Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year to Volunteer! Helping Others in 2010 Among Leading New Year's Resolutions for Americans, Survey Shows

/PRNewswire/ -- Pledges to lose weight or pay off debts typically find a way into conversations this time of year, as the anticipation of New Year's resolutions approaches. However, according to a study from Disney Parks and HandsOn Network, 2010 may see a surge of helping hands and giving hearts, as more families resolve to volunteer.

The survey, conducted by New York-based Kelton Research Nov. 18-23, 2009, found that 59 percent of Americans plan to volunteer in 2010. Interestingly, more women than men (62 percent vs. 54 percent) include volunteering as a goal for next year.

Survey results also showed that 41 percent of Americans would rather pledge to help others, such as volunteering, than resolve to do something that is purely self-serving. In fact, when asked what they anticipate they could accomplish in 2010, 52 percent of Americans surveyed identified spending more time together, followed by 30 percent who selected volunteering as foreseeable goals.

HandsOn Network, the nation's largest volunteer network, is working with Disney to help make 2010 the ideal year to realize those goals and make volunteering a family resolution.

Beginning on Jan 1, 2010, Disney Parks officially launches "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day," a first-of-its-kind initiative with the help of HandsOn Network. Through the program, Disney Parks hopes to inspire 1 million people to perform a day of volunteer service for a participating organization in 2010 by giving them a free, one-day admission ticket to a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. Families are encouraged to visit to research and sign up for a volunteer opportunity in their local community.

"Disney Parks, through HandsOn Network, is making it easy for volunteers of all ages to find an organization in need," said Maggie Jones Patton, executive director of Youth HandsOn Network, the youth activating arm of HON. "There has never been a better time to start a new tradition of volunteering together as Disney Parks celebrates good deeds with a free Disney theme park ticket."

A Family That Volunteers Together ...

The Kelton Research survey also found that more parents than single adults (68 percent vs. 55 percent) plan to volunteer in some way when the New Year arrives.

Volunteerism also has its "youth movement." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that young adults, ages 16-24, are helping lead the way in volunteerism - with more than 441,000 young volunteers in 2008 versus 2007. It also found that the youth today believe it is essential and "very important" to help others in need.

And according to Just Kid Inc., 37 percent of kids, 44 percent of tweens and 46 percent of teens said they would do more volunteering if given the opportunity. When that happens, almost all youth (99 percent) say they were satisfied with their chosen volunteer service.

How to Get Involved

HandsOn Network has 250 on-the-ground volunteer action centers across the country and connects volunteers to more than 70,000 non-profit agencies that need help. With Americans already thinking about various volunteer opportunities as their New Year's resolutions, 28 percent would be most interested in packaging donations at a food pantry or soup kitchen or helping out at a clothing or toy drive, the survey said.

Below are additional examples of opportunities available through HandsOn Network and its local affiliates. Families are encouraged to visit for additional ways to help.

-- Plant, weed and tend a community garden
-- Read to or spend time with children at a local daycare center or
-- Assemble backpacks or supplies for under-resourced schools
-- Help spruce up a local school, library or outdoor park
-- Visit nursing homes to play games, make crafts or share talents with
senior residents

Through volunteering, communities benefit from the small steps taken to help rebuild local areas, and nonprofits receive valuable assistance. Since 2007, the number of people working to fix a community problem has risen by 31 percent - a dramatic increase - further benefiting local communities especially during the current economy, according to Volunteering in America 2009.

Starting Jan. 1, guests may pre-register and sign up for an eligible volunteer opportunity at Disney theme park ticket quantities for this program are limited. Must be at least age 6 to participate. One admission ticket per eligible person. Other terms and conditions apply. For details, see

Survey Methodological Notes

The Disney Parks Survey was conducted of 1,000 persons by Kelton Research between Nov. 18-23, 2009, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population, ages 18 and over. Results are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

It’s almost Christmas...need a last minute gift idea?

Why not give a gift that will touch a heart and help a child in need?

