If you wrote to ask “What’s the State Forty Eight Foundation,” thanks.
Lots of people today aren’t familiar with the comic strip “Peanuts.” Plenty of them know the holiday TV specials, like “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But the newspaper-page stories of Charlie Brown, his dog, Snoopy, and their friends haven’t been around since 2000, so people forget it was one of the most popular strips in history. “Peanuts” lasted 50 years and nearly 18,000 strips.
Charles Schulz was the writer and artist of every one of them, and while he always made it very much a comic strip, he wasn’t afraid to provoke some serious thought now and then. Like in the Christmas special, when Charlie Brown is disillusioned with commercialization of the holidays.
Or the time that one of his friends, Linus, is telling his sister, Lucy, he might be a doctor someday. Lucy tells him he’d be a terrible doctor because he doesn’t love mankind, and Linus shouts a famous quote, “I love mankind … it’s people I can’t stand!”
That roundabout introduction is a way of introducing a question somebody asked us by email at State Forty Eight: “What’s the State 48 Foundation?”
Yes, we are one of the most recognized nonprofit charities in Arizona
We’ve spent a lot of time in these pages talking about how much we think of Arizona; how the founders of SFE loved their state so much they started a company that’s all about it, and they named it for the state, too.
Maybe you’ve read those posts (we like to think you have) and told yourself, “Yeah, that’s just marketing. They just say that to sell more shirts and hats.”
Fair enough. We’ve all had the experience of reading about a person or a company that talked a good game; seemed to care about something, then did something that showed maybe they weren’t so respectable after all. Two or three experiences like that can leave you feeling … well, as disillusioned as Charlie Brown on Christmas Eve.
One way to find out if someone, a person or a company, is as upstanding and caring as they claim to be is to do what the anonymous source Deep Throat advises in “All the President’s Men”: “Follow the money.” (If you haven’t seen that 1976 film, find it. It’s about the meltdown of the Richard Nixon administration — speaking of not as upstanding as somebody wants you to believe.)
What does that mean? It means what scripture says: “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is too.” It means if you want to know if what somebody says they believe is true, see if they put their money where their mouth is.
Yes, we are one of the most recognizable nonprofit charities in Arizona. We started thinking seriously about it in 2019, six years after we got started and after we were sure we were going to be able to stay around a while,
And we’re pretty proud of what it’s done since, in the three areas we created for it. Here’s the first one:
The State Forty Eight Foundation creates meaningful partnerships
“Many hands make light work,” the saying goes. We wanted to make a difference in our community. But we knew we’d get more done if we did it with friends, so we called it “activating our community.” We put it this way:
“Through fundraising efforts and volunteer-driven events, we aim to be a catalyst for change and unification across Arizona by bringing together nonprofit organizations, public agencies, businesses, and individuals with common goals and hopeful resolutions for the community.”
That mission started in 2019 with an initiative we called State Forty Eight Community Impact, dedicated to “inspiring actionable giving that will contribute to well-being of our community and creating a platform for local organizations to be seen, heard and supported.”
SFE Community Impact engaged more than 250 volunteers and generated more than $21,000 in support for local charities and nonprofits. It was pretty obvious we were on to something, and the State 48 Foundation was created the next year. Here’s our impact since:
- More than 45 charity partners
- $93,000 raised for charities
- More than $8,000 in in-kind donations
- More than 260 volunteers
That’s a lot of partners, a lot of volunteers and a lot of dollars. So what can they all do together?
The State Forty Eight Foundation empowers and encourages Arizona youth
We wanted to specialize. We knew we would be more effective if we emphasize a particular cause and attracted other, like-minded community members to it. We chose youth:
“Through mentorship, workshops and with the help of our community partners, we offer supportive programming for Arizona youth that teaches them valuable and practical life skills, but also promotes positive self-esteem and strong leadership skills.”
In the last two years, the beneficiaries of the efforts we’ve made with our partners included:
- ICAN — Providing afterschool programming
- United Food Bank and Matthews Crossing Food Bank — Helping feed hungry families
- Arian’s Family Foundation — Funding help for children in the court system due to family abuse or neglect
- Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arizona — Overstressed families were able to choose holiday gifts for their critically ill children
So along with our partners, we’re able to make a difference for children and young people in our state. It feels really good to be able to do that. But that’s not the only reason we do it.
The State Forty Eight Foundation fosters the entrepreneurial spirit
Yeah, we’re proud of our foundation. But we’re just as proud as what made it possible. And that was three guys — Michael, Stephen and Nicholas — taking a leap that there was a community interested in buying quality Arizona-themed apparel. That was a risk, no question. And they had to use whatever entrepreneurial skills they had and learn many more. They learned the value of learning from people who have been there. So the State 48 Foundation’s mission includes this:
“Through professional development events and programming, our goal is to better Arizona’s startup community by offering entrepreneurial education and access to resources, and by supporting individuals by partnering with incubator organizations.”
Our founders got help when they wanted to make their dreams real, so now we want to provide that help for others. It’s also an example of what people call “paying it forward.”
As long as we’re including familiar sayings on this page, here’s another one that’s just as true: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” If our foundation can help provide a network that helps the next entrepreneurs, and the next, that may mean even more successful members of the community ready to create meaningful partnerships. Our efforts as one of the most distinguished non profit charities in Arizona that activate our community to support causes like our youth, and probably willing to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
Now that’s a rising tide!
And that, friends, is why there’s a State Forty Eight Foundation.