Friday, October 30, 2009

PETCO Offers Three Ways to Give to Pets in Need This Holiday Season


SAN DIEGO — More than 1,000 PETCO stores nationwide will encourage families to Think Adoption First during National Pet Adoption Weekend Nov. 7 and 8 when they partner with their local animal shelters to hold adoption events. In addition, the National Pet Adoption Weekend kicks-off PETCO's annual Tree of Hope fundraiser for the PETCO Foundation and PETCO's partnership with the IAMS® annual Home 4 the Holidays® pet adoption drive.

"Last year PETCO raised more than $3 million through the Tree of Hope campaign in PETCO stores, and the PETCO Foundation was able to help more than 5,000 animal shelters," said Jim Myers, Chief Executive Officer for PETCO. "Through our National Pet Adoption Weekend and Tree of Hope campaign we hope to boost the number of animal adoptions and monies raised to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of animals."

The Tree of Hope fundraiser allows PETCO customers to purchase snowflake card ornaments for $5, $10 or $20 donations through Dec. 24. Customers may also purchase PETCO Foundation "Peace on Earth, Good Homes for Pets" T-shirts or sweatshirts while supplies last. In addition, IAMS will donate $1 to the PETCO Foundation for every bag of IAMS cat or dog food sold at PETCO stores from Nov. 7 to Dec. 24 in support of the 2009 Home 4 the Holidays goal to find homes for 1.5 million animals by the end of the holiday season.

Every PETCO customer who adopts an animal through one of PETCO's sponsored animal adoption events or its charitable partners are invited to join PETCO's Think Adoption First program. When proof of a pet adoption is brought into a store and a P.A.L.S. loyalty program membership is activated, customers will receive a free brochure that features exclusive savings on food and supplies. In addition, new pet parents will receive a year-long series of educational e-mails regarding the health and well-being of their new pet, as well as special offers of up to 25 percent in savings each month.

Of course it makes sense for PETCO and IAMS to invest in a cause that supports animals, but they are also investing in the communities they serve by giving individuals who participate in the program long term incentives and support. Both these companies recognize the value of investing in local communities and are making a BIG difference for the pets and their owners. An investment that I am sure will be returned ten fold.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Choice Hotels Gathers Volunteers To Improve Homes Of Those In Need


SILVER SPRING, Md. — Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) supported Rebuilding Together's 2009 Make a Difference Day on October 24th. Make a Difference Day is an encompassing national day of helping others — a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. In 2008, three million people cared enough about their communities to volunteer on that day, accomplishing thousands of projects in hundreds of towns.

This year, Choice Hotels franchisees and employees will join Rebuilding Together volunteers across the country to help hundreds of homeowners and their families. This fall, an estimated 700 Choice Hotels volunteers, including both Choice employees as well as Choice owners and operators, will put in nearly 5,000 volunteer hours dedicated to Rebuilding Together projects.

In addition, for every volunteer who joins the Choice Privileges® rewards program before December 31, 2009, Choice Hotels will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together up to $50,000. Each Rebuilding Together volunteer who joins Choice Privileges before December 31, 2009 can receive up to 1,000 Choice Privileges bonus points. Volunteers who sign up for Choice Privileges through this promotion receive 500 points and an additional 500 points for completing an eligible stay prior to December 31, 2009.

With little reprieve from the housing crisis, initiatives like this are proving necessary lifelines to individual communities. Choice Hotels is not only taking strides to better communities across the nation, but they are also uniting them. With more and more people in need, their volunteers will help make a big dent in this year's projects, not to mention the generous funds donated to encourage other volunteers to sign-up.

By facilitating volunteer opportunities, companies large and small can greatly improve their local communities. So, what are we waiting for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

STOP MRSA Now Coalition Launches the Bleacher Brigade to Reduce the Spread of MRSA


WASHINGTON D.C. — This fall, as children across the country head back to school and hit the sports’ fields, there may be one unexpected opponent on their schedule – MRSA. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a potentially life-threatening antibiotic resistant Staph infection that is becoming increasingly common in places like locker rooms, gyms and schools and it affects more than 90,000 Americans every year.

