Giving Back is a Big Ingredient
Every year since 2001, we’ve been collectively donating at least 2,080 hours to our favorite causes. Why 2,080? That’s how many hours one full-time employee works in a year.
It’s nice to get outside, but the real reward is giving back to our community. Here are some true Project 2080 stories from our co-workers.
by Shelley Martin
And you thought we only make bars?
Well, once a year our employees come together to cook, pour, plate and serve our guests in a fundraiser we affectionately call the "Big Dinner". This year our 8th annual extravaganza carried the ‘Bistrot Biere’ theme to perfection with 12 amazing courses paired with — get this — a beer flight AND a wine flight. (Don’t fret — we provided transportation to and from the event, held in our new Emeryville headquarters, for our guests).
We transformed our event space into an authentic French bistro and serenaded our guests with music provided by The Hot Club of San Francisco. Menu standouts this year, under Executive Chef Patrick Kelly (who doubles as part of our crackerjack Sales team during the day), included a Seared Bolinas Black Cod with Wild Mushrooms (paired with our own Clif Family Winery 2010 Rte. Blanc Sauvignon Blanc) and Juniper Lacquered Filet Mignon with Horseradish Foam and Sauce Piperade (paired with Hop Rod Rye from Healdsburg). Hungry yet?
The point of this whole shindig is to give back to the community — it is just one of the many employee volunteer efforts we call Project 2080. Big Dinner proceeds this year will benefit two San Francisco organizations: Larkin Street Youth — serving homeless and at-risk youth, and La Cocina — an incubator program cultivating food entrepreneurs. Our 41 attendees included old and new friends of Clif Bar & Company who gave generously to attend. And 40+ employees volunteered their time to make the evening a memorable night.
A big ‘merci beaucoup’ to all of our guests!
by Chris Morell
Since 2001, the people here at Clif Bar & Company have been collectively donating at least 2,080 hours each year (and usually, much more) to our favorite causes, in what we call Project 2080. Why 2,080? That’s how many hours one full-time employee works in a year.
A couple times a year, we pool everyone together and shut Clif HQ down for an entire day of service to a single organization. Last month that organization was the Alameda Point Collaborative, that’s working to end homelessness by providing housing and services to create communities where formerly homeless families and individuals can flourish. APC operates a community garden, bike shop, commercial plant nursery, health center and community center.
So what do you get with almost 200 employees pitching in for a day of manual labor? Check out the video to see how it all went down!
You can help, too! If you're San Francisco Bay area-based, you can volunteer, contribute or donate your time. Simply head on over to the APC's website for details.
by Tina R.
What is the name of the organization that you work with?
I work with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, an 11,000 member-based advocacy organization dedicated to creating safer streets and more livable communities for San Franciscans. The SFBC is responsible for bicycle access on the Golden Gate Bridge, bicycle access on mass transit, 201 miles of bike lanes/paths in San Francisco and working with City Hall on a citywide bike plan to increase bicycle transportation to 10% for all city trips. They also offer free classes, distribute bike lights/helmets and bike valet at all types of city events.
What motivated you to work with this organization during your 2080 hours?
I’ve actually been volunteering with the SFBC even before I came to Clif Bar 2 and a half years ago! One night over five years ago, my friend and I were trying to figure out what we should do and she suggested attending one of the SFBC’s volunteer nights. It just so happened, the activity slotted that evening was making Valentine’s Day cards for the city’s bus drivers. We had a blast, met other bike-minded folks and ate a free meal. I was hooked!
What exactly do you do while working there?
The SFBC hosts two volunteer nights every month. The organization has doubled since I’ve been helping out and so to keep costs down, we help out with all types of tasks. I’ve become a pro at folding, stamping and sealing envelopes for campaigns, assembling new and renewing member packets and writing letters urging our elected officials to vote pro-bike. Occasionally, I help out with street outreach. I’ve headed outside at 6 a.m. with bagels/coffee to cheer on morning commuters, gathered up the screw drivers around my house to install free bike lights, pumped up tires/lubed chains at a bike home station and annually volunteer at one of the SFBC’s 27 commuter Energizer Stations for Bike to Work Day – all to educate people about the amazing efforts of SFBC. It may sound cheesy, but it’s super fun and people really appreciate it. I truly believe we should celebrate cycling everyday!