You make a donation to the Children’s Village (at Christian City) or sponsor a child in honor of a friend or family member. It truly is the perfect gift idea. You would be helping others that are less fortunate, and your friends and family won’t get that fruitcake they will never eat!

Donations to the Children’s Village go directly to helping the children who live in the cottages at Christian City. These children have been subject to tragic situations of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. The Children’s Village provides children a safe haven, food, clothes, a solid education, medical/dental care, emotional support, and the daily guidance of loving Christian house parents.
The children at the Children’s Village need your help. By giving a gift in honor of someone, you can make an impact and finish your shopping all in a matter of minutes.

It's Easy! Here's How: Donate or sponsor a child online at or give us a call at 770-703-2636 and we will take your donation over the phone.

Many blessings to you and your family,
Bob Crutchfield

Please visit to make a contribution online or to find more information on our child sponsorship program.

Note: We at the Georgia Front Page and the Fayette Front Page have long supported Christian City, and the Children's Village at Christian City. It is an exemplary organization. It's great to give to local groups, to know exactly where your dollars are going and who they're helping. We invite you to donate, or to call and set up a visit so you can see how your donation can help those in need. - Janet, Editor, Georgia Front Page

Clayton State Angel Tree Volunteers Dig Deep

Just over a week before Christmas; faculty, staff and students from Clayton State University’s College of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences (CIMS) and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) found out that 200 children were going to go unsponsored in this year’s Salvation Army Angel Tree program.

“Everyone dug deep in their pockets to buy an additional 100 toys so that these children would receive something for Christmas,” says Mary Hudachek-Buswell, lecturer of Computer Science and Mathematics in CIMS. “This is our 10-year anniversary of participating with the Angel Tree program. Each year we feel like we can help more, and we were glad to take on more this year.”

And they did, raising more in funds and gifts in 2009 than in any of the previous nine years that these two Clayton State colleges have participated in Angel Tree.

“So even during this recession, Clayton State gave to those in more need than we are,” adds Hudachek-Buswell. “The Salvation Army officers in Jonesboro were close to tears when we showed up with two cars filled to roof with toys yesterday.”

Pictures of Clayton State students sorting the Angel tree gifts can be found on Facebook at;

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big Brothers Big Sisters & African American Fraternities to Develop Bold Plan to Help Black Boys Succeed

/PRNewswire/ -- On December 18, Big Brothers Big Sisters and leaders of the network's Black Fraternity Coalition will meet in Atlanta (Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 165 Courtland, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) to develop a bold strategy and detailed plan aimed at giving African American boys every opportunity to succeed. Leaders of the nation's largest donor-supported volunteer mentoring network and their fraternity partners say they will significantly increase the number of African American Big Brothers, beginning in 2010.

The African American Mentoring summit, sponsored by the Arby's Foundation, is the second step in Big Brothers Big Sisters' announcement of its unprecedented collaboration with Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi fraternities aimed at getting more black men engaged in long-term mentoring. Recognizing that children of color, particularly African American boys, disproportionately represent children waiting to be matched, Big Brothers Big Sisters and its African American Roundtable (internal and external advisors) have made engaging black men a priority.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, proven to help vulnerable youth beat the odds, matches and supports more children and mentors of color in long-term one-to-one mentoring than any organization in the nation. The donor-supported volunteer network has seen a steady increase in both African American Littles and Bigs (see statistics below) since 2000. Still, with boys waiting to be matched disproportionately representing African Americans; the national donor-supported volunteer network continues its intentional focus on attracting more black men.

"Alpha Phi Alpha, our first fraternity partner, as well as Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi know our track record -- that children in our programs are more likely to improve in school, stay out of trouble and have positive relationships with their families," said Karen Mathis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and Chief Executive Officer, who will speak at the summit. "At the end of the day, we will have a specific strategy for joining forces with the fraternities to support the growing numbers of parents, most of them, single mothers, who look to Big Brothers Big Sisters to help their sons succeed."