The STOP MRSA Now Coalition has joined with the North American Booster Club Association (NABCA), NBA-star Grant Hill, and The Clorox Company to launch the national "Bleacher Brigade" challenge to activate individuals and communities across the country to help prevent the spread of MRSA in community settings and at home

“When I was diagnosed with an MRSA infection, it was hard to get information about the illness or even how to help prevent the spread of it,” said Grant Hill, STOP MRSA Now member. “This infection is becoming an issue in community settings across the country and that is why, as an athlete and a father, I am joining STOP MRSA Now to offer a playbook on prevention so that everyone can get in the game to help reduce the spread of MRSA.”

Participation in the Bleacher Brigade challenge is easy and rewarding!
• Visit stopmrsanow.org
• Download the free STOP MRSA Now Playbook and distribute copies among your community
• Post the STOP MRSA Now prevention tips, links to the Web site and playbook, and videos found on stopmrsanow.org to personal Web sites, blogs, community and organization Web sites and other online channels
• Request and distribute prevention posters for display in community settings
• Use the form on the STOP MRSA Now Web site to submit all the ways you are helping to prevent the spread of MRSA at home and in your community and include photos and links to where you have posted information
• Three submissions will be eligible for a Bleacher Brigade prize pack including an autograph from Grant Hill and $500 gift card.

“People can carry MRSA without any symptoms and can transmit MRSA to others, especially in community settings," said Everly Macario, STOP MRSA Now member, whose healthy 1 1/2 year-old son, Simon Sparrow, died suddenly in 2004 from MRSA. "That is why we owe it to our children, families, and communities to learn more about MRSA and how to reduce the spread of it."

STOP MRSA Now is a coalition of community members who have experienced first-hand the threat of MRSA and MRSA experts who are committed to working together to reduce the spread of MRSA in community settings and to educate community members on MRSA prevention.

The Clorox Company is committed to helping prevent the spread of MRSA. As part of this commitment, Clorox is honored to support the STOP MRSA Now coalition to educate community members about the importance of understanding more about MRSA and how they can help prevent the spread of MRSA in their community.

The Stop MRSA Now Coalition is fortunate to have such suitable advocates, like Grant Hill and The Clorox Company. Speaking from his own experience, Grant Hill makes a powerful champion for the cause. Additionally, The Clorox Company brings a tangible action into the mix with their product being, in a sense, the anecdote to MRSA. Through The Clorox Company's generous inkind donations, volunteers are able to reduce the risk of MRSA.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wear Your Cap To School And Support Kids Being Treated For Cancer


NEW ORLEANS — The non-profit organization Caps for Kids, along with national sponsors New Era Cap Co. and Hatworld/Lids, are proud to announce that the 6th Annual "Wear Your Cap to School Day" event will take place on October 23rd in schools across the United States. This fundraising initiative encourages students to donate $1.00 for the chance to wear their favorite cap in the classroom. All monies raised support Caps for Kids' mission of providing celebrity signed headwear and scarves to children being treated for cancer.

"Having cancer at any age is a traumatic experience but having it as a child is even more anguishing," says John DeWaal, Caps for Kids President. "Wear Your Cap To School Day is a great opportunity to illustrate to students that their small donation can have a big impact to kids in their community."

Interest in the program continues to spread across the US with schools in more than 38 states participating and over $340,000 raised to date to benefit Caps for Kids. In 2008 alone, more than $90,000 was generated, marking a record of growth for the organization.

