While the lettuce, basil and tomato starts are being readied for the spring planting at the , the market has crossed a milestone in its . Co-owner Doug Canepa has long been a tremendous supporter of all things Mill Valley, be it the schools, soccer teams or any charity event or auction. If it’s in Marin, he’s probably supporting it. The market recently crossed the $800,000 mark in giving to local charities through its Shop and Give Program.
Canepa says that while the program continues its strong support for local institutions like Kiddo, it also reaches lesser-known groups.
“What I love about the program is that it’s supporting many small, little known, yet wonderful non-profits,” says Canepa. “Like MALT, Audubon Canyon Ranch, Giant Steps, CASA Marin, Muir Beach and Stinson Beachvolunteer fireman associations along with many, many others.”
Though the majority of the market's Shop and Give donations, which now top $811,000, go to Mill Valley Schools, including more than $250,000 going to Kiddo and over $100,000 to the , customers can choose or even register their favorite non-profit and Canepa will add it to the beneficiary list.
Here’s how the 20-year-old Mill Valley Market Shop and Give program works: The market gives 2 percent of the total cost of the customer’s purchase to the non-profit of their choice. There is a list of all the non-profits at each check stand.
“You tell us which non-profit you want it to go to before the transaction, and we do it all on their behalf," Canepa says. "If they like the (Marin) Humane Society and they want us to support them, we will do that for the customer. It costs them nothing.”
If a customer's preferred non-profit is not on the list, they can register that non-profit. The only stipulation is the non-profit has to generate $500 in donations per quarter to get a percentage.
“So it’s not a big number,” says Canapa. “The idea is, you support us, we support you.”
The difference between this program and other donation programs is that 100 percent of that donation goes directly to the non-profit. There are no administration or over-head fees skimming money off the top.
“What we’ve done now is we select a non-profit of the month and we give them an extra 1 percent (3 percent total),” says Canapa, who tries to select non-profits that need a little bit of a spotlight.
The Point Reyes National Seashore Association is coming up on a 50th anniversary and will be the non-profit of the month of May.