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Social entrepreneur Jake Kloberdanz uses OneHope wines to pour money into charity

The gig: Social entrepreneur Jake Kloberdanz, 32, is a co-founder and chief executive of OneHope Inc., an El Segundo social enterprise that sets a goal of giving half its profits to charity. OneHope Foundation also helps other businesses take the same cause-centric marketing approach. OneHope has donated more than $1.6 million to nonprofits since its 2007 founding.

A new capitalism: Part of the new thinking about charitable fundraising is the idea of business-savvy entrepreneurs who use a portion of their profits for good causes. That’s the opposite of the traditional cause-focused nonprofit route, where the largesse of donors is crucial. “You have to create a business that is financially sustainable,” Kloberdanz said. “We have a for-profit business combined with a foundation for the charitable acts and for the donations to the nonprofits we believe are already doing a great job.”

The products: OneHope has partnered with the Michael Mondavi family to use its California winery to bottle OneHope wines, which are sold online and at various stores and restaurants. In 2014, OneHope bought its own Napa Valley winery, which is projected to be operational in 2017. Rob Mondavi Jr. collaborates with OneHope on its whites and reds, which include signature lines with sports figures, such as Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw and Clippers guard Chris Paul, as well as musician Darius Rucker. The company’s Karma Blend coffee is sold through its onehopewine.com website.

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The causes: OneHope’s money has provided more than 1 million meals to the charity WhyHunger, nearly 65,000 diapers to Help Preemie Babies and 40,000 trees forTrees4Trees. Kloberdanz was one of Business Week’s Top 25 under 25. He was also one of accounting firm Ernst & Young’s candidates for entrepreneur of the year.

Parental influences: His father, Frank Kloberdanz, worked in construction, including projects like “helping to build out the Stanford University campus,” Kloberdanz said, instilling a strong work ethic in his son. His mother, Jane Rosen, “was the entrepreneur/businessperson of the family and a role model for me.” By his teens, Kloberdanz was working for his mother’s marketing research firm. “A lot of my early years of understanding business and consumer psychology came from working for my mom’s company,” he said. “I was a supervisor of marketing research studies.”

Wine studies: After receiving a business degree from UC Berkeley in 2005, Kloberdanz began the comprehensive study of the wine industry by nailing down a job with the Gallo Wine Co., quickly rising to a district manager before leaving Gallo in October 2006.

Branching out: Some wineries take a long time to get underway, beginning with raising the money to buy suitable acreage to plant and starting a sometimes long and tedious permitting process from scratch. Kloberdanz took what he thought was a better and certainly much quicker route: He talked up his idea for a socially conscious business that would generate revenue for charitable causes with the Mondavi wine family. “They really loved the idea. We are allowed to use their winery for our bottling,” Kloberdanz said.

Careful vetting: Kloberdanz said the charities that OneHope chooses are carefully vetted and that “only those that have very little overhead and give the biggest percentage of their donations to charity work are selected.” Those have included charities that help children with autism, provide clean water, donate to clinical trials for women with breast cancer and many more.

Taking up the cause: At UC Berkeley, Kloberdanz and his fellow freshmen in the business program were the first who were required to take a course in business ethics, he said. “That was when I first wrapped my head around the idea of combining social good with business plans. That was a pretty powerful influence for me, in my education.”

Lead by example: Kloberdanz said he hopes that many of the 28 people who work for the OneHope company and foundation will move on to form their own socially responsible businesses that donate a significant percentage of their revenue to good causes. “I like to think we are training a new generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs.”

Personal: Kloberdanz lives in Southern California and is engaged to be married. He played on UC Berkeley’s two-time national rugby championship team and said that in his free time “I still manage to play a little rugby.” His eventual plans include returning to the Bay Area, “where I feel most at home.”

ronald.white@latimes.com

Twitter: @RonWLATimes


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