The Wonderful Company comes bearing gifts for valley nonprofits

This holiday season, the billion-dollar company distributes grant funding to the central valley’s nonprofits, local governments and schools

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Christmas came early for several nonprofits and organizations in the central valley this year, as the Wonderful Company gave out grants that ranged from $1,000 to $50,000.

Wonderful, owned by Lynda and Stewart Resnick, is a $5 billion-dollar company that has committed to giving out over a million dollars to 31 different organizations in the Central Valley. Many of these are in Fresno, Kings and Kern Counties. The grants range anywhere from $1,000–$50,000, and up to four of the grants given out reach $100,000. The recipients of the grant were announced in October. In total, the company will distribute $1.1 million in grants this holiday season.

“We believe in the importance of investing in our own local neighborhoods – supporting community organizations in the places where we operate and where our colleagues live and work,” Andy Anzaldo, chief operating officer of Wonderful said. 

Over the past seven years, Wonderful has funded roughly over $5 million to 71 non-profits and 165 schools in the Valley. This year, some of those nonprofits receiving funding are:

  • Central California Food Bank — Avenal, Ca.
  • Kings Community Action Organization — Avenal, Ca.
  • Community Action Partnership of Kern — Delano, Ca.
  • 3E Empower Equip Embark Inc — Delano, Ca.
  • Marjaree Mason Center — Del Rey, Ca.
  • Central Valley Scholars — Del Rey, Ca.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Fresno County — Firebaugh, Ca.
  • Junior Achievement of Northern California — Firebaugh, Ca.
  • Together We Rise — Lost Hills, Ca.
  • American Red Cross — Lost Hills, Ca.
  • Fresno Council on Child Abuse Prevention — Mendota, Ca.
  • Teens That Care — Sanger, Ca.
  • Shafter Library and Learning Center — Shafter, Ca.
  • Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra — Shafter, Ca.
  • Wasco Recreation and Park District — Wasco, Ca.
  • Kern County Library — Wasco, Ca.

The grant funding is also extended to local governments, area nonprofits, schools and faith-based organizations, according to Wonderful’s website. Applicants can receive grants in different categories as well, such as health and wellness, recreation, COVID-19 relief, arts, social services and community beautification.

Wonderful is known for their name brands, such as FIJI Water, POM Wonderful juice, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, Wonderful Seedless Lemons, Teleflora, JUSTIN, JNSQ and Landmark wines. 

This isn’t the first impression Wonderful Company has had on the Valley, though. The Wonderful Company had recently filed a lawsuit against Touchstone Pistachios, also known as ARO Pistachios, last year. Touchstone is a local company that wanted to build more dryers and silos during what is expected to be a record pistachio harvest. 

However, Wonderful initially argued against Touchstone’s ability to expand their capacity. Wonderful stated in a July 14, 2021 lawsuit in Tulare County Superior Court that the permits were “illegally issued” with a potential record harvest fast approaching. ARO Pistachio’s co-counsel with Jennifer Hernandez called foul on Wonderful for trying to use the law to gather a competitive advantage.

Touchstone’s counsel argued that ruling in favor of Wonderful’s lawsuit against a single competitor, not the industry at large, would set a precedent allowing the agriculture giant to “file countless similar claims” against its largest competitor. The judge concluded there is insufficient evidence in the record supporting that its property interests or employees’ health will suffer harm as a result of issuance of the building permits.

Wonderful, owned by Resnick, also operates almond, citrus and pomegranate farms in the Valley and used to do business with Touchstone, which is owned by the Assemi Brothers of Fresno. The Assemi brothers have since struck out on their own.

Now, Touchstone is moving ahead with plans to build capacity at its Terra Bella processing plant. The plant originally had just four storage silos when it was built in 1996. Under Touchstone, the site now has 20 silos with plans to add another 16 for a total of 36 silos. The “Minor Modification” application recently filed with Tulare County says “There will be no expansion of the project site. The intent of the applicant is to increase efficiency for the existing use.”

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