Viasat and the San Diego-based band Switchfoot have one big thing in common: a desire to support local youth organizations in the San Diego community. The two have joined forces to do just that for 14 years during the annual Switchfoot BRO-AM fundraiser.
Grammy-award winning Switchfoot founded the event in 2005 as a way to give back to their hometown. Money raised through BRO-AM goes to organizations that benefit children. Since BRO-AM began, it has raised over $2.25 million for youth programs impacting homeless, at-risk, and disadvantaged kids.
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Switchfoot BRO-AM Foundation again hosted its annual Beach Fest and Benefit Party in North County, CA. Viasat sponsored the June 18 Beach Fest and hosted the June 24 benefit party on its Carlsbad campus.
Viasat began hosting the Benefit Party in 2016 and has supported the event since 2008.
It’s a pleasure for me to see that we’ve planted a seed at Viasat and it has just continued to grow. By being part of this event, we make a real impact in the local community.
Its support includes help from Viasat employees, about 50 of whom volunteered at the Beach Fest and Benefit Party.
This year’s beneficiaries included A Step Beyond, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Feeding San Diego, the Monarch School, and Save the Music Foundation.
For many years, it also included StandUp For Kids, which provides services for homeless youth. Viasat, led by Vice President of Facilities and Security, Bob Rota, was a long-time supporter of StandUp for Kids. Through that organization, Rota learned about BRO-AM.
“What really touched my heart about StandUp for Kids and what BRO-AM was doing was that I had teenagers at home myself,” he said. “I saw these homeless youth were really good kids, many of whom just couldn’t go home because they lived in unstable or violent homes, or were basically abandoned after aging out in foster homes. I realized I could do something to help, and brought the issue to my fellow employees. In typical Viasat fashion, they reached out with their hearts, time, and wallets.
“Our first time going to the BRO-AM Beach Fest in 2008, the turnout was about 3,000 to 5,000 people. Viasat brought a stack of 10-12 pizzas and put some yellow caution tape around some folding chairs. From that, it grew into the beach party we know today.”
This year, about 17,000 people gathered on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas for Beach Fest, a day of surf contests, live music and food, and vendor booths. Viasat sponsored a VIP youth tent where it helped entertain youth and leaders with the organizations BRO-AM benefited.
Party at Viasat
Until Viasat offered to host the Benefit Party in 2016, the BRO-AM Foundation often had to rent space at facilities in North County.
“I saw what was happening with the amount of money they were paying to these other venues,” Rota said. “Once we had this beautiful campus and redid our cafeteria on the west side, it seemed like a great place for the event. And a huge benefit of them hosting it at our venue is that it allows a much larger percentage of what’s raised to go directly to the kids.”
The June 24 Benefit Party brings about 500 people to Viasat’s west campus courtyard for a night of dining, live and silent auctions, and a performance by Switchfoot.
None of it could happen without the Viasat employee volunteers who give their time to the BRO-AM events.
Viasat real estate specialist Spencer Rands was among the employees who gave their time during this year’s Beach Fest, grilling food and handing out snacks and drinks.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “The guys from Switchfoot came over and hung out with the kids. The music was good, and there were lots of positive vibes.”
Viasat systems test engineer Frederick Miller gave his time during the Benefit Party.
“This was my first BRO-AM experience, and it was great,” he said. “The food was amazing, the band Switchfoot was even better, and I was able to meet some great people from the community.”
In addition to its facilities and volunteers, Viasat donates security for the Benefit Party.
While Rota is less involved than in years past, he finds great satisfaction in the event’s continued growth and success.
“It’s a pleasure for me to see that we’ve planted a seed at Viasat and it has just continued to grow,” he said. “By being part of this event, we make a real impact in the local community.”