Friday, October 17, 2008

Ameristar Golf Event Raises More than $1.1 Million for Two Charities

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Ameristar Casinos, Inc. announced that the fourth annual Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic, hosted by the Ameristar Cares Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, has raised more than $1.1 million this year to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The benefit was held Oct. 6-7 at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa and the Whitmoor Country Club. Attending were former NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti and his son, Marc, who created The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis after a college football injury left Marc Buoniconti paralyzed, and Alexandra Reeve, daughter of the late actor Christopher Reeve, who led his foundation's efforts to fund spinal cord injury research and treatment after he was paralyzed in an equestrian accident.

The event is dedicated to Craig H. Neilsen, Ameristar's late founder, whose injuries in a 1985 automobile accident left him a quadriplegic. Neilsen spent the next 21 years building Ameristar into a successful gaming and entertainment company with properties across the country. He also established and funded The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, which focuses on sponsoring innovative research for spinal cord injuries and disease, and supporting quality-of-life programs for those living with spinal cord injuries and disease. Craig Neilsen died in 2006.

"It means so much to me and everyone at Ameristar that my father's commitment to discovering a cure for spinal cord injuries continues in this country," said Ray Neilsen, Craig Neilsen's son, and chairman of Ameristar Casinos, Inc., and co-trustee of The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.

Including the more than $1.1 million raised this year, the Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic has raised about $4.6 million in its four-year history, making it one of the nation's most successful fundraising events to benefit spinal cord injury research and treatment.

The success of the Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic has enabled the Ameristar Cares Foundation to broaden the beneficiaries of the event to include The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, in addition to The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, which had been the sole beneficiary since the event's inception in 2005.

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project, the world's largest and most comprehensive research facility dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis. The Miami Project was co-founded in 1985 by internationally recognized neurological surgeon Barth A. Green and three families who experienced spinal cord injuries firsthand, including the Buonicontis. After more than two decades of working closely with the organization, Marc Buoniconti was named president of The Miami Project in January 2008.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis. The organization originally was founded in 1982 as the American Paralysis Association. After Reeve -- an Emmy award winner and Golden Globe nominated actor who is best known for his iconic film portrayal of "Superman" -- was paralyzed in a 1995 equestrian accident, he reached out to the association and ultimately merged his own foundation with it.

Christopher Reeve passed away in 2004, and his wife, the actress and singer Dana Reeve, died in 2006, after a brief bout with a form of lung cancer. A recent graduate of Columbia Law School, Alexandra Reeve now practices law in New York and serves on the Board of Directors of the Reeve Foundation.

Established by the Buoniconti family in 1992, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis is a nonprofit organization committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injuries and to seeing millions worldwide walk again. The Buoniconti Fund serves as the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project. It is designed to complement the scientific accomplishments of The Miami Project by generating funds and a high level of awareness. The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is the world's largest, most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center dedicated to finding more effective treatments for paralysis and, ultimately, a cure.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis.

The Ameristar Cares Foundation's mission is to fund medical research, including research into the treatment of spinal cord injuries and diseases; support local nonprofit organizations, including those providing physical rehabilitation services and other quality-of-life programs for those living with spinal cord injuries and disease; aid Ameristar team members in need; and encourage Team Memer volunteerism in communities the company serves. Ameristar Cares provides direct financial donations to a variety of organizations and coordinates a company match for donations by team members. In 2007, Ameristar and its employees donated almost $8.7 million to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations. The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation also provides an additional match for employee donations made to rehabilitation facility organizations.

This annual golf event now raises money for two very worthwhile non-profit organizations, both dedicated to the research and treatment of paralysis and related injuries.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Campero USA Donates to Make-A-Wish Foundation

DALLAS — Campero USA Corp., the U.S. affiliate of Pollo Campero, the leading chain of chicken quick service restaurants from Latin America, announced it has made the first three in a series of $5,000 donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in celebration of its new restaurant grand openings. Campero USA plans to make $5,000 donations at each of the openings of select restaurants through 2008.

