All About the Charitable Event Toast Across America
Any occasion, whether it's a night out on the town or a quiet sojourn at home, is made better by the inclusion of some quality handmade cigars. But a way to make an event particularly special is to find a way to do some good in the world at the same time.
That's precisely what the Toast Across America charitable event accomplishes. The annual event lets cigar aficionados nationwide enjoy some premium samplings, along with the satisfaction of knowing they're helping to make the world a better place.
But how does it all work?
To help make sense of the unorthodox charity drive, let's break down who organizes the event, how it functions, and how it helps improve the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable.
What Is Toast Across America and How Does It Work? The Toast Across America is a chance for cigar makers, retailers, and customers to come together for a good cause. Held every fall since 2003, the fundraiser sells special sampler packs to raise money for families in a major cigar-producing region of the Dominican Republic.
Each year's pack, contains an exclusive blend of premium J.C Newman and Fuente cigars. The cigars chosen are always extremely limited edition, super-premium specimens.
The 2022 sampler, for example, features an Arturo Fuente Opus X Shark as one-half of the offering. These rare cigars are often touted as among the best in the world right now. Critics praise the at-once smooth and bold flavor, exquisite profile, and immaculate construction.
The other cigar featured in this year's sampler is the J.C. Newman Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Shark. The flavor profile of this small-batch cigar is earthy and toasty, with pleasant notes of apple, cream, and white pepper.
The cigar makers sell these top-shelf smokes to the public at cost, with the proceeds going to benefit educational and community service initiatives. So this fundraiser marks a great opportunity to add a pair of super-premium cigars to your humidor, while doing your good deed for the day.
Who Manages the Event? Toast Across America is the work of The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (CFCF). The organization came to be in 2001 when longtime partners the Fuente and Newman families joined forces to do good in the communities that their industry relies on.
The dream is to build a better future for families in Bonao, a mountainous region in the heart of the Dominican Republic. The area is a prime cigar-producing region and the industry depends on the land and families that live there.
Unfortunately, life can be hard in Banao's rural communities.
Extreme poverty is endemic. With that poverty comes an overcrowded and deficient educational system. Poor water quality is also a major issue, contributing to poor health throughout the region.
A lack of reliable transportation in the region makes it hard for many residents to access economic opportunities or further education. This makes it almost impossible to rise out of these difficult circumstances.
The CFCF's ambitions started small. At first, they only sought to add a new wing to one of the local schools. But they would soon partner with the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a Dominican-based non-profit organization to expand their efforts.
The IDDI has more than 30 years of experience working to build stronger communities throughout the country. And alongside the CFCF, they're making great strides in improving the quality of life in the region.
The Families Behind Toast Across America As noted, the CFCF isn't a faceless non-profit corporation. Like the cigar industry itself, it's a family business.
The Fuente family is one-half of the organization. Founded in 1912 by Arturo Fuente himself, their brand is one of the most recognizable names in the industry.
The brand came from humble beginnings and faced a great deal of hardship along the way. In 1924, for example, a fire burned their factory to the ground, wiping out the company. It took more than 20 years for the Fuente family to roll another cigar.
When they finally resumed production, it returned as a small family business run out of the back porch of their home in Tampa. Arturo's son, Carlos would take control of the company in 1958. Under his stewardship, and later that of his own children, the company blossomed into one of the best-loved cigar brands in the world.
The Newman family is the other half of the CFCF. Founded in 1895, J.C. Newman is the oldest family-owned cigar maker in America.
Like the Fuentes, the Newmans came from humble beginnings. Their business began in a barn, with a $50 loan to buy tobacco and a few boards put together for a rolling table.
They would likewise face challenges. The Great Depression was a trying time for the entire industry, and the Cuban Embargo deprived them of their main tobacco source. But they persisted and now enjoy one of the most venerable reputations in the business.
What Does This Charitable Event Accomplish? The primary objective of CFCF, and by extension the Toast Across America fundraiser, is to advance the cause of education in Banao's rural communities. And to that end, they've made great strides.
The simple expansion that the CFCF originally planned for an existing school eventually grew into the 23-acre Cigar Family Complex. This complex includes both primary and secondary schools, an organic farming educational program, and sports and recreational complexes. Recent initiatives include the addition of a musical academy, as well as nursing programs and technical institutes to advance vocational training.
Advancing public health is another major priority. The Cigar Family Complex has a health center that serves hundreds of residents each month. And the CFCF has supplied thousands of water filters to the region to stem the spread of waterborne illness.
How You Can Get Involved in Toast Across America This charitable event brings cigar makers, retailers, and everyday customers together for a common cause. So the best way to get involved is to browse our selection and pick up a 2022 Fuente and Newman Toast Across America sampler. After all, one of the biggest perks of the event is that you get to enjoy some premium smokes.
Of course, there are other ways to participate.
If you would prefer to make a personal contribution, you can donate directly to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation today.