Throbbing With Philanthropy

In this business of pleasure, it's easy to get caught up in the game of earning a dollar and pocketing it for one's own welfare. However, many in the adult novelty industry have become involved with various charities because they realize it's important to spread pleasure outside the bedroom.


Manufacturer Topco Sales supports several nonprofits and charity events by contributing products that can be used to raise money. Director of Marketing Desiree Duffie says the company prefers to directly support charitable organizations during fundraising events, rather than "jumping on the bandwagon" with cause-related marketing campaigns.


"Rather than using a charity as a tool to increase a product's sales by slapping a pink or red package on it, we favor directly supporting charitable fundraising events with product donations and sponsorships that will equal real money for the cause," she explains. "We understand that true philanthropy means it is more about the cause than about us."


Duffie says this line of thinking also comes from witnessing philanthropic debacles such as the costly Red campaign, in which  Gap, Apple and Motorola invested nearly $100 million in marketing but yielded only $18 million for the cause.


Topco recently has been involved in the "Love Shack" parties that benefit the San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation, the "Babes & Aces" celebrity poker tournament in support of the breast-cancer charity b.a.b.e. (Breast Awareness Benefits Everyone), and the American Fertility Association's annual "Illuminations" gala.


Topco also teamed up with Adam & Eve and its contract star Ava Rose to co-sponsor the annual "Babes on the Bull" event, which featured mechanical-bull riding to raise money for Children in Need.


Manufacturer California Exotic Novelties also has begun supporting breast-cancer awareness in the past year. The Papillon Massager, scheduled for release in May, will support Living Beyond Breast Cancer through a partnership announced at the Adult Entertainment Expo in January


Jean A. Sachs, CEO of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, says the nonprofit organization is "delighted" that Cal Exotics is helping to raise awareness of breast cancer.


"We encourage all women to find ways to recapture joy and pleasure in their lives, regardless of a history of breast cancer," she says. "The money raised will help support our spectrum of educational programs, including our website, Helpline, books and pamphlets, conferences and meetings."


In 2007, Tyler Hope, a manufacturer of discreet sex-toy storage products, stayed busy raising money for several organizations focusing on breast-cancer awareness, as well as charities such as the Nicole Brown Foundation, which supports organizations working to eradicate domestic violence.


Tyler Hope CEO Kirk Salvador has continued to find ways to give back since launching the company in 2007.


"One of the reasons I continue to do this type of work is my own person experience with breast cancer in my family," he says. "I've seen dramatic efforts of how devastating breast cancer can be to a family, but also how much hope and comfort research and awareness can bring."


Another company that has remained involved in philanthropy is condom-case manufacturer Just in Case, which in February donated products to the global V-Day movement to stop violence against women and girls. A month earlier, the manufacturer asked the public to nominate local charities so that it could spread its altruism around the globe.


Just in Case will launch a partnership with YouthAIDS on Thursday, seeking to raise $100,000 for the nonprofit organization by the end of the year.


"Giving back has always been a part of our everyday lives," company co-founder Rachel Sudul says. "When we formed Just in Case Inc., giving back was and is a natural and integral part of our company policy. Whether it's giving back with time, money or compacts, we wouldn't have it any other way."


Lingerie manufacturer Shirley of Hollywood has six decades of experience with charity involvement. Chief Financial Officer Jon Schlobohm has led the company's efforts to give back to its local community.


"In addition to donating product to various education and children's charities, such as the Ronald McDonald House," he says, "Shirley is a very active supporter of a nonprofit group in the community [in] which it does business, donating both time and money to this worthy cause."


Schlobohm also serves as president of the board of directors for the Aliso Pico Business Group, a nonprofit organization that provides a range of services to local families and children, and offers special assistance to women and mothers.


Vinnie Russomanno, Fairvilla Megastore's manager in Cape Canaveral, spent time in jail to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The donations received helped provide annual flu shots, clinical diagnosis exams, wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices, and helped send children to summer camp for a week.


Online retailer Cleo's Boutique donates a portion of its income from each purchase to philanthropic organizations such as Gilda's Club, Locks of Love, Women for Women International and ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis). For more information on these charities, visit the "Charitable Giving" page of the Cleo's Boutique website.