Patty Gutierrez, director of philanthropy and public relations at Campero USA, presented the initial $5,000 check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas during the grand opening of the Pollo Campero restaurant in Dallas on Sept. 16. Campero USA also presented a $5,000 check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western Virginia for the Pollo Campero grand opening in Massaponax, Virginia, on Sept. 26. Ms. Gutierrez then went on to present a check to another local chapter, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, during the grand opening of the Pollo Campero restaurant in Miami on Oct. 2.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the communities in which we live and work through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The children that Make-A-Wish helps have so many worries and difficult obstacles to overcome, and the incredible people at Make-A-Wish provide these children with hope and happiness by making their wishes come true," said Gutierrez. "The Make-A-Wish Foundation has such a positive effect on these children and their families, and we are honored to have the opportunity to financially assist this organization and bring joy to children with life threatening medical conditions across the United States. As the parent of a son who recently had his wish granted by Make-A-Wish, I have seen first-hand how important this organization is, and words cannot describe the tremendous impact Make-A-Wish has on the children it helps and their families."

Campero USA is an affiliate of Pollo Campero, founded by the Gutierrez Family in 1971, now chaired by Juan Jose Gutierrez. Campero USA opened its first restaurant in 2002 and now has over 38 restaurants in the United States, with additional stores in Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and New Jersey slated to open this year. Pollo Campero is the largest Latin American chicken restaurant chain, now operating 284 restaurants in 11 countries and serving more than 75 million customers annually. Pollo Campero is part of the family of corporations that make up Corporacion Multi Inversiones, which is currently led by co-presidents Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez.

It's nice to see Campero USA making donations in the new communities it will be serving. This is nice way to support a worthwhile charity while also demonstrating a willingness to support the communities the company serves.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Campbell Soup Company Pledges $10 Million to Benefit Camden Residents

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company announced a $10 million pledge to the City of Camden's neighborhood revitalization efforts, job training initiatives and projects to benefit youth, such as after-school and summer programs.

The Public Benefits Plan will be funded over the next five years by Campbell and the Campbell Soup Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, and will utilize funds from the Foundation, a new grant from Campbell and additional company funding that leverages New Jersey's Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program.

Campbell's President and Chief Executive Officer Douglas R. Conant said, "Campbell has been committed to the City of Camden since the company's founding here in 1869. This plan builds on that long-standing commitment and recognizes that companies like Campbell have a responsibility to help support their communities. Our continued investment in the city and its residents will help revitalize neighborhoods and support programs that directly benefit people who call Camden home."

Campbell created the Public Benefits Plan with the city and the State of New Jersey as part of the Project Development Agreement for Campbell's expansion plans and the revitalization of Camden's Gateway District. Details of the Public Benefits Plan are:

• Campbell will establish a new fund of approximately $2 million to be used over the next five years to support projects that would include job training and other professional development opportunities for city residents.

• The Campbell Soup Foundation will continue its existing philanthropic efforts in the City by committing an estimated $5 million in grants to area non-profits over the next five years. The Foundation will continue to support neighborhood revitalization efforts and youth programming, such as its annual Summer Program, which provides grants to local non-profit organizations that offer safe, fun and educational summer programs. Campbell employees also will continue to volunteer in the city, with a focus on youth activities and hunger relief programs, among others.

•Over the next five years, Campbell expects to fund $3 million to benefit neighborhood revitalization efforts. Through the state's Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program established by Governor Jon S. Corzine, Campbell plans to expend $3 million within or for the direct benefit of the City of Camden. The Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program provides businesses a tax credit for funds given to non-profit entities carrying out comprehensive revitalization programs in New Jersey.

The first recipients of the Neighborhood Revitalization funds contributed by Campbell are Heart of Camden and Parkside Business and Community in Partnership.

Heart of Camden is a non-profit corporation serving the Waterfront South section of Camden. The organization oversees programs for housing restoration, economic expansion and human development. Its Neighborhood Revitalization Plan has three main goals: revitalizing the Broadway Corridor; creating quality market-rate and affordable housing; and improving air quality. Heart of Camden received $647,500 in funding from Campbell.

Parkside Business and Community in Partnership is a non-profit organization focused on revitalizing the Parkside neighborhood. The group’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan includes the revival of the business district along Haddon Avenue, support for affordable housing, financial literacy and youth development projects. The centerpiece of the revitalization effort is a planned 20,000 square-foot mixed-use building that will anchor the corridor near Haddon and Kaighn Avenues. The Parkside neighborhood is located South East of Campbell's headquarters. Parkside also received $647,500 in funding from Campbell.

"Governor Corzine has stressed the importance of rebuilding our state one community at a time," said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria. "I thank Campbell's for their dedication to the residents of Camden and their willingness to work with us through the NRTC program. The commitment they make today is an example we hope others throughout the state will follow."

