Michael Spangenberg

State Forty Eight CEO and co-founder Michael Spangenberg said that by forming a foundation, the Chandler apparel company can expand its efforts to give back to the community.

People across the state have been showcasing Arizona pride with State Forty Eight tops, bottoms, accessories and more.

Now, the 8-year-old Chandler company’s founders are aiming to show that they’re more than just apparel manufacturers with their newly launched State Forty Eight Foundation and upcoming Entrepreneur Speaker Series.

“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.

While State Forty Eight was founded as a charitable apparel company, there was only so much it could do as a for-profit entity, Spangenberg said. 

So, the brand found different ways to expand a positive impact.

In 2019, State Forty Eight launched an initiative called Community Impact, which was committed to empowering others to do good. In its first year, the company attracted over 250 volunteers and donated more than $21,000 to local charities.

After witnessing incredible support for their Community Impact efforts – especially an event with United Food Bank where volunteers packed 4,800 emergency food bags, Spangenberg was inspired to do even more for the community and officially launched the State Forty Eight Foundation last year.

“So many people want to get involved with helping the community but don’t know where to start,” Spangenberg said. 

“We got hundreds of people to come pack thousands of emergency food bags, so the proof was there.”

The State Forty Eight Foundation also looks at its Entrepreneur Speaker Series as a different way of giving back.

Set to start in August, the series will cover topics including marketing, how to get trademarks, finances, sales and other basics that people aspiring to start their own business or current small business owners need to know.

“State Forty Eight wouldn’t be here without entrepreneurship,” Spangenberg said. “We’re going to be supporting entrepreneurs because we feel that it really helps make a difference in the community. 

“We know how it was to get started when you had nothing and had no resources, so we want to provide help to provide those practical tips and storytelling to really inspire people to follow their dream.”

State Forty Eight donated $43,000 to charities last year, according to their 2020 Community Impact Report, so they’re no stranger to fundraising. 

Spangenberg says he and his partners “try to think outside the box” when it comes to hosting fundraising events for their entrepreneurship program.

Fun ways the State Forty Eight Foundation has started fundraising for their entrepreneurship and youth mentorship programs included a garage sale outside its Chandler headquarters in April that raised over $2,500 and a tattoo fundraiser event in May that raised $4,800.

Last week, a poker game competition offered an array of prizes for the top six players.

The money raised for the entrepreneurship program will allow the State Forty Eight Foundation to provide future scholarships, Spangenberg said.

“Our actions speak louder than words,” Spangenberg said. “We want to prove who we are and what we stand for: empowering others and promoting love and positivity.”

Donations can be made at donorbox.org/statefortyeightfoundation. Information about the foundation and its events: statefortyeight.com/state-forty-eight-foundation. 

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