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NATIONAL REPORT -- Giving back through community service efforts and charity donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News will highlight these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
BP America is supporting nine U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company's support includes including financial commitments to them and to charities of their choice in communities across the country.
BP America first announced its sponsorship of the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams in February 2010, and earlier this year, the company extended its partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee as its official energy partner through 2016. This latest news signals the company's additional commitment to nine athletes who are training in hopes of representing Team USA in archery, cycling, gymnastics, track and field, and swimming.
"These athletes personify courage and dedication. Many have had to overcome tremendous adversity, which we find inspirational as individuals and as a company," said Steve Williams, head of U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Programs, BP America. "As a proud partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee, BP America is honored to help bring this partnership to life by sponsoring these nine athletes as they pursue their Olympic and Paralympic dreams. We are committed to providing these premiere athletes with the opportunities, support and critical funding necessary to help fuel these outstanding athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games."
In the coming year, the company will also support charities related to the athletes' personal causes, as well as local sports clubs to nurture the next generation of Olympians and Paralympians.
The athletes are Brian Clay (track and field, decathlon); Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Paralympic swimming, 100m and 200m); Jonathan Horton (gymnastics); Lolo Jones (track and field, 100m hurdler); Tatyana McFadden (Paralympic cycling, wheelchair); Sanya Richards-Ross (track and field, 400m sprinter); Jerome Singleton (Paralympic track & field, 100m and 200m sprinter); Rebecca Soni (swimming, 100m and 200m breaststroke); and Matt Stutzman (Paralympic archery).
Irving Oil awarded $60,000 to support six local community organizations throughout Atlantic Canada and New England through its Community Fuel Grant Program. Each organization applied and requested for a grant worth up to $15,000.
"We are very pleased and proud to award these six groups with grants to help support education, the environment and communities in need throughout our region," said Harry Hadiaris, general manager of Irving Oil. "We received applications from more than 100 organizations, and we are honored to select these six."
The organizations that received up to a $15,000 grant are: Cowan Heights Elementary in St. John's Newfoundland; Earth Rangers of Woodbridge, Ontario; Everybody Wins! Connecticut Inc. in Hartford, Conn.; Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine; The Mentor Connector based in Rutland, Vt.; and Saint George’s YouthNet based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Organizations were selected based on their areas of key focus, where the community's needs are the greatest, and Irving Oil's presence in each area.
Kum & Go
Kum & Go presented a $2,500 donation to Toys for Tots of South Dakota. The charity received the check on Dec. 19, just in time for the holiday season. Since the United States Marines Corps Toys for Tots program began in 1991, more than 81 million toys valued at almost $500,000 have been given to children in need.
Stripes convenience stores are lending a helping hand to two student community projects. The c-store operator awarded Midland High School senior Meg Woodward and Lee High School senior Josie Paz $1,000 each for their separate projects.
Woodard and a few friends bought clothes for 20 students from Travis Elementary School, while Paz recruited her Students in Philanthropy class to shop for children from the Salvation Army Angel Tree at Target.
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
As part of its fall Fueling Good program, CITGO Petroleum Corp. and local marketer ADA Resources awarded Texas-based Keep Kids Connected with $5,000 in CITGO gift cards to help extend its Ripple of Good, and the impact of its work in supporting children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
"We know the power of social healing and want to be sure that kids who are battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases can stay in contact with their loved ones and take their minds off their illness," said Jerry Mortus, executive director of Keep Kids Connected. "Thanks to the CITGO Fueling Good award, we will free up more resources, which will allow us to provide computers to even more children. We're all extremely grateful to CITGO."
Keep Kids Connected is one of 12 CITGO fall Fueling Good winners chosen from more than 1,500 charities through a nationwide online vote. More than 100,000 votes were cast to determine the latest winners.
CITGO’s Winter 2011 Fueling Good program registration opened Dec. 1 and ends Jan. 11 for all 501(c) (3) non-profit organizations within the CITGO marketing area. Online public voting runs from Jan. 12 to Feb. 9 to determine the next 12 winning charities, which will each receive $5,000 in CITGO gift cards to spread their own Ripples of Good.
MillerCoors is celebrating the holiday season with a series of programs and partnerships to help prevent drunk driving and encourage consumers to plan ahead for safe celebrations. The company will implement its signature Miller Lite Free Rides program in six cities on New Year's Eve, and is partnering with communities, distributors and local organizations to promote additional safe ride programs during the season.
"The holidays are a time to celebrate, and we hope consumers who choose to enjoy our great beers will also make the responsible choice to get home safely," said Kim Marotta, director of corporate social responsibility for MillerCoors. "Whether they choose alternative transportation, designate a driver or stay overnight at a hotel or a friend's home, there is always a better option than driving drunk."
Miller Lite Free Rides, which offers free public transportation during key holidays, will be offered on New Year's Eve in Chicago; Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Madison, Wis.; and the Twin Cities.
In addition to Miller Lite Free Rides, MillerCoors is implementing a number of other programs nationwide to promote the use of designated drivers and planning ahead for alternative transportation:
- As the exclusive sponsor of 1-800-TAXICAB, a national taxi dispatch service, MillerCoors reminds people there is always an alternative to driving drunk. Locating a cab is easy -- no matter where you're located; dial the toll-free number and you will automatically be connected to a local-area taxi company.
- In partnership with the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Colorado Department of Transportation, Coors Light is providing free transit rides on New Year's Eve in the Denver metro area.
- Cab vouchers are being offered at key accounts in nearly 20 markets across the country to help encourage consumers to choose alternative transportation rather than drive under the influence.
- Together with TEAM Coalition, a new designated driver program will commence in Philadelphia during the NHL Winter Classic alumni game on New Year's Eve and the Classic on Jan. 2.
- Click-It-2-Ride, in partnership with CBS Radio and Coors Light, will be activated in Seattle-area restaurants and bars. Participating accounts will display a special QR code at the point-of-sale that once "clicked" with the consumer's smartphone will provide the user with the instant ability to speed dial a taxi and view responsible drinking information.
- The "One Million Strong" effort asks consumers to "Take the Pledge" at www.GreatBeerGreatResponsibility.com to prevent drunk driving and join MillerCoors’ effort to reach one million pledges each year. Legal-aged consumers can also share their plans to celebrate the holidays responsibly and be entered to win one of four gift cards valued at $500.