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including "Campbell's," "Pepperidge Farm," "Arnott's," and "V8."

This ambitious plan focuses heavily on neighborhood revitalization and youth programs, two areas of critical need in Camden. It's good to see a major corporation like Campbell Soup taking a lead role in this area.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Irvine BMW Hosts Event to Benefit Fragile X Research

IRVINE, Calif. — Irvine BMW is hosting its Third Annual Taste of Irvine BMW event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19 at its dealership at 9881 Research Drive in Irvine. Proceeds will benefit FRAXA, a non-profit organization that raises money for scientific research for Fragile X.

“Not only will this be a fun event for the whole family, it will be a great way to help out a much deserving charity,” said Damon Shelly, owner of the Shelly Group and Irvine BMW. “A percentage of the proceeds from the event will go toward finding a cure for Fragile X, the most common inherited cause of intellectual impairment and autism.”

The festivities include live entertainment and a vintage car display. The highlight will be complimentary tasting from some of the most popular restaurants in Orange County such as Kimera Restaurant Lounge, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Kings Fish House, the Wine Pavilion, Donna B's Bakery, Pat & Oscar's, La Cocina De Ricardo, The Counter and TGIS Catering.

FRAXA was founded in 1994 by three parents of children with Fragile X to support scientific research aimed at finding a treatment and a cure for Fragile X. It also supports families affected by Fragile X and raises awareness of this virtually unknown disease.

As the largest BMW center on the West Coast, Irvine BMW has served Southern California for almost a decade. The dealership's helpful and knowledgeable staff, expert factory-trained technicians and one of the nation's largest selections of new and certified pre-owned BMWs have made Irvine BMW a landmark in Southern California's automotive landscape.

This event is an excellent way to educate the public about Fragile X and the need for research funding.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

IBM Employee Charitable Giving Begins in Olympic Style

RALEIGH, N. C. — At IBM's largest employee site in the United States, Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones hopes to begin another gold-winning relay team with employees as the company begins its nationwide annual Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign (ECCC).

Jones will be speaking to Raleigh-based employees on Wednesday, Oct. 1 as part of The Cullen Jones Diversity Tour/Make a Splash, aimed to prevent drowning and encourage swimming among minorities. IBM is a sponsor of the Diversity Tour.

"It's estimated that 60 percent of minorities do not know how to swim," said Jones. "The Make a Splash non profit is trying to change that by teaching children and adults a life-saving skill."

Over the last five years, IBM employees nationwide have contributed nearly $170 million to their non-profits of choice as part of the ECCC. The ECCC is a voluntary, employee-driven fund-raising event that offers IBM employees the opportunity to contribute to non-profits. Make a Splash, a program of the USA Swimming Foundation, is now one of more than 4,500 non-profits IBM employees can contribute to.

"Helping to make a difference in the lives of people where we work and live is a large part of what it means to be an IBM employee," said Bob Greenberg, IBM senior state executive for North Carolina.

In North Carolina, IBM employees contributed nearly $3 million as part of the ECCC last year. More than 4,900 IBM employees and retirees in the state take part in the company's corporate volunteer program, contributing more than 460,000 volunteer hours to date this year alone.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

1-800-PACK-RAT Helps Families, Businesses Recover from Hurricane Ike

WASHINGTON, D. C. —1-800-PACK-RAT, a service leader in portable storage and moving solutions, is working around the clock to respond to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Ike. 1-800-PACK-RAT has reallocated resources from several of its locations in order to service new and existing customers impacted by the Hurricane. It has also initiated a fundraising campaign to raise money for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

1-800-PACK-RAT was on the ground delivering PACK-RAT containers to customers beginning the Monday after Hurricane Ike hit despite limited resources, power, and phone service at its three Houston area locations. So far, more than 200 PACK-RAT containers have been delivered to assist customers with the recovery of their belongings. In order to accommodate the increased demands associated with the recovery process, 1-800-PACK-RAT has brought in additional personnel, extra PACKRAT containers, and a supply of diesel fuel.

The portable storage and moving company has also rolled out a company-wide initiative to raise money for hurricane victims. Between Sept. 22 and Nov. 30, 2008, 1-800-PACK-RAT will donate $5 to the American Red Cross for every new PACK-RAT container on rent nationwide. As part of this initiative, 1-800-PACK-RAT will also ask customers to get involved in the fundraiser by matching 1-800 PACK-RAT's $5 contributions or by donating any nominal amount to the campaign.

