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Payton Scholarship And Eddie Payton Bring Sharpie® Retractable "Autographs For Education" Program To Chicagoland

Jun 27, 2005

CHICAGO - Signature moves were Walter Payton's calling card. Now, Walter's brother Eddie Payton and some of football's biggest names are set to score today in honor of "Sweetness" by making their mark on education during the foundation's annual golf tournament at Schaumburg Golf Club. Payton is asking Chicago for their autographs - part of the nationwide Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program.

Well-known as the autograph pen of choice, Chicagoland-based Sharpie is enlisting the support of celebrities and professional athletes to appeal to people in communities across the country for their signatures. Sharpie plans to collect one million autographs this year, resulting in a donation of $1 million in school supplies and funding. Individuals at the tournament will be asked to sign a giant autograph wall before hitting the links, supporting Sharpie's yearlong education effort.

Sharpie Looks For The Best Ball

As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Chicago, Payton also invites the event's celebrity golfers and other participants to put their autograph on education by dressing up their golf ball using Sharpie Retractable markers. Golfers will be asked to put a creative design on their golf ball using Sharpie markers. The competition will be judged by Devin Kenny, 2005 Payton Scholarship recipient and aspiring artist. In exchange for the most creative design, Sharpie is donating $1,000 in supplies and $1,000 in funding to Walter Payton College Prep in the winner's name.

"Walter believed that an education was one of the most critical elements to be the best you can be," said Payton. "I'm proud to back Sharpie's dedication to the education and I'm asking people to get involved so that schools can get the materials and funding they need. It's exciting to be a part of a program that directly impacts the schools across the country."

Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face.

"This year's program is the most comprehensive community effort in the brand's more than 40-year history," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. "Although we have executed this program on a local level since 2003, we've broadened its reach this year in terms of the dollar amount donated and the addition of college scholarships. We're certain we'll reach the million mark for autographs because of partners like the Payton Scholarship and Eddie Payton and the support of communities like Chicago across the country."

The visit to Chicago is the latest stop on a multi-city exhibition tour, which kicked off in Jacksonville, Fla. and then moved on to Las Vegas, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, and most recently Milwaukee. This summer the program will continue to team up with athletes and other inspiring personalities to celebrate its mid-year milestone of collecting autographs toward the 2005 one million autograph goal.

Sharpie Retractable's commitment to Autographs for Education also includes online resources for teachers and fun for students, including free lesson plans and a virtual autograph wall. In the community, Sharpie's Autographs for Education tour will criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles throughout 2005, stopping at festivals and special events, like the Sharpie 500 Race in Bristol,Tenn. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at

Inspired after a Sharpie marker was featured in a high-profile and somewhat controversial professional touchdown celebration in 2002, the Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education program has been bringing motivation, funds and school supplies to students, teachers and schools for two years. Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster Howie Long, Baltimore's Brian Roberts, the PGA TOUR's Chad Campbell, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith, Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, Minnesota's Brad Johnson and Detroit's Jason Hanson, among others.

About Sharpie Retractable

With a retractable writing tip and no caps to lose, Sharpie markers are now easier and more convenient to use. Sharpie Retractable is available in eight colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, and $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide, Sharpie Retractable joins other significant writing innovations that target a wide range of enthusiasts from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourselfer.

About Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie®

Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers long-associated with the autograph experience. Sanford, maker of Sharpie, is a division of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL), a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Foohy®, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products, fine writing instruments and office organization products.

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For more information contact Susan Wassel at 630-481-2018, or email