Caps for Kids is an international nonprofit organization with programs in over 90 hospitals throughout the United States. Caps for Kids is dedicated to providing celebrity signed headwear to children, adolescents, and young adults who have lost their hair as a result of treatment for cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

"Wear Your Cap to School Day" is a great way to instill a sense of philanthropy in students. Even as an adult, it is empowering to get involved and make a difference, the same is true for our children. Not to mention it allows students to do something fun and out of the ordinary -- like wear a hat to school -- which seems to be a great way to engage hat sponsors in this worthy cause.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Payless ShoeSource Distributes Shoes to Children in Need this Holiday Season


TOPEKA, Kan. — Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced the expansion of Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids to include other countries in the Western Hemisphere. The program is aimed at delivering more than $1.2 million worth of free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season.

Through a network of charity partners, Payless will distribute more than 77,000 gift coupons redeemable through Feb. 28, 2010, toward a new pair of kids' shoes at any of its stores located in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia.

"In America the economy appears to be on the mend, but times are still difficult on Main Street and the economic challenges are rippling across the globe," said Matthew E. Rubel, Chairman and CEO of Collective Brands, Inc. (the parent company for Payless ShoeSource). "Footwear is a basic need that many of us take for granted, and yet a significant number of children need shoes. In a difficult economy, the underprivileged are hurt more than any other group and the charities that assist them are often underfunded. That's why we are expanding our Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program to Canada, Puerto Rico, and our Latin American countries and calling on charity partners again this year to help us establish an extending network to get the gift of shoes to children that need it the most this holiday season."

Partnering with local charities offers a grass roots approach — an important element of the program. It allows Payless to effectively reach children that need shoes; it also ensures widespread and diverse coverage in urban and rural areas, as well as assist non-profits during the economic downturn as many charities, especially the small to medium sized organizations, are experiencing reduced giving among contributors.

Non-profit organizations based in the United States and Canada interested in Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids can apply online by completing a short application. Core selection criteria includes a mission to serve children and families in the local area, direct access to underprivileged children in local communities to distribute the coupons by Dec. 24, and close proximity to Payless stores. Additional requirements call for non-profit organizations in the U.S. to have Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c)(3) status; Canadian charities must be registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency. The application process for non-profit partners of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program ends Oct. 30.

All selected partners will be notified and the shoe gift coupons will be distributed in various quantities based on the number of constituents served. Payless will select as many well-suited nonprofits as possible to partner in the program.

Studies show that properly fitting shoes can enhance self confidence in children and aid in their proper development and growth. As well, with rising unemployment and food costs, it is difficult for parents to cover basic needs, thus making the holidays an even more stressful time for struggling families.

"A great pair of shoes can lift spirits, bolster self esteem and, as we witnessed first-hand when we launched the program last year, bring a huge smile to a child's face," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. "We are thrilled to expand this important holiday giving campaign to the majority of our chains and to reach deeper into the communities in which we operate to give this holiday gift to children. We hope to take one concern off parents' plates for tens of thousands of families this holiday season."

Last year, Payless launched Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids by partnering with localized non-profit partners throughout America to join in the giving campaign. More than 630 non-profit partners in 50 states and the District of Columbia joined Payless to deliver $1 million worth of free shoes to children of families in need across America. Please visit Payless Gives facebook for updates and photos on this year's program.

Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids provides the company with an opportunity to invest in the communities it serves. Nonprofits will certainly be struggling this year as the funding is scarce and the need continues to increase. Encourage local nonprofits to get involved in the program, so that more children will have shoes this holiday season. I know a great pair of shoes certainly lifts my spirits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whole Foods Thanks Customers for Supporting The Lunch Box Project


AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market, a leading natural and organic grocer, extends thanks to customers at its 273 U.S. locations for donating $660,065 to help transform school lunches across the country. Over the past eight weeks, customers surpassed the Company's goal of $400,000 to fund the development of "The Lunch Box Project," an online resource created by "Renegade Lunch Lady" Chef Ann Cooper's nonprofit, F3: Food Family Farming Foundation, which helps public schools provide more nutritious lunches for kids. This total combined with a $50,000 donation from the company means F3 will receive $710,065.

