A Humble Beginning, an Enduring Commitment
XanGo LLC started from quite modest beginnings. I recall the planning days back in 2002. XanGo’s founders—Joe Morton, Aaron Garrity, Gary Hollister, Gordon Morton, Kent Wood and myself—sitting around the conference table hammering out business details and making a commitment to giving back, just as soon as we turned our first profit.
But that Christmas, we decided we just couldn’t wait any longer for the magic day. If giving back is essential to defining who you are, you can’t postpone it because of the balance sheet. Although the company hadn’t yet turned its first profit, Gordon Morton laid the groundwork for what has become an intrinsic part of the XanGo corporate identity—to give before receiving—when he prompted us that “Humanitarianism is in XanGo’s very DNA.”
Extending Our Commitment to Those in Need Today
Fast-forward seven years to October 2009. I was immensely honored to help launch the XanGo Goodness Foundation at a black-tie fundraising dinner to benefit Operation Smile. The dinner kicked off XanGo’s annual convention in Salt Lake City and honored Bill and Kathy Magee, founders of Operation Smile. That evening, distributors raised nearly $35,000 for an upcoming trip to Thailand, where XanGo will provide cleft lip and palate repair to the children of the very families that harvest mangosteen fruit for XanGo Juice®.
The event marked the official creation of the XanGo Goodness Foundation as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Of course, even before becoming a 501(c)(3), XanGo’s founders, staff and distributors already participated in humanitarian efforts, medical expeditions, volunteer programs, community health education and advisory board services.
Why a Foundation Now?
As a direct selling company with expansion into 34 international markets, we felt the timing was right. With the XanGo Goodness Foundation, XanGo will strengthen its relationships with causes locally, around the country and across borders. Naturally, XanGo will continue to donate a significant portion of its profits to humanitarian work; however, the foundation now enables the company to extend its reach to better the lives of more people.
The XanGo Goodness Foundation provides a focal point around which to rally our distributors, motivating their involvement on a global scale. We felt that excitement at the company’s annual convention, when the announcement of the XanGo Goodness Foundation resulted in a standing ovation from the almost 10,000 distributors in attendance. XanGo focuses on healthier lives; it’s only natural that we feel passionate about improving lives through the XanGo Goodness Foundation as well.
For example, XanGo developed life-saving Meal Packs; distributors can purchase the packs, which are sent directly to people taking their first steps out of starvation. We followed the same formula suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO), but sought a way to simplify the formula to include oil. When oil is added separately, it frequently turns rancid in extreme heat or, in cases of corruption, may not reach the intended refugee camps. We don’t charge a penny to the relief organizations that distribute Meal Packs, but the company funds efforts to get them to those most in need. In essence, this is what the XanGo Goodness movement is all about: helping others in need.
A Return to Thailand
When the December 2004 tsunami decimated Phuket, Thailand, XanGo felt an immediate pull to help. We asked ourselves how we could make a difference over the long term, instead of simply writing a check and moving on.
The company conducted an audit of relief organizations involved in Phuket. After doing our homework, we partnered with a small charity to purchase 30-plus acres of undeveloped land in conjunction with the German and Swiss consulates. First, we donated the land and built a community from the ground up, not just building homes for the residents, but hiring them to do the home construction so they could continue to earn a livelihood with that skill. In fact, we helped the Thai government complete the construction of two new schools and made sure the village children had the appropriate school uniforms as well.
I was personally involved in the tsunami mission and have stayed engaged with subsequent annual trips to Thailand. Each year, we ask our premier-level distributors to participate in the Never An Empty Suitcase Program. Distributors bring an extra suitcase full of school supplies, books and clothes to donate to the local children, resulting in an empty suitcase to fill with whatever souvenirs they choose to buy during their trip.
Looking ahead, the Operation Smile trip in April 2010 will mean so much. Throughout the XanGo annual convention in October 2009, we gave our distributors an option to “Buy a Smile” with a donation of $240. The black-tie event and weeklong pledge toward supporting an Operation Smile mission to Thailand raised enough money to provide surgeries for approximately 145 children. XanGo looks forward to giving back to a country and people who made a difference for us.
We continue to build our relationship with the people of Thailand, and XanGo recently welcomed delegates from the Royal Thai Government to our headquarters in Lehi, Utah. The royal delegation recognized XanGo’s “creative use of mangosteen” and presented the company with a certificate of appreciation for being one of the pioneers in bringing mangosteen to a global market.
Helping Children around the GlobeWith the creation of the XanGo Goodness Foundation, we will continue to partner with local and international charities from North America to Australia, from Asia to South America, and everywhere in between. Just a few examples of XanGo Goodness include:
Children’s Wish Foundation, Canada. XanGo continues to work with Children’s Wish to support children who live with high-risk, life-threatening diseases in realizing their most heartfelt wishes. Gordon Morton and XanGo helped grant a child’s wish this past fall at the Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC match. In the past, XanGo has been a title sponsor of the Wishmaker Parade, the organization’s premier national fundraising event.
Vitamin Angels, India. XanGo supports the organization’s efforts to eliminate childhood blindness by the year 2020 through systematic distribution of vitamin A supplements to at-risk children, as well as multivitamins to children and vital supplements to expecting mothers. Although India is not one of the 34 countries where XanGo products are available, this is not about market access, but about doing the right thing for children in need and giving our distributors the opportunity to contribute.
Global Alliance Project, Ghana. XanGo champions this project from the University of Utah, providing sustainable medical care and education in rural Ghana in close collaboration with the local community. The innovative model is extending to other developing regions around the world.
And Strengthening the Community at Home
Locally, XanGo supports our employees’ volunteer efforts at their favorite charities by paying their normal salary during volunteer accrual hours throughout the year. Many employees have chosen to use this time with the Best Buddies organization. Best Buddies and XanGo’s partnership creates opportunities for young students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recently, we hosted the Best Buddies at our offices and invited players from Real Salt Lake (Salt Lake City’s XanGo-sponsored Major League Soccer team) to join us. XanGo staff raised more than $8,000 as part of our Best Buddies 1K Walk and 5K Run event. Additionally, XanGo supports the National McGruff House Network’s mission to keep children safe from crime.
A Challenge for You
The XanGo Goodness Foundation offers exciting avenues to take humanitarian efforts to the next level. The direct selling industry has provided opportunities to improve lives through the business model, and I challenge the industry to return the favor by helping others. When our industry gets involved, the world benefits.
A founder of XanGo, Bryan Davis represents the company’s international interests as a global ambassador to its existing and emerging markets. Davis strategically builds relationships with key government, industry and trade representatives worldwide, as well as with XanGo’s distributor networks and for the XanGo Goodness Foundation. For more information on XanGo Goodness, visit the foundation online at www.xangogoodness.org.