SALINAS, Calif. — D’Arrigo Bros. Co. reached its $1 million donation benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in March.

The partnership with the foundation began because of one color — pink.

The color is emblematic of different things — the breast cancer research ribbon and D’Arrigo’s Andy Boy brand — but it was pink that was critical in linking D’Arrigo’s financial support to the New York City-based foundation, said Claudia Pizarro-Villalobos, sales specialist.

The partnership started a decade ago with an idea from a former D’Arrigo marketing director, Pizarro-Villalobos said, who saw the color pink as a way to connect the iconic Andy Boy brand with supporting an important cause of funding breast cancer research.

“It’s become part of our branding,” Pizarro-Villalobos said.

The March milestone came after 10 years of contributing to the foundation, which received a check during a March 26 ceremony at the company’s Salinas offices.

D’Arrigo has contributed $75,000 to $100,000 annually to the foundation during the past decade, and Pizarro-Villalobos said the company has signed a two-year contract with the foundation promising an annual contribution between $75,000 and $100,000.

“After the two years are up, we will continue to support the (foundation) to some level each year and keep the pink ribbons on all our produce bags and promotional items,” she said.

D’Arrigo has a pink ribbon on all its Andy Boy brand products, which in 2009 delivered the message of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation to more than 65 million consumers domestically and internationally.

Linking the pink in the two brands has also proven important to customers, Pizarro-Villalobos said, who often write to thank the company for its donations to the foundation.

Though breast cancer isn’t something that’s affected the company leadership personally, Pizarro-Villalobos said, it remains D’Arrigo’s largest charitable cause in part because of how many women are touched by the disease.

Myra Biblowit, president of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, was also in attendance during the March event, when she told company executives that their support helps “tremendously in spurring the research advances accomplished by our grantees.”

Biblowit said D’Arrigo’s money has helped fund 15 areas of research, including the link between nutrition and health.
Robbie Franklin, the foundation’s marketing director, said D’Arrigo’s future contributions will continue to fund the “best and brightest” cancer research.

“We love D’Arrigo,” Franklin said.

Biblowit will visit with D’Arrigo Bros. Co. during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Orlando, Fla., in October, Pizarro-Villalobos said, when the company will host a “pink party” celebrating its $1 million goal.