"Our customers have shown us that providing healthy lunches for our children is an issue of great importance to them," said Whole Foods Market Co-President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Robb. "We are so pleased to celebrate National School Lunch Week this year by recognizing and thanking our shoppers for their contribution. Inspired by our customers, we are deepening our own commitment by asking each Whole Foods Market location to partner with a school to work on making real progress in cafeterias in our communities' schools."

These store-school partnerships are already developing. For example, as a result of attending one of Whole Foods Market's community discussions, Dr. Melissa Kim, principal of Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C., has struck up a multi-faceted relationship with Whole Foods Market in Tenley. Together the store and the school will approach the school's third-party food service provider with the aim of coordinating menu transitions and culinary training. Additionally, the Tenley store is partnering with the school's International Cooking Club, which meets once a week, to explore cuisine from around the world.

"We are so grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support by Whole Foods Market customers and employees for the creation of 'The Lunch Box Project,'" said Nicole de Beaufort, executive director for The F3 Foundation. "The momentum created by this campaign has generated not only the means to build a successful set of resources; it also has built awareness about the connection between what we feed our children and their health and well-being."

"The Lunch Box Project" toolkit, found online, is now providing more than 80 recipes -- all nutritionally analyzed and easily scaled for portion size or number of servings. The next phase of the project will add food safety and culinary how-to videos, photos and manuals to help school lunch providers make serving nutritious, affordable lunches to students a reality.

In the spirit of National School Lunch Week, parent groups, schools and districts are encouraged to share anecdotes about how their cafeterias are improving lunches. From hosting local farmers markets and providing fresh produce to limiting fast food options in school kitchens, share your story at The Lunch Box website.

To increase national awareness of the "School Lunch Revolution," Whole Foods Market partnered with Chef Ann Cooper who traveled across the country to hold community discussions, serve on expert panels and deliver parent lectures. The three-week, six-city tour concluded last week also included school facility tours and a healthy cooking competition for children, an event that rallied customers around the cause.

This week the company also announced that Albert Einstein Academies Middle School is the winner of the School Lunch Revolution online video contest. Einstein Middle School is a charter school in the San Diego Unified School District. Einstein's entry was selected from the one-minute videos produced by parents passionate about improving lunches in their schools. The winner will receive a visit and coaching session from Chef Ann Cooper.

National School Lunch Week was established in 1963 by presidential proclamation. The week is designed to help raise awareness of, and support for, the role that the National School Lunch Program and nutrition education play in the lives of children.

Whole Foods partnered with customers in order to do good, what a novel idea. Costumers exceeded the $400,000 goal, and even inspired Whole Foods to partner with local schools throughout the school year. Whole Foods costumers rallied behind Whole Foods in support of the cause. Is your business leading the community in philanthropic endeavors? If not, give it a try, you may be surprised.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BLOGGERSUNITE.ORG Partners with March of Dimes in the Fight for Preemies

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — BloggersUnite.org, a social awareness initiative supported by 200,000 BlogCatalog.com members, is partnering with March of Dimes, the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, to expand a global social awareness campaign about the need to prevent premature birth and give all babies a healthy start.

The campaign, Bloggers Unite: Fight For Preemies, asks bloggers from all over the world to post on the same day – Prematurity Awareness Day – on behalf of the more than 13 million babies who are born too soon each year worldwide. Collectively, these posts will reach millions of people during November, Prematurity Awareness Month.

Nov. 17 will mark the 7th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day®, a time when March of Dimes volunteers and parents draw attention to the crisis of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation) and its toll on babies and families.

“March of Dimes is the champion for babies, and we are fighting to give all babies a healthy start in life. Bloggers and parents can visit marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies to learn how they can help,” said Beverly Robertson, national director of the Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center at March of Dimes. “We are thrilled to partner with BloggersUnite.org and BlogCatalog members to make Prematurity Awareness Day a featured social media event and to harness the power of the Internet to fight for preemies.”

Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face serious health challenges, such as cerebral palsy, lung problems, and vision and hearing loss. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon (34-36 weeks gestation, also known as late-preterm birth) have higher rates of death and disability than full-term babies.

