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Bears Coach Ron Rivera Brings The Sharpie® "Autographs For Education" Program To Chicago

Sep 30, 2005

CHICAGO, September 30, 2005 - Bears' Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera scores for hometown education efforts today, as he asks students, teachers, coaches and parents from Francis Parkman School for their autographs as part of the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program. In exchange for the signatures, Oak Brook-based Sharpie will donate $10,000 in school supplies and funding to the elementary school. Francis Parkman earned this special event and donation because of its perfect attendance record on the first day of school earlier this month.

"It's wonderful to be a part of improving the educational experience of students here and across the country," said Rivera. "I'm proud to team with Sharpie and empower students, teachers and parents to help their schools receive needed funding and supplies. Francis Parkman School has proven to be a model school in this community, and I am thrilled to celebrate this event with them."

Rivera joins an enviable list of high-profile personalities who have hosted autograph sessions and school assemblies this year to make their mark on education, including pro football Hall of Famers Howie Long and Dan Dierdorf, as well as entertainment personalities like country music star Jo Dee Messina. With help from Rivera and others, Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, to $1 million in school supplies and funding, 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 now at 800,000 autographs and counting, and with the help of partners like Ron, our message will be heard in Chicago and across the country."

Francis Parkman School proudly adds its autographs to the Sharpie efforts to collect one million signatures. Demetra Kirksey, principal of Francis Parkman School, offers appreciation to both Rivera and Sharpie for the continued support of education with its donation.

"We are very excited to welcome Ron and this program to our school," said Kirksey. "The students are eager for the opportunity to meet and learn from him, and we can't wait to put the supplies and funding to good use. We are thrilled to be a part of Sharpie's program and to be able to improve our children's learning environment."

Sharpie's "Autographs for Education" tour kicked off earlier this year in Jacksonville, Fla., and then moved on to Las Vegas, Baltimore, Bristol, Tenn.; Canton, Ohio; Dallas, Detroit, Boston and now Sharpie's hometown of Chicago. The tour will wrap up in Miami later this fall. Throughout the remainder of the year, a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles will continue to stop at local festivals and special events across the country. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete sweepstakes rules and entry methods 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 Famers Howie Long and Dan Dierdorf, Baltimore's Brian Roberts, PGA TOUR standout Chad Campbell, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith, Detroit's Jason Hanson, Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, and Minnesota's Brad Johnson, 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 twelve colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, turquoise, aqua, navy, plum and purple. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, 8- and 12-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, $19.56 and $29.33, 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®

For more than 40 years, 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®, FoohyTM, 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 or for more information.

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