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See’s Candy Fundraising Programs
Since 1921, See’s Candies has been actively engaged with our communities, striving to support those in need, as well as to target specific causes for support that reach beyond the local communities with which we are involved. From schools to non-profit support groups and charities, we aspire to make a difference through involvement with the various community groups we support.
Examples of current Community Support activities:
Children’s Health Council, Palo Alto, California:
Primary sponsor of annual fundraising effort “Summer Symphony”. The Children’s Health Council specializes in assisting children and their families to overcome specific health and behavioral issues through a variety of interventions. For more information, go to chconline.org.
Fair Trade and Other Certified Cocoa Beans:
In addition to directly supporting the World Cocoa Foundation’s ECHOES program and the Cocoa Livelihoods Program, See’s also proudly supports sustainable farming and fair labor practices by using a blend of Certified Cocoa Beans in our chocolate. The cocoa beans we use are from Rain Forest Alliance Certified Farms whose mission is to maintain biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers.
The chocolate that goes into our candy represents 1-2% of the total US chocolate market. In partnering with Rain Forest Alliance Certified Farms, we are committed to using more than twice that percentage share in Certified Cocoa Beans (and plan to use even more as availability increases). Certified beans are now used in See’s chocolate at a rate higher than our total share of the US cocoa market.
Stanford Jazz Workshop, Palo Alto, California:
Primary sponsor of the annual workshop series dedicated to jazz education and appreciation. Students from various backgrounds and locations are gathered for summer workshops with jazz professionals to further their understanding and expertise in jazz music. For more information, go to stanfordjazz.org.
Filoli Jazz Series, Woodside, California:
Primary sponsor for the annual fundraising concert series, supporting this non-profit Historical Landmark with 654 acres of public land for community enjoyment. For more information, go to filoli.org.
Sojourn To The Past:
See’s Candies has sponsored over 300 high school students from South San Francisco High School to an educational trip centered on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. This 10-day trip provides a life-changing experience as high school students study the events and locations of many of the transformative civil rights events from the 1960′s. For more information, go to sojournproject.com.
World Cocoa Community:
Small cocoa farmers throughout the world earn incomes for their families while providing the cocoa crop that satisfies the world’s craving for chocolate. Many organizations are now involved in efforts to improve the yields achieved on these farms, increase the income earned from the crops, and support world labor standards for safety and freedom from oppression. See’s Candies, as a member of the World Cocoa Foundation, supports these efforts and encourages the improvement in cocoa farm operations to achieve the end result of improved farmer incomes, consistent worldwide supply, improved farmer and youth education, and the development of sustainable economies.
See’s has joined with major chocolate industry companies to directly support two exceptional programs to improve conditions for farmers and youth in cocoa producing regions of Africa. First, the ECHOES program of the World Cocoa Foundation is dedicated to improving the education of youth in the Ghana and Ivory Coast regions of Africa. With additional grants from the US Government, contributions from See’s and other program contributors, the program works to improve the education provided to children, with life skills training, teacher training, and functional literacy.
In addition to ECHOES, See’s directly supports the Cocoa Livelihoods Program in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide cocoa farmers with better skills and training to operate cocoa farms in a sustainable fashion, significantly improve farmer incomes, and diversify farming into alternative crops based on market information. For more information on these programs, visit worldcocoafoundation.org.
Worldwide chocolate production in 2010 is roughly 8.1 billion pounds of chocolate, with U.S. production approximately 10% of the world total. See’s Candies (ultimately See’s customers) purchases approximately 1-2% of the US chocolate production on an annual basis, mostly incorporated into See’s famous boxed chocolates.
Efforts to improve the price received by cocoa farmers for their crops are supported by many private and public organizations, resulting in a “fair trade” price for cocoa compared to the basic “market price” found around the world. Recent “fair trade” prices for cocoa beans are generally $1700 per tonne, plus a premium payment of $150 per tonne to support additional grower activities and compensation. “Fair trade cocoa” is certified to comply with a minimum price for the cocoa, enabling small farmers to maintain a minimum income from their crops. Such “fair trade” cocoa produced worldwide currently is estimated at 20-30 million pounds annually, less than 2% of the worldwide cocoa market.
As of mid-2011, the market price for cocoa is nearly $2900/tonne, a 50% increase over the last three years, and well above the “fair trade” value established for the crop.
For over 90 years See’s Candies has been dedicated to making candy Mary See’s way. Only the finest, freshest ingredients are used in making each recipe. We add no preservatives to our candy. Ever. It’s quality you can taste in every piece. American made, famous for deliciousness, with the friendliest customer service – since 1921.
Today, you can choose from over 100 different candies and chocolates, whether you are shopping with us online or visiting one of our iconic black-and-white checkered shops (where every customer still gets a free sample).
Founded and headquartered in sunny California, See’s Candies has expanded from one candy shop to over 200 shops across America, and a flourishing online store. Our growth happily continues. Our commitment to taste, quality, tradition and service steadfastly remains.
Mary would be proud.
See’s Rich Heritage
Throughout the history of See’s Candies, Mary See has symbolized the old-fashioned virtues of homemade quality and friendly service. The spectacled, silver haired woman still smiles with pride from candy boxes shipped throughout the world, and her original recipes are savored by millions to this day.When Charles See arrived in Los Angeles from Canada in 1921
to try his hand at the confection business, he decided that no image would better reflect the personality of his fledgling venture than that of his mother. Apart from using her recipes as a foundation, See knew that keeping things in the family was the only way to bring about the kind of lovingly crafted product he desired.See along with his mother and his wife, Florence, opened the first See’s Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles in November of 1921. The sparkling clean, black and white shop was designed to resemble Mary See’s home kitchen.Benefiting from the wide acceptance of an unusually high quality candy, See’s was able to grow steadily from that first shop in Los Angeles to twelve shops by the mid-1920′s and thirty shops during the depression. By 1936, See’s was able to expand to San Francisco.
Mary See died in 1939 at the age of 85, but the company’s ability to adjust to changing times – without abandoning the passion for quality and service that Mary See represented – kept it going strong throughout the decades to come.
Following World War II, See’s Candy Shops grew as California grew, and the See’s family continued the tradition, opening up shops throughout the state. In the 50′s, See’s established itself with the new and growing phenomenon of shopping malls. See’s customers continued to recognize the See’s Candies product for its quality and taste, and continued to visit See’s old-fashioned black and white shops, enjoying a visit to a time past where service was paramount.
In 1972, the See’s family sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., presided over by Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger. Utilizing his philosophy of acquiring solid companies where he could follow his “hands off” policy, Warren Buffett installed Charles N. Huggins as President and CEO.
Charles Huggins dedicated himself to the continuance of the company he joined in 1951, guiding it with the old-fashioned values set by Charles See until his retirement at the end of 2005.
He is succeeded by current See’s President and CEO, Brad Kinstler, a longtime Berkshire Hathaway team member.
Today, “California’s Famous Old Time Candies®” are sold in over two hundred shops throughout the West, a true sign of their enduring popularity. And, to this day, Charles See’s living motto, “Quality Without Compromise®” continues to guide the company.