In addition to promoting the campaign with the help of millions of volunteers, supporters, and celebrities, March of Dimes will be working with BlogCatalog to provide source material for bloggers. Several topics include: the escalating rate of prematurity (36 percent in the last two decades); the increasing need for research in the field of prematurity to help reduce risks and long-term complications; and help more women learn how they can reduce the risk of premature birth.

“Since its inception in 2007, BloggersUnite has truly evolved into a member-driven social awareness campaign that is conceived, promoted, and supported by tens of thousands of bloggers,” says Antony Berkman, president of BlogCatalog and co-founder of Bloggers Unite. “We are thrilled about their support of March of Dimes and the cause of premature birth, especially because one of our co-founders experienced the hardship of having a premature baby firsthand.”

Berkman added that bloggers will be highlighting premature birth from many different angles. Some may discuss the importance of early and regular prenatal care, while other may focus on the financial and emotional burden placed on families. He expects some bloggers may even share personal stories that have yet to be covered by mainstream media.

Bloggers are encouraged but not required to register their blogs at BloggersUnite.org and visit the event page for BloggersUnite: Fight For Preemies. This page offers a growing assortment of badges, videos and support material for bloggers, future parents and pregnant women.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit the March of Dimes website.

Since 2007, BloggersUnite has evolved from a BlogCatalog member initiative into a member-driven online community where bloggers can unite and coordinate activities for dozens of causes. Every year, the founders of BloggersUnite.org, together with BlogCatalog members, dedicate additional time and resources to three underserved causes.

An amazing opportunity for bloggers to create awareness and support for a very worthy cause. They are asking so little -- just one post dedicated to March of Dimes -- we will be joining in, we hope you will too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stonyfield Farm Donates $100,000 to Help the Earth

Londonderry, NH — Through their Profits for the Planet (PFP) program, Stonyfield Farm will give a total of $100,000 to three organizations that help the earth. Each organization will receive $20,000 plus a percentage of $40,000. And the best part is, they are asking costumers to choose.

With limited-edition yogurt lids printed to raise awareness for the program, Stonyfield Farm is encouraging consumers to support their favored organization through voting online. Consumers can vote once with a simple click or vote multiple times through their "myStonyfield Reward" program where each reward code printed on the yogurt packaging can be used to cast a vote and earn point(s) to redeem for eco-friendly gifts. Online voting can be accessed on Stonyfield Farm's website

Here are the choices:

Center for Biological Diversity - At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. We work to secure a future for all species hovering on the brink of extinction, and for the lands, waters and climate they need to survive.

Energy Action Coalition - Founded in June 2004 by youth climate leaders, the Energy Action Coalition unites a diversity of organizations in an alliance that supports and strengthens the student and youth clean and just energy movement in North America.

The Organic Center - is an independent nonprofit research and education organization based in Boulder, CO, that conducts primary, peer-reviewed research on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming as well as the risks associated with the widespread commercial use of toxic synthetic pesticides, genetically modified crops (GMOs), and biotechnology in agriculture.

Customers love it when you give them choices. They especially love it when you give them choices when it comes to cash. Stonyfield Farm's bid with your lid program benefits everyone involved -- the non-profits that receive funds and the costumers who are given a voice in support of a cause. This is a great way for Stonyfield Farms to engage their costumer while also doing good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doing Good with Wood

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — Minwax, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, announces the last call for entries for the 2009 Community Craftsman Award. Eligible participants include individuals, community groups, schools, associations and woodworking clubs or guilds that promote and participate in the betterment of their communities through woodworking.

The grand prize is a $5,000 cash grant, a supply of Minwax products, and a consultation with author and wood finishing expert Bruce Johnson. Two runner-up organizations will receive a supply of Minwax products, and a special recognition award and cash grant of $2,000 will be presented to one individual award winner. The deadline for all submissions is December 31, 2009.

