Company Donates Profits For The Greater Good

Jefferson Award Winners' Company Truly Gives Something Back

April 21, 2016

Who starts a business intent on giving away the profits? This week’s Jefferson Award winners not only started the business, they’ve been giving away the profits for more than two decades now.

Twenty-five years ago, Mike Hannigan and Sean Marx were selling copiers when they saw an actor put his name on a bottle of salad dressing, and thought, ‘Why not us?’

“We felt that we could do what we were doing in corporate America, but add what Paul Newman’s company was doing with donating the profits to community organizations,” Sean Marx explained.

And that’s how Give Something Back Office Supplies in Oakland began. Marx and partner Mike Hannigan also call it the beginning of the socially responsible business movement.

“So when we first started, this was a really alien concept,” Marx added.

Their concept? Sell office supplies and furniture, and give the profits to non-profits.

“How can you make a profit and then give it away and succeed in business?” posed Hannigan. “But it’s obviously possible.”

So possible, that over the past two and a half decades, while expanding their business from the Bay Area across the western U.S., Marx and Hannigan have been able to donate 73% of their net earnings, more than $6.3 million, to non-profits chosen by the company’s clients.

Those clients include the law firm Cotchett, Pitre, and McCarthy, which has been buying office supplies from Give Something Back for 18 year.

“Being a law firm we do go through a lot of paper,” said facilities manager Debbie Kiefer. “The fact that they were able to beat the prices that I was buying and knowing that that money that I’m paying them is going back out into the community to help, of course – it’s magnificent. Who wouldn’t jump on that?”

One of the very first, and now long time, recipients of Give Something Back’s generosity is the Alameda County Community Food Bank. And it all started with a fork lift... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)