The distributor gives back in a big way by raising money for four children’s charities during its National Conference in Greenville, S.C., each year.
By Joel Zaidspiner
August 14, 2013
SYNNEX Corp, a global IT distributor and business process services company, knows how to stage a “green” benefit event, and challenged children of South Carolina are the better for it. SYNNEX saves travel, lighting, logistics, and time by throwing the SYNNEX “Share the Magic” Gala on the Saturday night of its nearly week-long annual vendor and reseller conference in Greenville, S.C., the first week of October. After all the vendor meetings and presentations, the people and pieces are in place at the TD Convention Center to party for four good causes.
With corporate sponsorships from a mix of the distributor’s vendors and local businesses, SYNNEX has distributed more than $805,000 in the past two years among Make a Wish, A Child’s Haven, Clement’s Kindness, and Pendleton Place.
The gala is the brainchild of Peter Larocque, U.S. Distribution President at SYNNEX, who is conveniently also a member of the Board of Directors of Make a Wish South Carolina. “Three years ago we had almost 20 vendors. This year I think we have almost 40,” says Bob Stegner, SYNNEX senior vice president, marketing, North America. “It’s a great way for us to give back to the community. Some of our vendors are great sponsors of it; they bring in customers and they bring their spouses. It’s a great way to fund these children’s charities.”
Local businesses also step up. “You don’t want to rely just on your vendors,” says Stegner. “We have a lot of local companies. BMW’s one of our biggest supporters because we are the presenting sponsor of the BMW Pro-Am golf tournament that’s held down there. TD Bank is another. We just announced that Beats [Beats by Dr. Dre, from Beats Electronics]—who we’re the exclusive distributor for now—came in as one of our diamond sponsors.” Admission is also sold to the general Greenville community by the table or partial table. And those tables go fast. As of press time, the gala this October is almost sold out.
Stegner says that he and Larocque sometimes think it’s almost like a second job, “but it’s neat to do something different.” Then there’s the chance to get customers involved as well. Stegner: “We have a customer I met with last night from Florida, who owns a vintage jet and biplane. Last night he agreed to donate a ride in the fighter jet that we can auction off for anywhere from five to $10,000—money that will go to the charities. So we have customers now who are not only coming and purchasing things to support the charity, but coming and donating things.”
Other auctioned donations have included Grammy trips, tickets to the final of American Idol, and four tickets to the Ellen DeGeneres Show. “And you can’t buy tickets to that,” says Stegner.
He continues: “The customers and vendors have gotten very engaged in it and they don’t have to. That’s what I like the best about it; they don’t have to. They do it because they want to help the kids. It’s just a real feel-good story—and so different from the day-to-day operation of your normal distributor.”