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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 highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
CITGO and the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas launched the second installment of the "Kindling Young Minds" program, aimed at boosting attendance at six Houston high schools.
In May, representatives from CITGO and the Sheriff's Office visited schools in the Alief, Houston and Spring Branch Independent School Districts to honor 30 students who demonstrated improved attendance through the spring semester. The students received Kindle Fire tablets as recognition of their achievement.
CST Brands Inc.
During the month of June, CST Brands' Corner Store employees encouraged customers to "Put Their Money Where the Miracles Are" during the chain’s 20th annual Miracle Balloon campaign to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Balloon icons were available in all Corner Store locations for a $1 or $5 donation, and all-new yellow bracelets were available for $1. Corner Store is the first Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partner to offer the bracelets, which customers can wear to stand in solidarity with sick and injured kids who wear them while being treated at their member hospital.
Each donation also came with a coupon for savings on items in the stores, providing customers an extra incentive to make the $1 or $5 donation. Corner Store is hoping to break its 2013 Miracle Balloon campaign fundraising total of $2.3 million.
Enmark Stations Inc.
During the month of May, Enmark Stations raised $76,097 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Light the Night Walk by selling paper balloon icons in all 59 of its retail stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The company also held “Full-Service Fridays” at two of its most popular Savannah, Ga., stations to raise funds for the organization.
Enmark exceeded its goal of raising $75,000 to help cure blood cancer and assist patients and their families. This marked a $10,000 increase over the $65,000 it raised in 2013.
In a separate charitable effort, Enmark raised $2,000 for Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia, a Savannah nonprofit, by matching the proceeds collected from Paula Kreissler’s “Five Strategies for Busy Families to Stay Healthy” lecture -- the second of five lectures in the Enmark Encourage Health Education Series 2014. The nonprofit also raised an additional $432 during an "Enmark Dollar Day" held at one of the retailer's stores.
Enmark is partnering with Healthy Savannah, the Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine and WJCL to present the series of five wellness lectures benefiting local nonprofit organizations focused on wellness. The Encourage Health Educational Series happens on the last Tuesday of the months of February, April, June, August and October.
The University of North Dakota and the University of Washington were recently financially enriched by the Hess Corp.
The University of North Dakota (UND) received a $5-million gift from Hess to go toward the UND College of Engineering & Mines. Hess' gift, along with a $2.5-million match from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund, will provide $7.5 million in funding for the new Collaborative Energy Complex in the College of Engineering & Mines.
The Collaborative Energy Complex aims to stimulate innovation, problem-solving and futuristic ideas, and create hands-on experience, outreach, enriched lab experiences and industry partnerships between the university and the energy profession. Hess' gift is intended to advance the university's Petroleum Engineering program, in particular.
Hess also contributed $5 million to support oil and gas research at the University of Wyoming (UW). In total, Hess has contributed $10 million to the university, making it the largest corporate partner in UW’s history.
Thanks to Hess and other corporate donations, UW has met its goal of raising $15 million in contributions to build an energy research laboratory in Laramie, Wyo. The 60,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in 2016.
Western Refining Inc.
Western Refining’s 2014 “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” mobile campaign raised $379,053 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to help save and improve the lives of children and adults affected by muscle disease throughout the Southwest.
From April 29 through June 2, Western Refining and its 230 retail stores in Arizona, southwest Colorado, New Mexico and southwest Texas sold $1 and $5 pin-up mobiles, which were bought and signed by customers and prominently displayed in each store.
Now in its third year, the “Make a Muscle” mobile campaign has raised nearly $1 million.