Even as economic challenges have slowed match growth for many of the mentoring network's agencies, the national non-profit expects by year's end to have a slight increase in African American male mentors for its community-based programs. The organization attributes this year's progress in part to President Barack Obama's Call to Service and local efforts by their fraternity partners, particularly Alpha Phi Alpha, which began supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters 18 years ago with recruiting and fundraising activities. Credit also goes to the organization's Campaign for Men, an Arby's Foundation-supported marketing program and its 2009 Mentoring Brothers efforts, led by syndicated radio personalities the 2 Live Stews with support from Tom Joyner and other African American syndicated radio personalities.

At the Mentoring Roundtable, Georgia Congressman John L. Lewis and Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Jr. will share strategies with the national non-profit and fraternity leaders about how to build national movements. Goode, former Philadelphia mayor and member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, is the father of the national non-profit's successful Amachi Mentoring Children of Prisoners program and serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania. Lewis, a renowned civil rights leader, is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, another fraternity expected to join the national black fraternity mentoring collaboration. Summit leaders will also hear from African American male matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.

Big Brothers Big Sisters receives referrals from longtime partners 100 Black Men, Susan Taylor's National Cares Mentoring Movement, MENTOR, and other mentoring advocacy organizations. In the past decade, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been intentional about servicing America's most vulnerable children, those of single, low-income or incarcerated parents, who are disproportionately children of color.

-- From 2000 to 2008 the percentage of African American Bigs has
increased from 8% of total to 16%--from 9,440 to 40,800. The
percentage of African American Littles has increased from 22% to
36%--from 25,960 to 91,800. This is the largest group of African
American mentors and mentees in the country. (Big Brothers Big Sisters
tracks each match.)
-- From 2000 to 2008 the percentage of Bigs of color (black, white, mixed
race and other) has increased from 18% to 34%--from 21,240 to 86,700.
The percentage of Littles of color has increased from 41% to 67%--from
48,380 to 170,850.
-- From 2000 to 2008 the percentage of African American Littles who are
matched with African-American Bigs has increased from 36% to 44%. The
percentage of Littles of color with Bigs of color has increased from
43% to 49%.
-- With its Amachi program; in the early 2000's Big Brothers Big Sisters
set out to significantly increase service to children of incarcerated
parents. As of 2009, 16% of all youth served by the national
non-profit are children of incarcerated parents -- 88% of these are
African American. Started in Philadelphia, headed by Rev. Dr. Wilson
Goode with 43 African American churches; the program includes
guidelines for its agencies on how to partner with African American
churches to mentor children of incarcerated parents.
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters' African American Task Force and African
American Advisory Council, active since 2003, in 2009 with the
fraternity collaboration has become the African American Mentoring
Action Round Table in 2009.
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters' African American Fraternity partnership
started 18 years ago with Alpha Phi Alpha (their call for 10,000
mentors) and as of 2009 includes Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi;
with two other fraternity partnerships possible in coming months
making Big Brothers Big Sisters the only organization with a
partnership with three African American fraternities
-- Focus groups were conducted in 2007 on how Big Brothers Big Sisters
can been connect to recruit African-American men
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2008 established,
which has attracted more than a million new visitors in 2009, thanks
in large part to the advocacy work of syndicated sports radio
personalities, the 2 Live Stews, Doug and Ryan Stewart, Big Brothers
who used promoted Big Brothers Big Sisters on African American talk
radio programs this year such as the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Rickey
Smiley Show, Warren Ballentine, Rolling Out TV and national programs
with large black male audiences.
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2009 formed a partnership with the African
Methodist Episcopal Church.
-- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America hosts Diversity and Cultural
inclusion training; workshops at its national conferences.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Charitable Mileage Rates

The IRS has lowered the standard mileage rates used to deduct costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, and moving purposes. The standard mileage rate for employees - including nonprofit employees - will decrease effective January 1, 2010, from 55 cents per mile to 50 cents per mile. The rate for driving for medical or moving purposes will decrease from 24 cents per mile to 16.5 cents. The IRS has authority to change those rates to reflect costs incurred. But Congress set the mileage for charitable volunteers in statute and locked in the rate at just 14 cents a mile and has not adjusted the rate in the last 12 years. Because it costs volunteers as much to fill up their gas tanks as it does employees, the National Council continues to advocate that Congress eliminate this unfair treatment of nonprofit volunteers.

