Longtime partner uses their expertise in efficiency to give back


McLane Gene Team riders

As one of the largest supply chain service leaders in the United States, McLane Company, Inc. ®, provides grocery and food service solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants. 

McLane has been involved with Children’s Hospital Colorado for more than 35 years, doing everything from partnering with our Children’s Miracle Network Hospital team to involving their employees in friendly competitions that benefit the hospital, as well as sponsoring Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation special events.

But in 2010, this longtime Children’s Colorado corporate partner saw another opportunity to give back by using their expertise in efficiency.

It all started in 2010 when one of McLane’s employees asked Keith Pearson, president of the Western Division of McLane, if the company would sponsor him during his Courage Classic bike ride with The Gene Team – a team that helps raise money for families who have been impacted by a genetic metabolic disorder.

The Courage Classic is an event where thousands of cyclists get together for two days in July to summit some of the toughest mountain passes in the scenic Rocky Mountain Region – all to support Children’s Colorado. Riders train and fundraise to accomplish this great fete all for a great cause.

Keith wanted to learn more about Courage Classic, so he decided he would go to the tour since his colleague was riding. While he was waiting at the finish line, he saw “Team Courage,” a group of current and former patients who have overcome major hurdles in their medical journey, pedal across the threshold.

“When I saw that, I knew we needed to become more involved with this amazing event,” said Keith. “It was such a moving and inspiring experience to see firsthand the courage that these kids display, not just on the mountain, but in their everyday lives.”

Since 2011, McLane has helped to cover the fees for their employees to ride, as well as given the company’s time and resources to help with this key event.

Before the race begins, each rider receives a “rider bag,” which includes goodies to help them get through their cycling journey. For years, Children’s Colorado Foundation staff had been stuffing thousands of these bags themselves. But when Emily Kotas, the Foundation’s senior manager of corporate giving, met with Keith and toured the McLane facility, a light bulb went off.

Keith began to brainstorm how their employees could help stuff these bags, using their systems and resources. Despite the summer being one of their busiest seasons, the McLane staff graciously put together the rider bags while asking their clients to donate to these bags. They were able to cut production time down immensely, which has been an enormous help to the Foundation.

“Many of our employees have had personal experiences with Children’s Colorado,” said Keith. “Some of them have been patients along with their kids. Many of our teammate’s lives have been touched by Children’s Colorado.”

Without Corporate Partners like McLane, events like the Courage Classic would not be possible.

Learn more about how you can give back as a corporate sponsor.