MILWAUKEE - Having already made his mark as one of professional football's most prolific pass catchers, Green Bay Packers all-pro wide receiver Donald Driver is set to score today by making his mark on education at Brown Deer High School in Milwaukee. Driver is hosting a youth football camp at the school and asking the residents of Milwaukee for their autographs - part of the nationwide Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program.
Well-known as the autograph pen of choice, Sharpie is enlisting the support of celebrities and professional athletes like Driver 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.
As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Milwaukee, Driver invites the students, teachers, parents and members of the community to put their autograph on education. In exchange for the autographs, Sharpie is sponsoring 20 youth football players from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to attend Driver's summer camp, and will donate $1,000 in school supplies and $1,000 in funding to the Clubs. Driver helped kick off the yearlong program with Howie Long in Jacksonville during football's biggest game in February.
"Education is a lifelong commitment," said Driver. "I'm proud to back Sharpie's dedication to education and I'm asking people to get involved so that organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee can get the materials and funding they need. It's exciting to be a part of a program that directly impacts education, whether it's in my adopted hometowns of Milwaukee and Green Bay or in my hometown of Houston."
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 Donald and the support of communities like Milwaukee across the country."
Driver's visit to Milwaukee 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 and Houston. 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 goal of one million signatures.
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 www.sharpie.com.
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 Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie®
Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers long-associated with the autograph experience. With a retractable writing tip and no caps to lose, Sharpie markers are now easier and more convenient to use. 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. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is the oldest and largest youth-serving agency in Milwaukee. It offers after-school and evening programming for children ages 6-18, focusing on those who have major life obstacles, most often poverty. Membership to the Clubs is only $5 per year, per child, but no one is ever turned away based on ability to pay. For more information, visit the Club's Web site at www.boysgirlsclubs.org.