This summer, Buchanan Street Partners made a splash with its annual charity fundraiser in support of several children’s causes. On June 6, members of the 40-person firm dove into the chilly waters of Big Bear Lake at 6 a.m. to kickoff an Ironman-triathlon relay dubbed “From the Mountains to the Sea.”
Buchanan Street Partners, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based real estate investment bank, began its philanthropic program three years ago when it formed the Buchanan Street Foundation. The company’s sports minded staff wanted a way to promote awareness and raise funds for children’s charities in each of the three communities where the company has offices.
“We have struck upon an excellent balance of making a significant contribution to the local community while offering our employees an important team-building experience,” says President Robert Brunswick. “I’m very proud of what these dedicated people have accomplished.”
Each year, the charity event has grown in terms of strenuous athletic activity and fundraising. In its inaugural year, employees participated in a 150-mile septathlon relay from Santa Barbara to Laguna Beach. In 2002, the firm took part in a 33-mile relay-rowing event aboard a lifeguarddory boat from Catalina Island to Laguna Beach, inspired by Brunswick’s days as a lifeguard in the destination town. The Ironman triathlon was a challenging and novel way to continue the tradition. “Every year, we undertake a challenging activity that pushes the limits of our people to demonstrate our company’s support for children’s charities,” says event chairwoman Kristin Olson.
Buchanan Street employees raise funds through a grassroots campaign, collecting donations from clients, members of the financial community, friends and families, as well as a substantial contribution from the firm’s employees. This year’s fundraising was nearly triple that of the first year, despite current economic conditions.
The Big Day
Brunswick was the first in the water, along with Executive Vice President Chris MacDonald and several others, to begin a grueling 2.4 mile swim. While the swimming leg was designed as a relay event—like the 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run to follow—five of the six swimmers finished the entire distance. Thomas Heydorff, 22, a new addition to the firm and a collegiate water-polo player, finished first—while recovering from a bout of pneumonia no less! All told, each firm member competed in at least one portion of the event.
Once finished with the swim, the athletes biked down the steep curves leading out of the San Bernardino mountains. Cyclist Josh Greer of Buchanan Storage Capital had ambitions of finishing the entire 112-mile biking distance, but took a spill 20 miles into the ride to avoid a swerving driver on the tight mountain roads. He went on to complete another 10 miles before seeking much-needed medical treatment for “road rash.”
The cycling leg concluded in Huntington Beach, where the distance runners took over to bring the race home. Jed Gates of Buchanan Street’s San Francisco office completed half of the 26.2 mile distance in his first marathon. The entire firm joined to run the last mile together, led to the finish line by Olson. Representatives of the charities cheered the group on as it crossed the finish line, including several children who benefit from the programs Buchanan supports.
The company later hosted a reception at the Hotel Laguna where Brunswick presented a $153,000 check to United Way, the organization responsible for distributing funds to the various charities. Success by 6, an initiative that promotes healthy development and school readiness among young children, is one of the recipients. Others include Santa Ana’s Olive Crest, TrinityKids Care in Los Angeles, and the Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco, the oldest children’s charity in the Western United States.
Maria Wilcox, president of United Way for Orange County, has high regard for the partnership with Buchanan Street. “We are honored and pleased Buchanan Street Partners has again joined forces with Orange County’s United Way to address critically needed programs in the community. Their commitment of time and money helps make a real difference in the lives of many children,” she says.
Brunswick and Olson expressed their appreciation to participants for the hard work and financial contributions that made the fundraiser a success. Santa Barbara-based Adventours Outdoor Excursions was also acknowledged for its role in organizing the 12-hour triathlon.
Finally, Brunswick made a special proclamation at the closing ceremonies. Injured biker Greer, fresh from the emergency room, was brought forward and introduced to the cheering crowd. “Josh is an outstanding athlete, but this is the third time he has sustained a mishap at one of our events,” said Brunswick. “Josh, you are hereby granted a lifetime exemption from future Buchanan Street-sponsored athletic activities.”
Buchanan Street Partners is a West Coast-based real estate investment bank that provides capital for owners and developers. The firm makes principal investments in a discretionary capacity through The Buchanan Funds, and arranges conventional and structured debt solutions through its long-standing capital-markets relationships. Its subsidiary, Buchanan Storage Capital, is a provider of capital to self-storage owners. The group arranges construction, bridge and permanent financings, mezzanine debt and equity. The company is headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. For more information, visit www.buchananstreet.com or www.buchananstoragecapital.com.