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Cigar Culture – A Culture of Generosity as Well?

Cigar smokers have always been generous on a personal level. I can’t count the number of smokes I’ve been given by coworkers and friends outside of work, and although I’ve never really had a very impressive humidor myself, I’d offer any of my own stogies to a friend in a heartbeat.

But this culture of generosity extends far beyond this level—many cigar companies have long been involved in charitable causes. The Montecristo Relief Organization was founded in 1999 in response to two huge hurricanes that tore through Honduras, killing over 11,000 people, injuring millions, and leaving countless victims homeless and without their livelihood. The organization donated over $1 million in relief funds and helped to rebuild the weather-torn region.

Since then, the Montecristo Relief Organization has furthered their philanthropic efforts, providing $1 million in aid to Hurricane Katrina victims in and helping to build schools and homes in impoverished areas in Central America.

Rocky Patel became involved in charitable efforts with the Rocky Patel Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to build facilities in Danli, Honduras, which will offer educational programs to the children of the region. The program starts with children ages 4-12 who are at social risk, allowing them access to pre-education up until sixth grade, and eventually teaching them valuable labor skills that will help them to become self-sufficient. The foundation also works to find shelter for homeless children, ensuring that they have a higher quality of life.

And the list goes on—Cigar Family, the guys behind the Arturo Fuente, Cuesta-Rey, and Montesino brands, founded the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation to help build up communities in the Dominican Republic. In 2009, for the 5th anniversary of their God of Fire brand, the company donated money to homeless shelters in Los Angeles and contributed to poor children in the Dominican Republic. The God of Fire charity dinners have raised over $900,000 for charity since their inaugural dinner in 2005.

The companies are met with support by publications like Cigar Aficionado, who have hosted many charity dinners and auctions of their own. Their 2005 Night to Remember auction event helped to raise over $2.5 million for prostate cancer research, which broke the record for a single donation to that cause. Some of the prizes of the evening were a magnum bottle of 1990 Château Margaux wine, which went for a whopping $17,000, custom-built humidors that went for tens of thousands, and finally Marvin’s Mystery Box, a precious humidor named for Marvin Shanken, C.A.’s publisher, which went for the jaw-dropping sum of $1.8 million. Since then, Cigar Aficionado has hosted several of these events, all of which have been met with great success.

Everybody knows that cigar giants like Altadis, Cigar Family, and Rocky Patel make great smokes—now we know they’re also pretty solid dudes. Check out the links below to see how you can get involved with some of these causes.

Relevant links: (Cigar Family Charitable Foundation) (Montecristo Relief Organization) (Rocky Patel Foundation) (List of events hosted by Cigar Aficionado, charity and otherwise)