The Corporate Challenge is a friendly competition among local businesses to collect the most points for donated food, funds and volunteer hours all benefitting those in need in Santa Barbara County.

The inaugural year kicked off with four companies participating in 2009, with Deckers Outdoor Corporation claiming the title. This year, the number of participants has doubled with local companies such as Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Channel Technologies Group, Citrix, Mentor, Yardi Systems, Network Hardware Resale, Ergomotion and Pacific Diagnostics joining forces to help the Foodbank and compete for the 2012 title.

New to this year’s challenge is the introduction of “Kate” – the face of the Corporate Challenge. Kate, an animated depiction of a young girl, represents any individual who is struggling with food insecurity in our county. This year’s drive strives to put a face on the sometimes faceless issue of hunger and food insecurity in our region. People can view a video about Kate and her family on Foodbank’s homepage click here.

Through November, participating companies have already collectively raised $16,000, volunteered 42.5 hours and collected 1,000 pounds of food. Citrix was in the lead through November with 166 points per employee and Ergomotion a close second with 149 points. (A point system is designed with an employee ratio to ensure that organizations of all sizes can compete equally).

“Citrix believes in supporting the communities where we live, work and play,” said Heather Lahr, Citrix Community Connection Program Manager. “We are happy to participate in the corporate challenge again this year as it gives us a fun way to engage our employees and give back to our community.”

Last year (and in 2009 during the inaugural Corporate Challenge), Deckers Outdoor Corporation captured the title; donating an impressive 35.5 hours of volunteer service, 327 pounds of food, and $6,986 total in funds. “We’re thrilled to participate in the Holiday Food & Funds Challenge again this year,” said Angel Martinez, President and CEO at Deckers Outdoor Corporation. “The drive became a seasonal ritual after Deckers won the inaugural challenge in 2009, and each year we’ve expanded our promotion of the challenge to our employees to meet increased local needs and to match the stiff competition of other participating organizations.”

“It’s part of Yardi’s culture to give back to the community,” said Anna Markmann, Yardi Systems Event Planner, Administration. “We’ve been participating in the Foodbank’s Food & Funds Drive Corporate Challenge since it began and find it very fulfilling.”

“The spirit of competition is alive and well amongst our 2012 Corporate Challenge participants,” said Erik Talkin, CEO, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “It is a testament to the dedication of our local business community, who continue to serve and enhance our region through their time, talent and support. These efforts are especially appreciated this time of year, when there are so many in our community in need of nourishment and some holiday cheer.”

The 2012 Corporate Challenge runs through late December and there are many ways for other members of the community to participate. Individuals can establish their own Food & Funds Drive or can drop off non-perishable food at both the Santa Barbara and the Santa Maria Foodbank warehouses, Mon – Fri 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM. You can also participate in a virtual food drive online, which lets people shop and make a donation to the Foodbank. To learn more, please click here.

Christen Portillo (Yardi), Camie Cohee Barnwell and Heather Lahr (Citrix), Erin Ervin and Ariana Arcenas-Utley (Deckers), and Anna Markmann (Yardi) with Jane Lindsey, Foodbank Chief Development & Resource Officer, represent just some of the local companies participating in the Foodbank’s Annual Food & Funds Drive Corporate Challenge.

About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank is celebrating 30 years of eliminating hunger and food insecurity by distributing nutritious food, education, and other resources through its own programs and to a network of 290 member non-profit agencies and programs in Santa Barbara County. In 2011, the Foodbank distributed 11 million pounds of food – translating into more than 8.5 million meals – of which fully half was fresh produce. This served over 102,000 unduplicated people from Carpinteria to Santa Maria, an amazing 1 in 4 people. For the fifth consecutive time, the Foodbank has recently been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. Only 4% of the charities rated have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County outperforms most other charities in America. More information here.


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