It’s a lesson he learned long ago: that giving can feel as good as receiving.
Brad Des Jardin, president and CEO of general contractor DesCor Builders, said the company has made community service and philanthropy — the company supports more than 40 charities — a cornerstone of its business philosophy, adding that these efforts help bring employees together and enables DesCor to give back to the community that’s helped his business thrive.
“This market has been very good to us and we just feel fortunate in our ability to serve our community,” he said. “And we have a philosophy here that’s more people driven than profit driven. If we do good things, profits will come.”
Ten years ago, management at DesCor decided that, in addition to serving on boards and donating funds, they wanted to come up with an annual charitable event and invited employees to offer ideas.
“We didn’t want this to be a top-down thing,” said Des Jardin.
That’s when the idea of holding a traditional Oktoberfest got started. The event, which offers food, music and — of course — beer, began as a small gathering and gained steam; last year’s event raised a record $72,000. The proceeds went to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, which offers services to foster kids and their families.
DesCor has raised a total of $210,00 from its Oktoberfest over the past ten years, so 2019 was really a banner year, notes Christie Shorrock, director of development at Stanford Sierra Youth and Families.
“The majority of our income is county contracts; the other piece is community giving and organizations like DesCor,” she said.
This year was supposed to be the 10th anniversary of the Oktoberfest, but the event was canceled due to limits on social gatherings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year, even though the event can’t be held, the organization has decided to make a very generous donation anyway,” Shorrock said. Both she and Des Jardin declined to name the dollar amount.
“What’s so exciting and cool about having long-term partners is that each year, (participation) has escalated,” she added. At first the events — which raise money from sponsorships, admission fees and a silent auction — raised just $20,000 or so. “Last year was the biggest year by far,” she said.
About 450 people showed up for it, and the event raised enough to cover costs associated with the adoptions of 14 foster children.
Nonprofits everywhere are suffering because they are unable to hold their fundraising events, added Shorrock.
“With events not being held, it really makes it challenging. Some (nonprofits) have been able to take the events virtual,” she said, but not all.
She said Stanford Sierra Youth & Families feels fortunate for their association with DesCor.
“They’ve adopted us just as we have helped kids.”
– By Danielle Starkey, Sacramento Business Journal