September 2020

Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. Cigar charities, quite a good number of cigar brands run or support a charity program. And there are a few distributors that either support or started charities as well. They are giving back to the community. Some are open about it, raising awareness while trying to raise funds. Others do it on the low as they are afraid it will be seen as marketing.

We feel that all the actions of the factories should be highlighted. The cigar industry needs positive stories, and we need to get the word out to the general public and politicians that there is no other industry that gives back to the community as much as the cigar industry does.

Cigar Family Charitable Foundation

It’s impossible to write about cigar charities without mentioning the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. This might be the best-known charity foundation in the cigar industry. This charity was founded by two legendary families with roots in tobacco going generations back. In 2001, long term partners J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente teamed up once again. Not for a new cigar, but for charity. And the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation was formed.

Ministry of Cigars - Cigar Family Charitable Foundation

The start

Carlito Fuente was talking to local children from the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic. And he was shocked by the stories. The kids all dreamed of going to the United States to become gangsters because that was the only way to become successful. Without schools, healthcare, and other big issues such as a lack of clean water, that was the only way out for these children. So Carlito Fuente and the Newman family started a foundation to fight poverty. Together with Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a Dominican-based nonprofit organization, they came up with a plan to make a positive change.

The idea was to add a wing to an existing school. But it became more, much more. There is now a complete 23-acre complex offering a variety of educational programs. Because once the primary school was completed, students came to Carlito Fuente again. This time with the issue that there wasn’t a high school around to continue their education. So Fuente and Newman managed to find a million US dollars and a high school was founded too.

More than education

But the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation is more than just education. The mission statement is to provide a significant humanitarian impact to communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition, and who have little or no sustainable employment. Cigar Family Charitable Foundation does that through healthcare, education, and the development of eco-friendly business ventures providing self-sufficiency to the communities of the Dominican Republic.

Ministry of Cigars - Cigar Family Charitable Foundation

But there is even more. The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation managed to turn violence into communities working together. Bonao was one of the most violent regions in the entire country. With generations of residents struggling through extreme poverty. The people of these 16 communities resented the government and released their frustrations on others in neighboring villages. That was leading to deeply rooted hatred and frequent quarreling. In response to this situation, a council was established in the region as a community action counterpart to the Complex. Named the Community Works Team, two representatives from each village are tasked with identifying needs and submitting proposals for social and community improvements in each of their respective villages. By providing residents with a platform, there is now a culture of dialogue between the 16 communities which has allowed them to work through their historical differences and drastically reduced the animosity between villages.

Donating and funding

The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation gets funds through events, auctions, donations, and Toast across America. But that last initiative deserves a topic of its own. So next month, we will dive into the history of Toast across America. 

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