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Happy Holidays! It’s time to give! This is the time of year when we find ourselves rushing around buying presents for our family and friends. It’s a symbolic way of showing them that we care. But what about the folks we don’t even know, those less fortunate, what can we do to brighten their holidays and their futures?

We recently were invited to participate in a rather unique program in Mazatlán Mexico. The newly created Mazatlán Charitable Foundation is a non-profit community fund, dedicated to the education, organization and support of other non-profits in Mazatlán and throughout Mexico. This year they invited Mexican and American academics, business people, and students to participate in several community improvement and fund-raising projects over the holidays.

We were thrilled at the opportunity to donate our time, labor, speaking and books to aid the foundation in its charitable work. So far we have cleaned beaches and roadsides alongside the international students. Tonight we will give a presentation on worthy cause marketing to students and business leaders. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of our books at the event to the Foundation. Tomorrow we will provide backpacks filled with holiday gifts to impoverished school children in small villages in Sinaloa. We have a full schedule and we love it! It feels like the right thing to be doing especially at this time of year.

We all have different talents and experiences we can share. Giving for its own sake is its own reward. Just to see the expressions on the faces of folks who didn’t expect a Holiday surprise makes us feel like we’ve done something that’s appreciated. Somehow we’ve made a difference in whatever small way. Even Ebenezer Scrooge finally got into the spirit of giving. Why? Because it made him feel good!

We are sharing this experience with a group of college students, many who have just met. We all have quickly bonded in the adventure to bring some cheer to another culture while learning about it and appreciating it. The students are preparing gift bags, food bags and pitching in with the clean-up projects. There is great team spirit!

We are all encamped at the Foundation director’s historic and restored hacienda. It’s located in the old central district of Mazatlán where life is still face to face, human scale, and everything including the ocean, is a short walk away. Walk a few blocks to the old colonial plaza and you will find life bustling with merchants, music, and culture late into the night. It’s a positively charming lifestyle!

Mexico is lovely in the wintertime with its beautiful beaches, days in the 80’s, and balmy nights. We definitely look forward to grabbing some beach time, but meanwhile we are happy to share this memorable and meaningfully experience with the students and do a little giving during the Holidays!

Philanthropy is defined as “an altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons.” Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airways, says, “2014 is the year of entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs who will succeed will need to focus beyond profits.”

This is a great time of year to give it a try! Happy Giving from Michael and Bonnie! Feliz Navidad!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact