Written by Donald A. Promnitz
Ampersand Ice Cream has built up a reputation for a tasty product, but their latest gift to a local nonprofit might be even sweeter.
Throughout the month of May, 2% of every cash sale at Ampersand shops went to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California, with Realty Concepts matching all proceeds. This amounted to a donation of $2,000 for the nonprofit, with the check presented Wednesday afternoon.
“Very honored, super excited that we were the charity of choice,” said Diane Phakonekham, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California. “Investing in our youth is one of the best investments — I believe — we should really focus and hone into.”
The donations came as part of Ampersand’s “Fresno Proud” drive, aimed at helping local nonprofits. According to Jeff Bennett, owner of Ampersand, it’s their way of giving back to a community that’s been good to him and to his family.
“As the term states, we’re truly proud,” he said. “So we want to support Fresno in all ways possible, both through serving great ice cream, but also through investing in those nonprofits that effect and influence our city as a whole.”
This year, the charity was suggested by Realty Concepts President J.P. Shamshoian, himself a big brother with the organization.
“I’ve done a lot of philanthropic work in the past where you make a small difference for a lot of people, and I was ready to try to make a big difference for one person,” Shamshoian said. “And I felt like this was the best way to do it.”