Everywhere we do business, we are proud of our contributions to local economies: selling products and services that help business owners, households, educators, students and others thrive and succeed; employing local workers in dependable jobs; and purchasing products and services from local businesses. But we believe our role in these communities requires more of us than "business as usual."
Staples customers are also our fellow citizens, our neighbors and our friends. We reach out and contribute to community life in our local neighborhoods and beyond, both through large-scale initiatives and smaller, less formal programs. Our focus is on educational and youth-oriented community efforts, from literacy and mentoring to environmental education and career skills development. We support these and other causes through in-kind and cash donations, and we encourage our associates and customers to contribute their time and resources as well.
Globally, our Community & Giving team is overseen by the Director of Global Community & Giving. In addition, in each country where Staples operates, a Community Champion coordinates activities with business units. The Community & Giving team works closely with the country Champions to implement global initiatives, track partnerships and share best practices.
The team is part of the larger Global Communications department, which is overseen by our Vice President of Global Communications, along with our Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing, and Staples' President and Chief Operating Officer. The Community & Giving team works directly with the Staples Foundation Board of Directors to ensure the Foundation fulfills its mission.
In 2012, Staples Foundation changed its giving approach by launching the 2 Million & Change program. This unique program allows associates to direct $2 million of Foundation funding to non-profit organizations focused on education and job-skills. The program brings associates into the giving process and encourages community involvement.
Staples strives to bring education and opportunity to communities where our customers and associates live and work. We contribute through large-scale initiatives as well as local, grassroots programs that promote goodwill and build strong community ties globally. Among other achievements, we:
Impact on Communities
We believe Staples can achieve maximum community impact by partnering with organizations that “know the territory” — groups already active at the community level and focused on issues and causes consistent with corporate priorities — whether large or small. Every year, we provide grants to hundreds of organizations.
We continued our partnership with BGCA in support of the organization's Torch Clubs — chartered, small-group leadership and service clubs for youth aged 11 to 13. In 2011, Staples support enabled the program to charter 248 new Torch Clubs and reach 7,540 new members.
Through the program, 276 Torch Clubs developed and led projects in their communities, and participated in national service events, including those for Martin Luther King Day and Global Youth Service Day. Following the Spring 2011 tornadoes, Torch Club members in the impacted communities of Joplin, MO, Springfield, MA and Tuscaloosa, AL, received 4,500 Staples for Students backpacks.
In 2011, Staples also created a holiday cause marketing program with Staples® brand paper, providing a $150,000 donation and highlighting the Staples–BGCA partnership. We engaged BGCA to include Staples® brand paper in their holiday campaign, Give the Gift of a Great Future, which promoted Staples as a holiday shopping destination where customers can purchase gifts to support Clubs nationwide. We also launched the first-ever Massachusetts focused cause marketing program with branded Boys & Girls Clubs of Massachusetts flash drives sold in all stores statewide, resulting in a nearly $20,000 donation to Massachusetts Boys & Girls Clubs.
We continued our partnership with this non-profit research and strategy organization, dedicated to developing inner city economies, with a grant in support of ICIC's Inner City 100 list and other inner city wealth-generation programs. We also presented the Staples Foundation-ICIC Hall of Fame Awards to two new Inner City 100 businesses who have appeared on the Inner City 100 list for five years or more. In addition, Staples presented the Staples Foundation Minority Business of the Year Award to the top minority-owned company on the Inner City 100 at an event bringing together thousands of business, civic and community leaders.
In 2011, Staples demonstrated our commitment to small business by surprising Inner City 100 companies in Manchester, NH and Cedar Rapids, IA with $1,500 in supplies. We also developed a small business resource guide focused on helping entrepreneurs identify and obtain capital funding. In addition, we encouraged our customer base to apply to the Inner City 100 list, with five customers securing spots on the list and a 3-day Executive Education conference at Harvard Business School.
We partner with many other organizations, both locally and globally, to best meet their needs, whether through one-day efforts or ongoing programs, or during crisis situations. Some of these outreach efforts include:
In 2011, the U.S. was struck with several natural disasters, and Staples was there to help. When severe storms, tornados and flooding occurred in May, we donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross, supplied on-the-ground operation centers with copy paper and coordinated our Staples Advantage® associates’ efforts to donate delivery services and products. We also coordinated donation efforts in support of those affected by wildfires in Texas and Arizona, floods in Pennsylvania and the devastation by Hurricane Irene in Vermont and New Jersey. In addition, Staples donated more than $5,000 worth of products to 435 displaced students and teachers in Detroit, Michigan, when their school burned down.
Associates around Australia, New Zealand and North America helped to raise thousands of dollars for those affected by the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Staples matched dollar for every dollar raised by our associates, giving a total of $91,785 to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.
Staples Australia and New Zealand support a large number of organizations at the local, regional, national and international level. Some of the organizations supported in the past year include:
Our associates are passionate about getting personally involved in our community efforts. Hands-on work connects them to their communities and to Staples.