(rec'd via email)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Challenges Individual Donors to Join Hosea Feed the Hungry in the Fight Against Hunger and Homelessness

/PRNewswire/ -- The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation (AMBFF) is providing Atlanta-based Hosea Feed the Hungry (HFTH), the Southeast's largest food bank serving families and individuals directly, with a $50,000 challenge grant in 2010. The grant, which will specifically support HFTH's operating budget in 2010 and help fund the salaries of a case manager and human services director, is also meant to inspire individual donors to support HFTH's efforts to end hunger and homelessness.

HFTH, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary of serving the needy in Atlanta and around the world, will immediately receive $25,000 from AMBFF and up to another $25,000 dollar-for-dollar match of individual contributions between now and March 31, 2010.

"We are proud to partner with HFTH, especially during this critical time when so many in our community are struggling to meet their most basic needs," said Foundation President Penelope McPhee. "We hope this challenge grant will encourage other donors to help HFTH reach out to our community's most vulnerable residents."

Because of the economy, corporate and individual contributions are down 35 percent, while monthly calls for help with human services are up a staggering 45 percent. Additionally, HFTH has announced a major capital campaign for 2010 to raise money for a new Care Center where it can better serve the working poor and homeless with critical, year-round human services like rent assistance, help to pay utilities, weekly food boxes, counseling, employment services and help finding temporary housing.

"This is a serious economic time for HFTH as we are constantly evaluating our ability to impact the needy in our community by carefully tracking service requests, coordinating with city and county agencies as well as other area nonprofit organizations to prevent duplication of services, and empowering a governing board with oversight," said HFTH Executive Director Elisabeth Omilami. "This generous gift from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation gives us the critical financial support for program managers who regularly engage in qualitative evaluation so our clients' needs are met through HFTH programs or referral to other agencies."

HFTH's valued community partners will ensure that it continues serving those in need for another 40 years. Everyone can make a difference in helping those in need, no matter how large or small a contribution. Please go to for the various needs and opportunities available to give back to the community.

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Kaiser Permanente Gives $5 Million to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente of Georgia today announced a $5 million multi-year gift to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta with the goal of improving access to care for low-income children.

The gift helps fund the construction and operation of a new, state-of-the-art hospital that replaces the existing Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding facility in downtown Atlanta. In addition, half of the donation will help fund healthcare at the facility for Metro Atlanta children who are uninsured or underinsured.

"As a non-profit health plan, Kaiser Permanente understands and appreciates the important safety net role Children's Healthcare Atlanta, and particularly their Hughes Spalding facility, has in our community, especially for our most vulnerable population. We want to do our part to help it continue to serve as such a vital resource," said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.

The new Children's at Hughes Spalding facility is designed to enhance access and quality of care and reduce the care disparities and inequities that exist for many children in the metro area. Generations of families have received care at the Hughes Spalding location and consider it their medical home.

"With this new facility, all children in metro Atlanta will have access to superb pediatric healthcare, regardless of their family's income," said Dr. Rob Schreiner, executive medical director of Kaiser Permanente. "High quality health care will be provided in a safe, modern and family-friendly environment."

The new building will help to transform the care of the 71,000 inpatient admissions, emergency department visits and outpatient appointments made every year. The facility features brighter colors, child-friendly surfaces, interactive entertainment centers, a consumer library, child life specialists and up-to-date equipment.

"Kaiser Permanente's generosity is a wonderful example of how groups within the health care industry are working collaboratively to solve important issues, as well as serve the most vulnerable population -- our children," said Donna Hyland, President and CEO, Children's. "We are grateful Kaiser Permanente has entrusted these funds to us so that together, we can serve Georgia's children now and in the future."

