OAK BROOK, Ill. - As autograph seekers gather in Chicago this week for the 26th annual National Sports Collectors Convention, Sharpie is asking for their autographs. The well-known autograph pen of choice is enlisting the support of celebrities, professional athletes and their fans to raise one million signatures, resulting in a donation of $1 million in supplies and funds to schools nationwide.
Individuals at the event, held in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. July 27 - 31, will be asked to sign a giant autograph wall supporting Sharpie's "Autographs for Education" program. 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 with the help of athletes, celebrities and fans like those at The National Sports Collectors Convention 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. The Sharpie Autographs for Education program heads to Canton, Ohio next month working with Dan Dierdorf to kick off the 2005 Pro Football Hall of Fame celebration. 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 is criss-crossing 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. August 27. 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 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. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.