Bashas’ Purpose Drives Social Change

by Tyler Butler

Bashas presenting a $200,000 check as a Donation to Feeding America - Arizona

Bashas’ Family of Stores was founded in 1932 by two brothers. And to this day, Bashas’ is still family owned. Now on its third generation of leadership and with more than 100 stores across Arizona under multiple brand names, Bashas’ has been an integral and long-standing component to Arizona’s growth. 

From the very beginning, Bashas’ has been committed to giving back and uplifting Arizonans. In fact, giving back to the community is a founding principle of the company, dating back to the matriarchs of the Basha family. Their core belief was that in order to have a successful, thriving business, you must support those around you to create a better community for all. 

Bashas’ focus is on supporting local nonprofits that are doing work in the communities it serves. Education, hunger relief, health and human services, veteran services, community enrichment, and disaster relief are critical areas of concentration. Bashas’ strives to support as many organizations as it can annually, using a variety of different fundraising and outreach programs that have been developed over the years.

Often ahead of its competition where social impact efforts are concerned, Bashas’ was the first grocer in Arizona to provide special shopping hours for seniors, recognizing early on that this population would be more vulnerable to COVID-19. This type of forward-thinking action has led the grocer to other groundbreaking initiatives. From its in-kind donation program supporting emergency response teams and nonprofits to its emergency meal programs that have aided the Navajo Nation and St. Mary’s Food Bank, Bashas’ is always thinking ahead about the communities it operates in. 

Sustainability has also been an important ongoing initiative to the operations of Bashas’. Through partnerships with local organizations to divert food waste and feed hungry families, Bashas’ Family of Stores’ Grocery Rescue program diverted more than 1.24 million pounds of food from landfills to more than 75 nonprofit agencies in 2020. Representatives from local food banks, churches and schools regularly pick up produce, bakery, deli and dairy items so that hungry families in need can consume the perishable items before their expiration date. 

“We have been recycling since the ’70s,” says Edward “Trey” Basha, president and CEO of Bashas’ Family of Stores. “We always strive to reduce our company’s footprint through a number of sustainability and recycling efforts. We’re always looking for ways to improve, through technology, operations and new ideas.” 

This proclivity toward innovation is also apparent in Bashas’ signature Charity of the Month program. “We want to do our part to share what resources we can to help those who especially need it,” says Basha. Through Bashas’ Charity of the Month program, selected nonprofits are featured throughout Bashas’ stores, which accept donations from customer at their registers. One hundred percent of the donations they collect go directly to the featured nonprofit. 

Bashas’ not only raises valuable funds through this purpose-driven marketing effort, but it also encourages the nonprofits to share the campaign messaging with their constituents. In 2020 alone, Bashas’ Charity of the Month program raised more than $2.2 million for Arizona nonprofits. “While many businesses decided to focus their fundraising support solely on pandemic relief, we remained steadfast in our commitments to our Charity of the Month program in addition to pandemic relief support,” says Basha. “We knew local nonprofits were continuing to experience strong fundraising challenges and were counting on us.” 

Basha credits the increase in Charity of the Month donations to a technology upgrade that invited customers to donate through PIN pads at checkout, rather than relying solely on cashiers asking each customer individually. “The holidays were an especially challenging time for so many families, and the pandemic only exacerbated that,” says Wells Fargo Lead Region President Don Pearson. “At the same time, the resiliency and generosity of the human spirit has become the true ‘heartbeat’ of our community. It inspired us to team up with Bashas’, Feeding America and Arizona food banks to make the holidays a bit brighter.”

Benefitting organizations from the grocer’s 2020 Charity of the Month campaigns were American Heart Association, A New Leaf, Arizona Humane Society, Banner Children’s Hospital, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Folds of Honor, Make-a-Wish Arizona, March of Dimes, Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation, People Acting Now Discovering Answers (PANDA), Ronald McDonald House Charities, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), The Salvation Army, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, St. Mary’s Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, The University of Arizona’s Cancer Center, The University of Arizona’s Steele Children’s Research Hospital, United Food Bank and Yuma Community Food Bank. 

“Last year was a challenging one for so many individuals and families,” says Basha. “Seeing the incredible generosity of our customers — and Arizonans as a whole — is a silver lining.” Since the company’s founding in 1932, Bashas’ Family of Stores has given back more than $100 million to charities across Arizona. The company has plans to continue its fundraising efforts and continue to live by the words of its founders: “When we prosper, Arizona prospers.”  

Bashas’ Community Support Card

As an added way to fundraise for their organization, more than 1,400 nonprofits, schools and churches utilized the grocer’s Community Support Card program last year. Each participating nonprofit has a specially designated set of grocery gift cards that are distributed to supporters. When supporters reload their gift cards, 6% of the reloaded amount is donated back to the organization. In 2020, Bashas’ Family of Stores gave back more than $72,000 to these organizations through this program.

Tyler ButlerTyler Butler (“Tyler Butler | Giving in Style”), founder and CEO of 11Eleven Consulting, is a corporate social responsibility practitioner and expert leader in the corporate citizenship space. She has served on numerous national and local boards and is often cited as a subject matter expert by Forbes, Entrepreneur, U.S. News & World Report and more.

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