The Community Craftsman Award Program recognizes the growing number of people and organizations that are volunteering and working together to improve their community. According to Volunteering in America, neighborhood engagement levels have risen sharply since 2007, with a 31 percent increase in the number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem. As the economy slows and nonprofit organizations struggle to provide services on smaller budgets, volunteers become even more vital to the health of our nation's communities.

"Since the inception of the Community Craftsman Award Program, we've seen scores of wonderful projects submitted by volunteers who enjoy woodworking and wood finishing," said Janet Krakow, vice president, marketing, Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products. "We encourage all those who have used their woodworking skills to improve their community - giving freely of their time and enthusiasm - to submit their project for consideration."

The winners will be announced in early spring 2010. All eligible applicants are encouraged to enter by writing a summary of recent woodworking projects. Entries can be submitted by either (1) uploading on the Minwax Web site at minwax.com, (2) via e-mail by writing to minwaxcca@brushfireinc.com, or (3) via mail by writing to MINWAX Community Craftsman Award, c/o Brushfire Inc., 2 Wing Drive, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927.

Using the Community Craftsman Award Program to encourage volunteerism shows great initiative on Minwax's part. It is a unique effort in the sense that it focuses on everyday people coming together in support of projects they believe in, through a hobby they enjoy, while also fostering camaraderie and support within local communities. All in all, a great idea.

Friday, October 09, 2009

One Meal at a Time: Kraft Foods Fights Hunger

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Five volunteer projects. One day. More than 100 Kraft Foods' employee volunteers. What does that add up to? Thousands of people in the Bay Area benefiting from Kraft Foods' first-ever global "Make a Delicious Difference Week."

With more than 10,000 employees in 33 countries participating around the world, this special week of service (Oct. 5-10) will benefit roughly 500,000 people in need. The effort will mobilize six times the number of volunteers than in previous efforts and build on the company's commitment to fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles. In the Bay Area, Kraft Foods is partnering with Alameda Co. Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Loaves & Fishes, Shepherd's Gate Shelter and Turn On to America.

Kraft Foods Regional Vice President John LeGuluche will join about 50 volunteers today in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a family in need.

"We may be best known for making delicious foods like our Oreo cookies, but 'delicious' means much more than that," said LeGuluche. "The volunteer spirit of our employees combined with the expertise of these organizations is a winning recipe to help those in need. Knowing our efforts here in the Bay Area are an important ingredient in our first global week of service makes this experience even more powerful."

As unemployment has risen in the Bay Area from 6.8 percent to 11.5 percent in the past eight months, Kraft Foods' commitment to the communities is stronger than ever.

Local projects include:
• Packing boxes of food that will be distributed to those in need in the Bay Area by Turn on to America
• Working at the food pantry at the Alameda County Food Bank in Oakland
• Serving food to the homeless at the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank in Antioch
• Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for the Bao/Lei family in Oakland
• Renovating the Shepherd's Gate Shelter for battered women in Livermore

To supplement its employees' efforts, the Kraft Foods Foundation will match U.S. employee cash contributions to nonprofits on a two-to-one basis throughout the week.

Starting Oct. 13, people can visit the Kraft Foods website to learn how to spread the volunteer spirit through a special online video. Each time this video is viewed, Kraft Foods will donate money to Feeding America to help provide five meals to those at risk of hunger -- up to 100,000 meals through the end of October.

As the second largest food company in the world, Kraft Foods is taking a stand when it comes to fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles. Since 1997, the company has provided more than 1 billion servings of fresh food. Around the world, the company contributes approximately $100 million annually in food and money to community organizations. The company committed $180 million in the next three years to community involvement activities around the globe. The expansion of its global employee volunteer efforts though the first global "Make a Delicious Difference Week" is another example of Kraft Foods' stepped up efforts.