What is your favorite part about working with this organization?
The best thing about it is meeting people I wouldn’t otherwise meet in my everyday life. I’ve met some great friends at volunteer nights and it’s always a fun place to swap stories and get another perspective on the pulse of the city. It’s also nice to commune with other carefree folks. Sometimes it’s not easy living without a car, but connecting with the SFBC on a regular basis reminds me that I just don’t need one right now. I’m actually not much a city bike commuter, rather I ride out of the city and on really long rides into Marin on the weekends, but getting in and out of the city is very easy thanks to the SFBC. Plus, it makes me happy to see all types of people using bikes to make their lives easier and healthier. I hope my work with the SFBC makes it safer, too!
How does your work with SFBC supplement and enhance your work back here at the office?
Working with the SFBC is a natural extension of what we do here at CB&C from our Cool Commute program to 2 Mile Challenge. I’m so proud to work for a company that not only appreciates my volunteer efforts, but also encourages them!
FUN FACT: The SFBC was launching a new membership campaign to hit 10,000 members a few years ago and invited me to come over in my cycling gear for a photo shoot of real members. Little did I know that I would become the face of the SFBC for their bike shop membership packets! I like to remind my boyfriend that he’s now dating a “bike model.”
by Sarah C.
Inspired by the In Good Company group working in New Orleans and the 2080 program, the Clif Bar sales team decided to add an extra day to their annual Spring sales meeting this year so we could put in a full 2080 day.
We planned the meeting to be in New Orleans so we could support the community and contribute to the rebuilding efforts. We had 41 volunteers that split shifts between morning and afternoon and we worked with the non-profit Rebuilding Together. The work site was their amazing salvage yard where they sort and store reclaimed building materials from demolished houses and buildings. All of the recycled materials are then sold to the public to fund additional rebuilding efforts.
We worked hard at getting the place nice and clean with new paint, hauling dirt, building a lumber bin, and organizing the many, many materials they have collected. It was a perfect day to work outside with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70’s.
The other half of the day consisted of a tour of the neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and of the subsequent recovery spearheaded by several non-profit organizations and the community. Our tour guide, Pam Broom from the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, gave all of us a special glimpse into the heart and soul of the New Orleans neighborhoods, the struggles they face, and the progress they’ve made.
We spend lots of time on our laptops and cells phones in sales and instead of the usual tools during this meeting, we used paint brushes and hammers to join the effort to rebuild a community and help a neighbor. Our entire team was undoubtedly touched and inspired by what we saw and we were grateful that we had the opportunity to help just a little bit with the continued recovery of New Orleans.
Back in June, we braved an hour and a half of very unusual traffic to catch a ferry out to Angel Island. Why were 70 Clifsters headed out to an island in the middle of our bay?
We joined forces with local friends REI and Mountain Hardwear to do a bit of foliage house-cleaning, of course.
There were a total of 150 of us slicing and dicing the local weeds to make a bit of space on the ground of this delightful state park. After working under some record temps for about five hours, (we had a heat wave here in the Bay Area last week), we ended doing some pretty stellar pruning, weeding, and general upkeep to an area that the rangers estimated hadn’t been tended to since the 1960s.
You can only imagine just how much clearing we had to do...
Now that the area is more accessible (no poison oak anymore…), other volunteers will be able to get in there to restore the buildings. Soon, they'll be spick and span so visitors to the island can rejoice in the historical delight of the East Garrison.
