Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Safeway’s Annual 10% Back to School Program Raises $3.4 million



PLEASANTON, Calif. - Safeway and partnering manufacturers donated $3.4 million to schools across the nation through an annual 10 percent back-to-school program. For the past five years, Safeway’s "10% Back to School program," held August through September, helps schools earn money from purchases of more than 2,500 selected products during the back to school season.

Customers participate in the program. During the payment process, customers swipe their Safeway club cards and automatically accumulate donations or “school dollars” for the school of their choice. This year's program came at the right time, given government cutbacks. Thousands of schools and education programs need funding to sustain vital programs, purchase equipment, and recognize excellence.

“This will allow us to purchase laptops for the mobile computer lab,” said Tonya Hodsdon, office manager of Chapman Hill Elementary School in Salem, Ore. “We’re making due with less. Luckily we had some really motivated parents who wanted to help our school and they really supported this program.”

Facing the reality of the economy with nearly closing its doors, a children’s museum and educational activity center called The KidZone Museum, in Truckee, Calif. also earned $25,515 to remain open.

“This is a big donation for us,” said Romina Branje, manager of The KidZone Museum. “With the economic situation now, we’ve had to make some cutbacks. So we told everyone about the program. We are so happy for this support.”

The program demonstrates a commitment to communities where Safeway operates. It sends a message to promote and aid education, which helps empower people to support their own communities. Educators, parents, and students all benefit, which leads to a richer community.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teenagers Allocate $1 Million Via Best Buy’s @15 Exchange Program to Non-Profits


MINNEAPOLIS — Created by Best Buy, @15 Exchange answered its commitment to shine a light on the voices of American teenagers by empowering them as important community participants. These community participants recently helped chose a charity to receive funding from Best Buy.

Over the course of a year, participating teens will help donate $1 million. Teens do this by competing in activities, earning points, and then using those points to help fund specific charities.

“The overwhelming response to the @15 Exchange demonstrates that teens are motivated by opportunities that allow their voices to be heard,” said Brian J. Dunn, chief executive officer of Best Buy. “Best Buy is thrilled with the efforts of the nonprofit partners to bring the @15 mission to life and empower teens to use these diverse and powerful voices for social good.”

Teenagers choose from four different non-profits that are posted on the @15 Exchange Web site and then allocate the points they’ve earned during a four month period. Points are earned by creating a profile, referring a friend, taking surveys, posting comments in forums, and by playing games and quizzes.

“Best Buy’s @15 Exchange offered Do Something a great opportunity to motivate all of our awesome Do Something members, especially our Youth Advisory Council, to take the lead and get involved,” said Aria Finger, chief marketing officer at Do Something.

Do Something received the most points during the last non-profit voting. Do Something provides tools and resources for people to convert ideas and energy into positive action.

For example, Maggie Doyne dreamed of opening an orphanage in Nepal. Do Something awarded her $100,000 to help open the Kopila Valley Children's Home, which provides food and shelter for children who would otherwise live on the streets.

“One of Do Something's core beliefs is that teens can lead right now, so putting teens in the driver’s seat and giving them the power to decide how the funding was allocated, was a great way to show that young people can be key influencers and promoters of social good,” Finger said.

@15 Exchange’s success of maintaining teenagers interest and participation is with a variety of motivational endeavors. These ventures include: community impact challenges; political participation; personal growth; short film contests; and participating journalist camps around the country.

Recognizing the important role our youth holds, @15 Exchange creates an environment that enables them to utilize the necessary tools to accomplish their goals. @15 Exchange is investing in the future by helping teens communicate, practice social advocacy, and share their experiences while doing social good.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Shoes For Haiti Now Donates New and Used Shoes


SAN ANTONIO, Texas - After the earthquake in Haiti, the devastation was broadcast and is still is being broadcast to the rest of the world. But one interesting element not covered often enough is how such broadcasts have impacted individuals like Gylon Jackson. He was inspired.

Relying on his skills as a Web site designer, Jackson launched ShoesForHaitiNow.com. His mission was to collect, deliver, and distribute 100,000 pairs of new or gently used shoes to the children, women and men of Haiti.

Three days after launching the site, Shoes For Haiti Now added a Facebook account and a Twitter account. The program has also partnered with BlogCatalog.com, which is the largest social network for bloggers on the Web, and BloggersUnite.com, which was the first program to ever develop a social outreach campaign driven by bloggers.

“Quite simply, I believe that one person, with the help of a crowd, can make a real difference in peoples lives,” said Jackson. “I also figured not everyone in America can donate money to a cause, but they can donate gently worn shoes.”

Companies and individuals across the nation are donating funds, but the Jackson's concept to send shoes stands out because it is simple, sustainable, and provides an long-term tangible good. Moreover, the distribution and allocation of the shoes are guaranteed to directly aid Haitians.

With no budget for traditional marketing, advertising, or public relations, Jackson also saw social media are a natural means to reach a specific end. One advantage, he says, is that the production (with the exception of the time invested) was free. Second, he added, his effort had the ability to reach both local and international audiences.

“I have been contacted by people in New York, Mississippi, San Antonio, Saint Louis, California, Houston ... I think you get the idea,” said Jackson. “With traditional media like radio and television, I could not reach or affect a crowd. Today, I am affecting and influencing people across America for a good cause.”

With growing awareness and community support, Shoes For Haiti Now has a strong start to accomplishing its goal. The deadline, set by Jackson, is Feb. 28, 2010. Donations can be sent to Shoes For Haiti Now, 7126 Eckhert Road, Suite 208 and 209, San Antonio, TX 78238.

“The best thing that has come out of Shoes for Haiti Now is that I have been able to bring awareness to such a large group of people,” said Jackson. “I may NEVER know how many people I have touched, only that I have touched them deeply.”

A simple idea like Gylon Jackson’s Shoes For Haiti Now, illustrates that a single person has the potential to positively impact their community from a local to an international level. Coming together during a time of crisis, such as Haiti, with gifts of shoes, money, love and support demonstrates the power to make a difference.

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