It is amazing what one company pooling their efforts can accomplish. In this instance, over half a million people will be fed. Kraft Foods has completely immersed themselves in the fight against hunger through volunteerism, in-kind donations, and matching funds. This multi-level campaign includes individuals on the local level in addition to addressing hunger issues worldwide. Kraft Foods, we are impressed.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Design Within Reach Partners with Arzu Studio Hope

SAN FRANCISCO — Design Within Reach (DWR) is partnering with Arzu Studio Hope (Arzu) to offer DWR's extensive customer base a limited-edition collection of 28 one-of-a-kind handmade rugs, available this October and November for purchase at one of five trunk shows at select DWR locations across the United States or through DWR's website.

Arzu Studio Hope is a nonprofit social enterprise organization that supports women in Afghanistan by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave. Of Arzu's total expended resources, 93% directly supports Arzu's mission. In an effort to break the cycle of poverty, sales from the rugs will directly contribute to Afghan communities, providing weavers and their families vital access to education, health care and community infrastructure improvements.

Each Arzu rug is one-of-a-kind, made from handspun wool that's gathered from locally bred sheep and dyed using all natural, vegetable-based materials. Notable for their tight weave and dense pile, the rugs are woven by hand on looms in the homes of the artisans - enabling weavers to continue caring for their children while generating income for their family. The 28 Arzu rugs that DWR has selected range from tonal solids to vibrant patterns and include designs by Thomas Shoos and Ben Holiday.

DWR will launch the Arzu partnership at five trunk show events, starting in New York City on October 14, and followed by Chicago on October 22, Los Angeles on October 29, Houston on November 5 and Washington, D.C. on November 12. Customers in each city will have five unique Arzu rugs to choose from. Three additional rugs will be available for purchase online.

"DWR's partnership with Arzu Studio Hope will bring much deserved attention to their brave and noble work in Afghanistan." remarks Ray Brunner, CEO of DWR. "Together, we are leveraging modernism to create social equity for Afghan women and their families. The 'added value' in these rugs is the potential for a better future that they represent. There is no greater value than hope."

During this 'new' economy, many businesses are cutting back and non-profits are feeling the pressure to maintain funding. Amidst the negative news reports, there are still companies who are changing things up in order to support non-profit endeavors. DWR is one of them. Choosing innovation over defeat, they added a product line in support of their cause, thus maximizing support, while minimizing expense.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Simmons Law Firm Presents Second 'Miles for Meso' Walk/Run Fundraiser for Mesothelioma Research

EAST ALTON, Ill. — The Simmons firm, a leading national law firm in the fight against mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, will present the second Miles for Meso 5K run/walk on Sunday, October 11, in University City, at 9 a.m.

The Simmons firm sponsored the first annual Miles for Meso event September 26 in Alton, Ill. Nearly 500 runners and walkers registered, and through matching donations by the Simmons firm raised approximately $30,000.

"We're excited that so many people, with so many options to run or walk in events for other causes, supported Miles for Meso," said Chairman and CEO John Simmons. "We really were pleased by the support of our Metro East neighbors. Now, with the help of our friend Julie Gundlach, we hope to achieve the same results in St. Louis. Our simple goals are to make people aware of mesothelioma and generate funds for critical research."

Gundlach, who has been living with mesothelioma cancer since 2006 and participated in the Alton event, is helping lead the St. Louis event. Ghisallo Running is helping to coordinate the event. She also plans to run in the 5K for runners and walkers that will begin at Centennial Commons.

"Unfortunately, mesothelioma is now everyone's problem," she said. "It's my hope that, through events like this, people come to start to understand that this is a preventable disease, and that we need the help of everyone to educate and raise money for research."

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The Simmons firm's sponsorship includes matching and donating 100 percent of all entry fees to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to funding critical research for better treatment options and, ultimately, to find a cure for mesothelioma.

The "Miles for Meso" event is open to participants of all ages. Prizes will be awarded to the top runners: the top three finishers in the men's and women's categories, including gift certificates to the Ghisallo's Running Store, credit towards a membership to Centennial Commons, and more. All participants will be eligible for five $100 drawings and other giveaways. The registration fee is $15 on or before October 1, $20 after October 1, and $25 for registration onsite the day of the race.

