Over the past 18 years, Broetje Orchards, near Prescott, Washington, has donated around $47 million to mission projects around the world.

The Vista Hermosa Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Broetje Orchards, allocates each year between 50 and 75 percent of the after-tax profits to projects that focus on alleviating hunger, promoting self-sufficiency, empowering the underprivileged, and serving the work force.

Ralph and Cheryl Broetje, who have one of the largest privately owned orchards in the country, established the foundation in 1990 to carry out their mission of being a quality fruit company committed to "bearing fruit that will last," which is a reference to the biblical passage John 15:16.

Their daughter Suzanne Broetje Bairstow, executive director of the foundation, said the business has been able to donate increasing amounts of money. In recent years, grants to nonprofit organizations have totaled $4 million annually.

One of those organizations is the Jubilee Youth Ranch and Christian Academy, which the Broetjes founded at the orchard as a boarding school for at-risk youth from around the country.

The foundation has also awarded grants to nonprofit organizations in more than 40 countries, including:

• Stephen’s Children, which has built Christian schools and clinics for people living in the garbage dumps of Cairo, Egypt

• The Marimanti Rural Training Center in Kenya, which trains farmers in sustainable agriculture

• Beyond Borders in Haiti, which is campaigning to end child servitude and exploitation

• The International Justice Mission in India, which is trying to free families from bonded labor

• The Center for Sharing in Pasco, Washington, which was founded by the Broetjes and provides training in servant leadership as a means of empowering the underprivileged

The foundation recently helped a group of 100 small apple growers in Chihuahua, Mexico, to improve their marketing prospects and to earn a livable wage by changing their production practices and building cold storage. Some of the growers visited Broetje Orchards to learn how to improve fruit quality, and Broetje employees went to their orchards in Mexico to give advice.

Local programs

In addition to funding mission projects, the business spends about $500,000 annually on local programs for families of people working at the orchard. These include an early childhood education center, an elementary school, and summer enrichment programs. The foundation also provides college and continuing-education scholarships for local youth and adults.

For information about the Vista Hermosa Foundation, check the Web site at www.vista-hermosa.org.