The multi-year gift includes a $1 million donation from Kaiser Permanente each year through 2013. Overall in 2009, Kaiser Permanente has provided more than $21 million in community benefit funding to improve access to care and coverage for low income populations, support to safety net clinics, scholarships for health professions, an educational theatre program, and grants that promote healthy eating and active living.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Amerigroup Foundation Supports Empty Stocking Fund

/PRNewswire/ -- The Amerigroup Foundation announced today that it is awarding a grant of $10,000 to the Empty Stocking Fund, Inc.

For more than 80 years, the Empty Stocking Fund has brought holiday cheer to underprivileged children in the Atlanta area. Through contributions received from Atlanta citizens, local businesses and foundations, the Empty Stocking Fund provides gifts for tens of thousands of children from birth to 13 years of age in nine Georgia counties -- Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties. During the 2008 holiday season, the Empty Stocking Fund distributed more than 210,000 items to over 52,000 children. The organization was able to coordinate their efforts with the participation of two full-time employees and more than 4,000 volunteers.

"Each year, the Empty Stocking Fund helps many children see their holiday wishes come true," said John E. Littel, Chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "We at Amerigroup support and admire the organization's mission to empower parents and guardians of children living at or below the poverty level by providing them with an opportunity to give their children gifts during the holidays."

"The Empty Stocking Fund sincerely appreciates the generous grant from the Amerigroup Foundation and the volunteer support of the Atlanta office of Amerigroup, which will greatly assist our efforts to provide toys and gifts to over 50,000 underprivileged children during the 2009 Christmas holiday season," said Don Crawford, Executive Director of the Empty Stocking Fund.

The Amerigroup Foundation periodically awards grants to vital community organizations, including community health centers, service organizations, and local programs that have made a significant difference in the communities served by its corporate underwriter, Amerigroup Corporation. Through its subsidiaries, Amerigroup Corporation administers publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for state and federal governments. Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia currently brings health care services to 236,000 Georgia citizens enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Today Management, Inc. Collected Food for the North Fulton County Charities Food Bank

/PRNewswire/ -- Today Management, Inc., an Associa Company, held a two-week Food Drive to collect canned food and dry goods for the North Fulton County Charities Food Bank. The Food Banks of North Fulton have suffered from decreased donations and increased needs. Gracious donations from employees, clients and vendors went to help replenish needed resources for the Food Bank.

After learning of the low levels of donations and food at the local Food Banks, Today Management staff quickly organized a two-week collection period and asked vendors and clients to help with the cause with food donations. On Tuesday, November 24, 2009, the Today Management team loaded up a large SUV with canned goods and dry food and delivered it to the North Fulton County Charities Food Bank.

"Our staff felt a warm sense of giving as we pushed grocery cart after grocery cart up the ramp to fill the food bank shelves," said Kelley Brewster, President of Today Management. "We hope our efforts helped ensure no family went hungry over the Thanksgiving holiday."

Since 1984, Today Management, Inc. has been providing community association management and developer consulting services to the greater Atlanta area. Today Management's sole focus is providing exceptional customer service, management and accounting services. Together with Associa, Today Management is also able to offer a variety of supplementary programs and services specifically designed to meet the unique needs of today's community associations.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Payless ShoeSource Announces Non-Profit Partners in Southeast Region to Join Payless Gives(TM) Shoes 4 Kids Holiday Giving Program for Children

Payless ShoeSource Announces Non-Profit Partners in Southeast Region to Join Payless Gives(TM) Shoes 4 Kids Holiday Giving Program to Give $1.2 Million in Free Shoes to Children of Families in Need

/PRNewswire/ -- Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced today that more than 750 nonprofit partners located across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries have officially joined Payless in its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, a grass-roots effort aimed at giving more than $1.2 million in free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season.

Payless will give more than 77,000 total gift coupons redeemable through Feb. 28, 2010, toward a new pair of kids' shoes at any of its more than 4,500 stores located in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and in Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia.

