In Los Angeles lies a community made up of the typical things any city in Southern California might have—beaches, warmer weather and green outdoors year-round. However the city of Wilmington has a Valero refinery. This one business changes the community, and to some outsiders this might be shocking, but Valero adds a unique and positive environment—one that focuses on bringing community involvement and better schools through enrichment programs. The evidence of this has been seen from 2005 to 2013 by Valero raising $78,330 for the South Bay community. One event that helps raise that money is Surf for Charity, held on the third Saturday every September. Valero Energy Corporation is a leader in U.S. petroleum refining, safety and environmental stewardship with committed programs in their respective communities. Valero concentrates on the community and schools nearby their businesses, such as those in Wilmington. In fact, Valero was the first California refinery to earn the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Star Site certification, which is the highest plant-safety recognition.
Valero's Wilmington Refinery puts into action its commitment to social responsibility by holding the annual Surf for Charity event. A portion of 2013's proceeds went to the Operation Teddy Bear Program at the Volunteer Center, which provides backpacks to first grade students in Title One elementary schools, specifically Wilmington Park Elementary and Garfield Elementary. Mark Rodriguez, Valero Design Engineering Supervisor organized Surf for Charity and stated, "It's easy to give money and just walk away, but we feel that we are going to get fully involved in this program." Over the past 14 years Valero has donated charity proceeds to the program. Not only does Valero give a monetary gift, but they send out volunteers to assemble and deliver the backpacks to local schools. August 10, 2013 volunteers went to the Volunteer Center to pack 5600 backpacks. Other companies and organization supported them in their efforts by joining them that day.
The Surf for Charity event started nine years ago when Valero employees came up with the idea of a surfing for charity fundraiser. By doing this they created an opportunity for other businesses and community members to join in and support their community. Twenty surfers and six body boarders participated in the 2013 event. The event has been lucky in having good surf conditions. The event also gives time for the companies and friends to build relationships with those they do business with. And the top three surfers win a trophy and some good'ol office respect.
Surf for Charity also raises funds for other nonprofits, such as Long Beach International Theaters, with one small request: that the theater would bring their performances to Wilmington schools.
Valero truly is a company that cares and makes positive impacts in its communities.