.
“We’re so much more than just selling T-shirts and hats,” said State Forty Eight co-founder and CEO, Michael Spangenberg. “The foundation will prove that we stand by what we say and that we really want to make a difference in the community.”
State Forty Eight was founded in 2013 by local entrepreneurs Spangenberg and brothers Stephen and Nicholas Polando to show their appreciation for Arizona.
The brand “represents a lifestyle, a sense of community and is an expression of pride,” and “is about redefining the status-quo and inspiring others to rise up and stand for something they believe in,” according to State Forty Eight’s website.
Last year, State Forty Eight established the State Forty Eight Foundation with a mission “to enrich and strengthen Arizona through thoughtful partnerships, inspired community action, and investment in the changemakers of tomorrow,” it said.
The nonprofit contributes to the wellbeing of Arizonans by organizing fundraising and events for community causes, conducting workshops and providing mentorship to educate and inspire Arizona youth.
It also offers start-ups entrepreneurial education and access to resources by partnering with incubator organizations, Spangenberg said.
“It’s very rewarding to help people follow their passion and make a difference in the community,” Spangenberg said.