A total of nearly 150 nonprofit partners chosen from the United States' Southeast region include, among others:

-- Kids to Love Foundation (Huntsville, AL)
-- Our House (Little Rock, AR)
-- Horton's Kids (Washington, DC)
-- Clothes to Kids (Clearwater, FL)
-- YWCA of Tampa Bay (St. Petersburg, FL)
-- Albert T. Mills Enrichment Center (Atlanta, GA)
-- Family Scholar House (Louisville, KY)
-- Great Expectations Foundation (New Orleans, LA)
-- We Care Community Services (Vicksburg, MS)
-- Florence Crittenton Services (Charlotte, NC)
-- Epworth Children's Home (Columbia, SC)
-- Agape Child and Family Services (Memphis, TN)
-- CHIP of Roanoke Valley (Roanoke, VA)

To see all of the selected 2009 Payless Gives non-profit organizations in your region, state or city, please visit

Payless said that all the charity partners should receive their free shoe gift coupons by today along with a personal letter from Matt Rubel, chairman and chief executive officer of Collective Brands, Inc., the parent company of Payless, and LuAnn Via, chief executive officer and president of Payless, with a special request to get the coupons into the hands of the children that need them in time for the holidays. The quantity of gift coupons per agency is based on agency size and the number of constituents served and includes an average of about 100 coupons per charity partner. Many non-profit partners will also provide transportation for group shopping trips to the local Payless stores and already shopping trips have been coordinated for children in Los Angeles, San Juan and Cincinnati by charity partners.

"Kids have already started shopping for their free shoes," said Rubel. "Last year's program was truly amazing and we saw our charity partners coordinate directly with our local store teams to hold special shopping events outside of normal store hours -- many partners and store teams went above and beyond with special touches that included hot coco and other treats for the kids in addition to the free shoes," said Rubel.

"Already this year we've heard similar stories including NFL Hall-of-Famer, Anthony Munoz, and his foundation giving limo service and lunch for a group of second grade children in Cincinnati. Free shoes is an amazing gift to these kids, but to be able to shop with a super star athlete like Anthony makes it all even more special. We are thrilled with the hundreds of charity partners who are joining us this year in our massive holiday giving effort, and we look forward to seeing the smiling faces and hearing the heartfelt, inspiring stories that will result from this year's program."

The company launched the application phase for the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program on Oct. 15 with a call-to-action to the non-profit community to apply to be Payless partners in the shoe-gifting campaign to build a network of hundreds of localized organizations across the Western Hemisphere. This grass root approach is critical for immediate, direct access to kids in need at the holidays. In a 21-day application period, the retailer received nearly 3,000 applicants at its application website and inquiries from nearly 37,000 visitors representing 109 countries across the globe. The application period is now closed.

Payless said its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids non-profit network includes a total of more than 750 agencies: more than 670 charities in the United States, more than 70 in Canada, five in Puerto Rico, and 20 throughout Latin America.

"We were overwhelmed by the response from the non-profit community to join us in this important effort - to give a free pair of shoes to children in need this holiday season," said Payless CEO Via. "Our intent is to work with and through a diverse network of localized non-profits that have direct and immediate access to the children. Our chosen partners - more than 750 in all -- represent every state in the U.S., as well as organizations across Canada and in Puerto Rico and 10 Latin American countries in which we have stores. Together we've created a diverse international network of non-profits located in small towns, mid-sized and large cities, as well as rural areas so that we can blanket these countries and most effectively reach those in need."

Payless initiated the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program last year in response to the economic crisis, its impact on the underprivileged, the significant need across the United States for children's shoes, and to support smaller, localized nonprofits with a tool to assist them in helping those in need during the holidays. The retailer expanded the program internationally across the Western Hemisphere for 2009 because the need for children's shoes continues, the need is international and Payless is in a strong position to help.

A striking number of children don't have shoes that fit. 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.

Greater Horizons of Kansas City, also a nonprofit, served as the independent third-party to manage the bulk of the selection process, based on Payless' core selection criteria, for the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids charity partners. For a complete list of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids partners, please go to

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