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San Clemente Journal

Celebrating 40 Years with Sonance

Jan 03, 2024 10:50AM ● By Lori Donchak

Boys & Girls Club thanks Sonance

by Lori Donchak

From surfboards to sandals, San Clemente is well-known as the birthplace of successful businesses. A shining star is Sonance, based in the Rancho San Clemente Business Park. Sonance is synonymous with classy and innovative sound systems. If you are not familiar, a quick visit to will inspire. It’s no surprise Sonance is a leader in the world of architectural audio. They believe Life is Better with Music. 

Scott Struthers and Elephant Cooperation support Kenyan families


Thanks in large part to Scott Struthers, Sonance is much more than sound. Look around San Clemente and you’ll see Sonance involved with beloved community institutions such as the Boys & Girls Club, San Clemente Pier, and Casa Romantica. Struthers believes in giving back and fosters a culture of giving within the Sonance organization. 

First, the back-story. Scott, along with co-founder Geoff Spencer, created Sonance in 1983. The vision was to offer the first high-fidelity in-wall sound speaker for the home. Scott recalls, “In the serene hills of San Clemente, a profound realization dawned upon Geoff and me. As contractors entrenched in our work, we saw homeowners yearning for premium music experiences right in their homes, without visual disruption. The prevalent market solutions? Subpar offerings like Nutone or improvised car speakers. But with our audacity, we sliced in half Boston Acoustics speakers to meet the demand. This innovation did not escape the industry's eye, with many eager to embrace our product. With top-tier companies like Bang & Olufsen setting standards, we found ourselves, barely in our mid-twenties, eager to redefine the space. This wasn't a fleeting idea - it was a fervent flame, the genesis of Sonance. Rooted in San Clemente's earnest passion, we embarked on a journey to rock the world.”  

STRUT CARES and Elephant Cooperation team up with Fish for Life

 As with any entrepreneurial undertaking, success is neither easy nor immediate. Scott credits a commitment to hard work, passion for innovation, and setting ambitious goals as components that make Sonance successful. Scott stresses how important it is to be surrounded by great people. Sonance currently employs over 280 folks, and Scott’s pride in the culture they represent is huge. “We believe our employees and culture are one of the major reasons for success as a company. So much so, that we have recognized it as one of the pillars in our company: Leading with Culture. We foster a culture of trust, engagement, and care for one another. Our shared mission of helping Sonance customers be successful is fueled by our team’s passion and dedication.” Not surprisingly, Sonance employees walk the walk when it comes to philanthropy. 
An early indication that charitable giving was part of their DNA was the formation of Elephant Cooperation in 2016, a foundation dedicated to saving the African elephant. Scott emphasizes the urgency of the need in Africa. Only 415,000 African elephants remain, and the populations are being poached to extinction. While elephant preservation is key, a deeper look reveals that the Elephant Cooperation equally dedicates itself to assist the African people. They recognize that sustainable conservation practices depend on the active engagement of local residents. Through education, empowerment, and community involvement, Elephant Cooperation prioritizes initiatives for both communities and wildlife in their conservation efforts. 

Closer to home, Sonance Foundation devotes itself to the San Clemente community. Ari Supran, long-time CEO for Sonance, believes it’s all about going beyond. “Driven by a purpose beyond profit, we leverage our success and resources to make a positive impact, creating a better world through our dedication to philanthropy and community service.”  Scott adds, “Our commitment doesn’t end with just the organizations; it's deeply rooted in our team. Our employees, too, embody this spirit of giving back and going beyond. Rob Roland, Sonance’s CTO and Executive Vice President is particularly dedicated to the Boys and Girls Club. As a long-standing Board member, he's now stepped up as President. As well, sister company STRUT’s CEO, Sharon Runyon is a National Board of Trustee for the Boys and Girls Club.” 

Sonance champions San Clemente Pier. Preserving the Pier fits with Sonance’s commitment to environmental initiatives. Sonance sees the Pier as the heart of San Clemente. The end of the Pier is a source of inspiration for Scott. “There’s something about staring into the vastness of the ocean – it’s raw, it’s powerful, it’s invigorating. It’s the essence of everything I love about San Clemente, captured in a single view.” A recent donation to PierPride Foundation helped fund installation of bird-deterrent netting under the Pier, an effort that directly improves ocean water quality. PierPride president, Eileen Kawas expressed deep appreciation for Sonance’s charitable giving, pleased the two non-profits share a passion for protecting the environment. 

Thanks to Scott’s vision, there is a third non-profit in the family.  STRUT CARES was formed last year and stakes out a global “without borders” position on charitable giving.  Scott hopes the new foundation will encourage personalized giving towards causes people have a spark for, and he urges folks to give well to causes they believe in. STRUT CARES particularly focuses on opportunities that allow them to amplify giving. A poker fundraiser employed a matching challenge and yielded $50,000 to help Casa Romantica after the recent landslides. Another notable STRUT CARES accomplishment led to providing more than 60 new prosthetic devices to positively change lives of children both here and abroad.  

You may have seen Sonance and STRUT volunteers on a recent Fish for Life expedition on a boat provided by Dana Wharf Sport Fishing. Non-profit Fish for Life was founded in San Clemente and has provided an unforgettable fishing adventure to more than 1,500 kids with special needs. Sharon is consistently impressed by her colleagues’ willingness to donate their time.  “One of Scott’s beliefs is that we’re better together. As a team, we love engaging in charitable giving where others have also chosen to partner for the cause. It’s an amazing feeling when people who can make a difference, collaborate, and do make a difference.” 

Forty years is quite a milestone. The question one always asks an entrepreneur is what’s next? Scott sees a promising future, with Sonance and STRUT, thriving and growing in harmony with their philanthropic counterparts. “Sonance Foundation will continue its fierce commitment to causes close to home. Elephant Cooperation and STRUT CARES serve as guiding lights. With the former's Cooperate to Coexist mantra, we're inspired to merge community welfare with wildlife conservation. STRUT CARES will push us to recognize an individual’s power to enact change and foster a culture of widespread compassion.  For me, success in philanthropy is multi-dimensional. Ultimately, it brings about community transformation, ensuring a brighter, more sustainable future for all.” 

Thank you Sonance for making San Clemente your home and setting an example of living well by giving well. 

Photo Captions:
Boys & Girls Club thanks Sonance
Scott Struthers and Elephant Cooperation support Kenyan families
STRUT CARES and Elephant Cooperation team up with Fish for Life