To see more photos from the day, check out flickr.com.
by Grady and Cristen
Grady and Cristen—Gdansk-ing in Poland
Back in September 2005, three CLIF Bar employees traveled to Eastern Europe—Gdansk Poland to be exact—to build houses and a community with Habitat for Humanity. The chosen CLIF Crew, consisting of a hula-hooping Finance queen, a running Marketing maverick, and an Internet really nice guy, was there for two weeks, working diligently to install steel-door frames, sheetrock, and drywall so twelve deserving Polish families could have a place to call their own. But to get the real deal, the down and dirty (pun intended) juice of the matter, you’ve got to hear it straight from the workers themselves.
What motivated you to apply to the 2080 program in Poland?
GRADY: There’s not much I enjoy more than traveling. Nothing quite compares to getting out and exploring a new area—something completely foreign to all of your senses. The opportunity to combine that passion with the interest and appreciation I’ve developed for community service here at Clif Bar was a no-brainer. Add to all that, the chance to come together with a bunch of strangers from around the world to work toward a common goal—one that would positively impact others in a “concrete” way—sounded pretty appealing.
CRISTEN: My commitment to charity work began at a young age when my grandparents left the US for three years and went on a missionary assignment with the Catholic Church to Papua New Guinea. The passion and experiences they shared with me is something that I will never forget; they’ve inspired me throughout my life, especially sparking interest in this Clif Bar H4H program.
What exactly were you doing in Poland?
GRADY: We were brought together to work on a multi-family home in a little suburb town called Pruscz Gdansk—a 15-minute ride outside of Gdansk, Poland. The unit had two halves. One half, a 6-unit family home, was completed and had tenants already. We worked on finishing the other half, another 6-unit building essentially the same as the first.
CRISTEN: During the day, we put up drywall, taped, plastered, sanded, and installed insulation. We worked from 8am to 5pm, three days on and one day off. The schedule was pretty rigorous; the long work days definitely insured a sound sleep every night. It was different from sitting in a desk 8-9 hours a day. My body was physically exhausted.
GRADY: Using traditional Polish techniques, we applied and leveled walls, put up ceilings, sealed and sanded seams. Basically, we covered all existing concrete surfaces (except the floors) with drywall. When we were done, it was up to the families to finish their homes by cleaning them up, adding floors, painting etc.
Who did you work with? Did you get a chance to meet any of the families?
GRADY: Five teams of H4H volunteers had worked on this unfinished half prior to our arrival. Ours, the final group, included fifteen people from the US and Canada.
CRISTEN: The families were required to work onsite to help build their future home. Getting to know them was one of the most amazing parts of the trip. We worked hand in hand with them on the site and had a chance to hang-out with them during the evening. The families even invited us for a traditional home-cooked Polish meal.
GRADY: Working with the families made the entire experience much more personal and gratifying. At the end of the build, our departure was pretty emotional. Watching the kids run into their future rooms was pretty cool. That’s something that will stick with all of us.
Was this the first time you’ve ever participated in an H4H project?
GRADY: I’ve worked on a couple other domestic projects but nothing more than one day at a time. The experience in Poland was completely different. First of all, it was in a different country—different customs, a different language, different building materials. I was also staying with and working with a bunch of people I didn’t really know. When we started, we knew we would have the time to contribute quite a bit.
Did you bring any Clif Bars with you?
GRADY: Clif Bars were plentiful at the job site. The other workers became ambassadors for Clif by the time we were done!
How did your time in Poland supplement and enhance your work back here at the office?
GRADY: I speak fluent Polish now—which makes meetings run much more smoothly. Beyond that, I’ve developed an even greater appreciation for the importance and significance of what we’re doing here—of why this place is so amazing and why it’s so unique. I’ve gained a little perspective on what’s happening here and why it’s so important for us to serve as an example for others—both in the corporate world and to our consumers. We hold a unique platform and, if done correctly, we can influence plenty of people through our social and environmental actions. That’s something I’m proud to be a part of.
Check out the blog that the CLIF team kept to keep all of us here at the office up to date on their journey abroad.
What was the inspiration behind choosing the neighboring Double Rock and Candlestick Community Gardens for our company-wide CS day?