"The need for mesothelioma education, awareness, and research has never been more urgent," Simmons said. "Our firm is committed to funding research and building awareness about the disease so that we can assist in providing the needed critical help for families throughout Illinois, Missouri, and the entire country."

The Simmons firm is a leading national law firm in the fight against mesothelioma. With offices in Illinois, Missouri and California, the firm has represented thousands of patients and families affected by mesothelioma from all across the country. The Simmons firm is passionate about improving the lives of victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses and has pledged over $15 million to cancer research. The firm also has practice areas in intellectual property, pharmaceutical litigation, and business litigation

It's heartening to see The Simmons Firm lend a helping hand to the clients they serve. Their continued support and investment in education, awareness, and research for mesothelioma, shows their dedication and commitment to their clients and the cause.

Friday, October 02, 2009

New York City & Los Angeles Light Up for Afterschool Programs

WASHINGTON — On October 22, the top of the Empire State Building will be bathed in yellow light as part of Lights On Afterschool, the only national rally for afterschool programs. This is the third year that the Empire State Building will be lit up for the event, which is organized by the Afterschool Alliance. But this year, for the first time, city officials in Los Angeles will light the historic Lindbergh Beacon atop City Hall that evening, so that national landmarks on both coasts will be lit up in celebration of afterschool.

Each year, Lights On Afterschool brings together students, parents, educators, afterschool program directors, and community and business leaders from across the country to show their support for afterschool programs. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the rally, which will include 7,500 events throughout the nation and at United States military bases around the world. In all, a million people are expected to participate to urge leaders to support the afterschool programs that keep children safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Rarely lit up for events, the Lindbergh Beacon will be turned on to commemorate Lights On Afterschool thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles' Woodcraft Rangers afterschool program and City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who requested the lighting. The City of Los Angeles will also issue a resolution regarding the Beacon.

"The lighting of these well-known landmarks - one on each coast - is a wonderful way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lights On Afterschool," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "We are deeply grateful to the Empire State Building for being the first landmark to light up in recognition of this nationwide rally, and for inspiring the City of Los Angeles to light the Lindbergh Beacon for afterschool this year. It is our hope that these efforts will help to highlight the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open for our children each afternoon, so they will all have the opportunity to learn and grow in safe, supervised and educational environments after the school day ends."

At Lights On Afterschool rallies throughout the country on and around October 22nd, Americans will urge leaders to increase support for the afterschool programs that children and families need. The events give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. Actress Rhea Perlman is a spokesperson for Lights On Afterschool and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is Founding Chair, a position he has held since 2001.

In advance of Lights On Afterschool this year, the Afterschool Alliance will release the second America After 3 PM: A Household Survey on Afterschool in America, the most in-depth study ever to explore how America's children spend their afternoons. Sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, a charitable organization committed to inspiring children to be smart, strong and socially responsible, the original study was released in 2004. It found that 14.3 million kindergarten through 12th graders took care of themselves after the school day ended. At the time, just 6.5 million children were in afterschool programs - but the parents of another 15.3 million children said their children would participate if an afterschool program were available.

The 2009 study, designed to measure progress over the last five years, is also sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund and includes updated information on afterschool participation nationally and in all 50 states. The Afterschool Alliance and JCPenney Afterschool Fund will release it on October 6 at an event at the U.S. Department of Education. State data will be featured a few weeks later at Lights On Afterschool events around the country.

As part of this year's Lights On Afterschool celebration, Bright House Networks will air a new documentary on the benefits of afterschool, featuring the personal stories of youth and families across the country.

Lights On Afterschool serves as an excellent reminder of a noteworthy cause. Going about our daily routine, it is easy to forget all the happenings in the world, but with the Empire State Building and Lindbergh Beacon bathed in light, it might be just enough for people to take a moment to think about afterschool programs and what they afford our communities. And if that's not enough, Bright House Networks generous airing of a documentary supporting afterschool programs should do the trick.

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