"We are working non-stop to help as many people as possible,” said Brit Hager, president of the 1-800-PACK-RAT Texas franchise. “We understand how important it is to help the people who have felt the devastating effects of Hurricane Ike. Many people on my team not only work, but also live in and around Houston. So, we know what the region has suffered and what it takes to rebuild our homes and businesses."

1-800-PACK-RAT is also responding to customers in Ohio and Illinois who have felt the residual effects of Hurricane Ike. Customers needing a PACK-RAT container delivered to their home or business to help recover, store, or move their belongings after Hurricane Ike, can call 1-800-PACK-RAT (1-800-722-5728) and hit Option 9 to speak to a customer service representative.

1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC, is the fastest-growing portable storage and moving company in the United States with franchises servicing a population of more than 115 million in 62 markets nationwide. 1-800-PACK-RAT backs its service with a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.

Storage and item recovery is a critical component of rebounding after a hurricane. It's nice to see a firm like this lend its support in

Monday, October 06, 2008

NV State Sen. Bob Beers Joins Arthritis Walk

LAS VEGAS — State Sen. Bob Beers (R-Clark 6) has created Team Beers for the Saturday, Oct. 25 Arthritis Walk 2008. The event, scheduled from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Hills Park in Summerlin, will raise awareness and funds to fight arthritis for the Arthritis Foundation.

To join Sen. Beers' walk team or to make a donation to help Team Beers meet its fundraising goal, visit Nevada Arthritis Walk.

Currently, there are more than 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation has raised and funded more than $380 million in research grants since 1948. Its mission is to improve lives though leadership.

“Two of my campaign team members brought the walk to my attention. They have a 2-year-old daughter who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,” said Sen. Beers. “My father also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. So it was the right thing to take a few hours off from campaigning and support something so very important to many Nevadans.”

Nevada is only one of nine states in the nation that does not have a pediatric rheumatologist. Children with arthritis in the Las Vegas area are usually referred to a children’s cancer clinic that has one specialist who flies in from California four days a month to treat young patients.

Sen. Beers said the lack of specialized medical practitioners in Las Vegas is one of the many reasons he led the fight for tort reform in the state of Nevada and continues to fight for doctors and nurses. He is endorsed by the Nevada State Medical Association, Clark County Medical Society, and Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition.

Kudos to Sen. Bob Beers for taking time away from campaigning to help raise awareness and funds for this important cause. Sen. Beers and his team hope to raise $5,000 for the walk, with all of the funds going to the Arthritis Foundation. Please visit the links above to join the team (it's free) or to make a small donation.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Barclays Dedicates New Sports Fields to East Side Charter School Students

WILMINGTON, Del. — To enrich the lives of Wilmington residents and students, Barclays dedicated two new playgrounds, a football field, baseball diamond and three basketball courts to East Side Charter School as part of the Barclays Spaces for Sports initiative.

East Side Charter School is the first location in the United States to benefit from the Barclays Spaces for Sports initiative, a global program first launched in the UK in 2004 that focuses on revitalizing communities.

The new EastSide Sports Center is made possible by a $500,000 grant from Barclays plus additional support from Yaverland Foundation, Edgar A. Thronson Foundation and Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects.

"I am incredibly excited to dedicate these new fields and playgrounds to the students of East Side Charter School, and to the residents of our local, underserved, community. I know that the activities conducted and the sports played on these fields will foster a sense of camaraderie, partnership and community among our students and our surrounding neighborhoods. Those sports activities and that sense of community will be an essential part of the mental, physical and social development of our students," said Charles McDowell, chair of the East Side Charter Board. "Once again, we are very blessed to have this magnanimous support from Barclays, a company that has continuously played a large role in mentoring our students, educating them about fiscal responsibility, and helping them learn and grow in both the classroom and now on the playing fields."

Since its inception, Barclays Spaces for Sports has created more than 200 sustainable sports sites and awarded more than 4,000 coaching packs in the UK. Following its success in the UK the program was expanded globally in April 2008, with sites already open in South Africa and now the United States. The expansion of the program reflects Barclays’ role as a global business leader and as a supportive member of the greater global community.