We’re a food company. It’s our responsibility to improve the food system, locally and globally, to the best of our ability. The Double Rock Community Garden, Candlestick Community Garden and the Plants Gone Wild Native Nursery are in an area of San Francisco where produce is difficult to find. We need to help make fresh food available.
As supporters of the Brower Youth Awards, we wanted to involve 2005 recipient, La Constance Shahid and her Plants Gone Wild Native Nursery project. Being able to collaborate with the Brower Youth Awards, Friends of the Urban Forest, Bay Area Wilderness Trainers and the Double Rock community proved to be a way to combine forces to create something larger than what we could have done on our own. Also, as a growing company, we want to make sure that all of us internally know what our neighbors, just a few desks away, are up to.
Describe a few of the tasks that folks did?
We did everything from pulling weeds out of the strawberry beds, to planting 32 fruit trees. We laid down wood chips, built 20ft wooden, garden bed frames and tilled soil. It was a day of sweating and working together.
What’s the meaning behind company-wide Community Service day?
The day’s about hanging out together and recognizing what a difference a bunch of hard workers can accomplish in just a day. It’s important to realize there’s more out there than just selling bars. Getting out of the office to work in the community opens your eyes to what sorts of things can be done and what still needs to be done.
How did it feel to see all of our co-workers coming together?
Seeing over 100 blistered, sweaty, dirty people lined up at the hot dog cart and taco truck, sitting on the curb, smiling in the sun was a sight to see. The best part—the part that made me tingle with joy—was when we had to physically remove the shovels from one group's hands so they could load the bus. The dedication to the project was amazing to see. Oh yeah, and watching Kevin Cleary, COO, running with a wheelbarrow, motivated by his team’s inspiring owl hoots and Janet “the Diva’s” commands to complete the distribution of woodchips was pretty great. What a day. What a group.
by Tara, Registered Dietician
Participating in Diabetes Camp seems like a natural for you. Is that why you got involved?
I got involved with Diabetes Camp before coming to Clif Bar. I had worked as an intern one year and the head dietician the next year. When I started, I was working at a hospital and either gave my vacation time or took unpaid time to work at the camp.
So Diabetes Camp became a part of 2080 as a natural outgrowth of your participation?
Yeah. When I came to Clif Bar I’d already committed to Diabetes Camp. They agreed to honor it as well as to pay me to go which was amazing! They donated product and water bottles. I took the LUNA and CLIF BARS ‘cause they fit in perfectly with the diabetic meal plan – LUNA, particularly.
What is Diabetes Camp?
It’s actually the Santa Clara Diabetes Society. They have a large camp system including nine summer camps. They have a hard time getting volunteers at their original camp, Camp de los Ninos, ages six to thirteen. It’s located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Are the kids coming to the camp because they’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes?
Some kids have just been diagnosed and some are in the honeymoon period, where they don’t have full-blown diabetes yet but will very soon. Other kids have had diabetes for several years and can control their own medication and food. It’s a place where they can learn, but it’s also about having fun. This is probably the one time of year where they’re with kids like them. .
What is your role as a volunteer?
Now that I’ve been there a few years, I function as the Director of Nutrition at Camp de los Ninos. I do a lot of diabetes nutrition education with the kids, as well as help to plan the meals and snacks. Kids with diabetes need to eat every two hours, so it’s my job and my intern’s job is to make sure the food is out, whether it’s a meal or a snack.
I’m involved not just in the nutrition aspect but also in the goings-on. If there are problems with kids, a lot of times it does come down to food and their health. If they’re having blood sugar issues, it upsets the kids – especially at such a young age – and that comes back to the food and they bring in the dietician. So, you deal a lot with the kids one on one.
What do you like best about the 2080 Program?
I can work at the camp without feeling any pressure. Also, if you have got a particular place where you are compelled to do community service, you can bring that to Clif Bar and introduce it to the 2080 program, which is fantastic because you’re able to bring more resources to something you volunteer to.