In honor of Staples’ 25th anniversary celebration, we launched a worldwide volunteer effort called Community Matters. The program provided tools and resources to help engage associates in their local communities through volunteering. We provided tips and ideas to make it easier for associates to volunteer in every country and business unit, as well as distributed checklists and recruiting posters for associates to use in assembling volunteer teams. In addition, we held a Community Matters Volunteer Fair, and communicated about the program through a global internal advertising campaign, informational kits and presentations.
In 2011, 3,000 associates from 26 countries volunteered more than 36,000 hours in their local communities. In addition to connecting associates with volunteering opportunities, Staples also awarded 250 associates the opportunity to donate $250 to the organizations they work with.
We continued to educate and inform associates about our community and giving activities, including launching Staples’s first internal Web site where associates can learn more about our global community programs and how to lead community projects within their teams.
The following programs and initiatives illustrate the breadth of our efforts to formalize and extend our associate engagement:
Associates at our Framingham, MA home office dedicated their time and resources in several ways in 2011. They:
We continued the Choose a Charity program for international associates, launched in 2010, allowing associates to direct funds to organizations they support. In 2011, the program expanded to include our operations in Finland, and select countries expanded the program to allow customers to vote as well. More than 20 percent of Staples International associates took part in the program by voting for 24 educational non-profit organizations they care about to receive Staples Foundation funding.
Staples established formal associate volunteer partnerships in Germany with Kinder-Biennale, in the UK with the Whitehorse Youth Centre, in India with Muktangan, in China with Junior Achievement, in Brazil with Associacao Desportiva para Deficientes, in Australia with the Beacon Foundation and in New Zealand with Foundation for Youth Development.
In addition, we held community events in locations around the world. Community volunteering is an important vehicle for Staples International. It often takes the form of a local Community Day, where associates volunteer a full day to promote active engagement in the community.
Staples Advantage associates in the U.S. also dedicated time in their local communities:
Staples Advantage Canada selected Junior Achievement (JA) as our corporate charity partner in 2009. Junior Achievement is an international non-profit organization that brings together business leaders, educators, parents and community to help prepare youth for their future. The organization offers many business and diversity-related education programs for students aged 10 to 19. Junior Achievement strongly aligns with the Staples community focus on youth and education, as it works toward inspiring Canadian youth to achieve their dreams. Michael Zahra, President of Staples Advantage Canada, has accepted a seat on the Junior Achievement Board of Governors in Ontario. Staples Advantage Canada was awarded the “2010 Outstanding Leadership in the Community Award” for our work with Junior Achievement by the Canadian Office Products Association.
Fitness Fundraisers are sporting events (for example, a 10K run) in which Staples teams engage in the community and support a local charity. Internationally, Staples teams have been formed in Australia, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden and Germany, with further expansion anticipated in 2012.
Our Fitness Fundraiser continues to be a great success, raising money for charity while encouraging associate health and wellbeing. The Netherlands event involved over 20 runners raising money for the Dutch Heart Foundation. France had 26 participants raising money for a Cystic Fibrosis charity, while the team in Germany participated in four fitness fundraisers. In Australia, associates participated in events including the Run 4 The Kids, Cerebral Palsy Challenge, Mother’s Day Classic and the City to Gong Ride.
In the U.S., associates teamed up to participate in various fundraising efforts, including the Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics and the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge, which benefits charities across the country.
How We Give
In addition to Staples Foundation grants, Staples provides charitable donations to 501(c)3 non-profit organizations engaged in educational and youth-focused projects and events. If your organization fits within our focus area, stop by your local Staples store and speak with the general manager about how they can support your community organization. All requests are evaluated by your local Staples store and decisions are made at the discretion of store management.
Staples stores are able to support non-profit organizations making a positive difference in the local community through We Care gift cards. These gift cards enable non-profit organizations to obtain supplies from Staples needed to make a community event or program a success. In 2011, our U.S. stores donated more than $320,000 in the form of We Care gift cards to thousands of educational and youth-focused non-profit organizations across the country.
Staples stores are able to donate eligible products to help an organization's administrative needs. Your local Staples general manager can answer any questions about product availability and your organization's eligibility.
Staples supports youth and education programs through a variety of cause marketing programs that enable our customers to show their support and make a difference.
We’ve found cause marketing to be a great way to bring together customers, associates and partners in community-building endeavors. In 2011, we conducted the fourth annual Staples for Students (formerly Do Something 101) School Supply Drive in partnership with DoSomething.org. This program empowers teens nationwide to host collection drives and donate much-needed school supplies to youth around the country. Staples retail customers are also invited to participate by donating new supplies or giving $1 at checkout. Staples also partnered with the cast of the TV show “Pretty Little Liars” to raise program awareness, and held an event at the Teen Choice Awards with teen celebrities and teen volunteers to fill backpacks with supplies for Boys & Girls Club youth in the Los Angeles area. This year’s campaign put more than $800,000 worth of school supplies into the hands of youth who needed them.