Businesses with heart

Six Chico companies that know the value of giving back the community

As CEO of the Chico Chamber of Commerce, Jolene Francis tries mightily to spread what she believes is her most important message: that successful business is the most basic component of a healthy society.

For one thing, businesses pay taxes and provide jobs to people who pay taxes that go for services, everything from roads and schools to police and fire protection.

Less recognized but in many ways no less important is the fact that businesses are major contributors to nonprofit, community-based groups. They either contribute directly to these organizations or help them raise funds in other ways.

This support has been especially important during the recession. Nonprofit groups are suffering from an understandable drop-off in support. Money is tight, and people are less able to give.

That’s why this year, for our annual Business and Entrepreneurs issue, we decided to focus on six local businesses that have been especially generous over the years. We chose them by asking the heads of several local nonprofit agencies to nominate candidates they knew from personal experience to be worthy.

We easily could have chosen others. As Francis said when we asked her for a nomination, “What Chico business doesn’t give back to the community?” From Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to Enloe Medical Center, Chico’s businesses are extraordinarily generous and supportive of efforts to help those who need help.

These six companies are representative of that effort. What they have in common is the belief that service to the community is part of the role they play as businesses and that giving is as important as making a profit—and that the two go hand in hand.