(Cleveland, Ohio) - Sharpie®, the popular brand of permanent markers deemed the autograph pen of choice for celebrities, sports figures and their fans, is teaming up with Cleveland Browns rising wide receiver star Andre Davis to launch a nationwide program supporting community-based education organizations.
Kicking off today at the Mount Pleasant Boys & Girls Club in Cleveland, Davis will ask for the "autographs" of teachers, parents, children and the media in exchange for a donation of school supplies and funds to help continue the much-needed programs for the area's youth. The event marks the start of the second year of the Sharpie program that continues to help education efforts throughout the country.
"I enjoy meeting the fans and signing autographs," said Davis, who scored 12 touchdowns for the Browns in his first two years, emerging as the team's No. 1 go-to receiver. "Years ago, I remember what it was like when I was the one seeking the autograph. Today, the autographs Sharpie Retractable and I are asking for mean a whole lot more - they are making a positive impact on community education. My teachers and coaches were my mentors and working with Sharpie to give back to the Cleveland community is important to me."
Labeled Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education," the program elicits the support of professional athletes and celebrities arriving in custom-designed Sharpie Retractable all-terrain vehicles to deliver schools supplies and collect the signatures on over-sized 8-by-10 foot autograph walls. Sharpie is pledging up to $30,000 in cash and school supplies during the summer and fall.
Cleveland is the first of four events across the country benefiting select community education programs and schools. Additional events are planned in Milwaukee, Tampa and Seattle.
"We're proud to team up with Andre and others leading professional athletes and celebrities for this program," said Rory Leyden, chief marketing officer for Sanford, makers of Sharpie markers. "By getting these role models on board, we can help the worthwhile efforts of organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and local schools."
The kick-off Autographs for Education event also comes on the eve of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, the largest sports memorabilia event in the country, where Sharpie will introduce autograph enthusiasts, professional athletes and celebrities to new Sharpie Retractable markers. The innovative fine point permanent marker series require no caps and can be operated by simply using one hand - just click and write.
In addition to supporting community-based education, Sharpie Retractable is also featuring four Sharpie all-terrain vehicles as part of its Sharpie Blitz opening up the professional football season. The Sharpie fleet of all-terrain vehicles will visit more than 150 events in 2004.
Last summer, Sharpie debuted the program with wide receiver Terrell Owens, former San Francisco 49er and now Philadelphia Eagle. The tours of community programs and schools also featured former St. Louis Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom and now Seattle Seahawk, Rod Smith of the Denver Broncos and Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
About Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie®
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers. Sanford, maker of Sharpie permanent markers, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, including such well known brands as Sharpie®, Paper Mate®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Foohy® and uni-ball®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products and fine writing instruments. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
In 2004, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland celebrates its 50th year of playing an integral role in the city, providing daily programs and services to 6,000 area young people. During the summer the Clubs are open from Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with programs that emphasize character and leadership development, education and career enhancement, health and life skills, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation. A membership to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland for youth, ages six to 18, is seven dollars per year.