"Barclays Spaces for Sports has given over half a million people globally the opportunity to benefit from sports and the opportunity to break the cycle of deprivation," said Lloyd M. Wirshba, CEO, Barclaycard US, the credit card business of Barclays PLC in the United States. "We are especially delighted that our own East Side Charter School was chosen as a Spaces for Sports site in the US. Barclays has a proud global tradition of fostering community spirit among its employees, and this spirit is reflected in the work that has gone into these fields and through the countless hours that we have spent nurturing the growth and development of the East Side Charter students."

Barclays has been an active supporter of East Side Charter School since 2003.

East Side Learning Center, the first charter school in the country to be founded within a public housing authority's property, is located in the economically deprived neighborhoods of East Lake and Riverside. According to the 2007 Wilmington Kids Count Fact Book, East Side mirrors the socioeconomic profile of the city: 60 percent of families are headed by single parents; 31 percent of children live below the poverty line; and 90 percent of its children receive free or reduced price lunch. Census data also indicates that this East Lake area has the highest percentage of high school dropouts who are 25 years of age or older compared to the rest of the state, 55 percent and 17 percent respectively. East Side currently enrolls 400 students from 3 year olds through Grade 8, with the addition of more classes of first through eighth grades.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Del., Barclaycard US creates customized co-branded credit card programs for some of the country's most successful travel, entertainment, retail and financial institutions, including US Airways, Best Western, Carnival Cruise Lines, Travelocity, L.L.Bean, Barnes & Noble, BJ's Wholesale Club and UBS. The company employs 1,200 associates and was named a Top Employer in Delaware in 2008. Barclaycard is a division of Barclays PLC, a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries, employs 135,000 people and services accounts for over 27 million customers and clients worldwide.

Barclays does a great job fostering community spirit among its employees, who have played an integral role in helping to support East Side Charter School. They take part in events such as Make a Difference Day and the Barclaycard USA Cycle Chellange, which raised more than $70,000 for the schools computer learning center in 2007.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Houdini Lock & Safe Company Supports Philly Law Enforcement

PHILADELPHIA — Houdini Lock & Safe Company donated 50 crime prevention tool kits to the Philadelphia Police Department at The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Sept. 9.

The tool kits feature graphic tools, handouts, customizable PowerPoint presentations and demonstration props all in one briefcase-sized kit.
They were prepared by the National Crime Prevention Council and the Medeco Lock Company. Medeco locks offer the highest protection from key bumping, picking, drilling, forced entry and unauthorized key duplication. Houdini Lock & Safe Company is the official Medeco security center in the Philadelphia market.

Founded in 1952, Houdini Lock & Safe Company is the premier locksmith company in the Delaware Valley. It has many large, modern state-of-the-art showrooms located in convenient retail locations, allowing businesses and homeowners to choose from a variety of products to fit their security needs.

This donation is a nice way for Houdini to support the community through its expertise in safety and security. These tool kits will enable law enforcement to teach residents best practices for safety.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

DirectBuy of Spokane Helps Habitat for Humanity

SPOKANE, Wash. —This past June, Habitat for Humanity finished its Blitz Build project in Spokane with help from DirectBuy. DirectBuy of Spokane owner Ron Cully involved his staff by offering to pay them half of their regular wages for any time they spent helping build the two duplexes. In addition, he gave them the opportunity to donate their earnings to the charity of their choice. For this event, the staff made a $300 donation to Habitat for Humanity. With the staff’s overall contribution of 150 hours, the interiors of both units and the complete exterior of one unit were finished.

"Anyone can write a check to a charity and feel good about what they have done,” said Cully. “But it takes time and human power to make things happen. Until you have spent time and looked into the eyes of the people you help, you can not fully understand what it means to contribute."

The Spokane showroom regularly donates merchandise to the Habitat for Humanity store and has donated products to the Blitz Build program for the past 2 years. This year’s donation consisted of all the lumber, drywall, fasteners, cabinets, sinks and faucets for one of the two duplexes (totaling just over $20,000 worth of materials).

Habitat for Humanity works to build affordable, decent, and simple homes for low-income families. Habitat helps create a neighborhood families can be proud of and allows them to live a better quality of life.

For 37 years, DirectBuy has been showing thousands of consumers unparalleled ways to save as they shop for virtually everything for in and around their homes – from furniture, carpet and flooring, and custom window treatments, to kitchen and bath cabinets and fixtures, appliances and much, much more. DirectBuy enables members to purchase products from several hundred manufacturers at more than 160 showrooms across North America.

This is a wonderful community project that combines in-kind donations of items need to build the homes with volunteers donating their time to make the homes a reality.

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