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Sharpie® out to collect one million autographs; promises $1 MILLION in funds and school supplies nationwide

Jan 30, 2006

Football Legend Steve Young Kicks Off 2006 Sharpie "Autographs for Education"  Touches Down in Detroit with Signature Moves Clinic and $30,000 for Detroit Schools.

Oak Brook IL - From the Lambeau Leap to the Ickey Shuffle, a signature move can transform a regular touchdown into a legendary performance.

As football's biggest game gets underway in Detroit, grid iron legend Steve Young, along with New England Patriot's linebacker Willie McGinest and Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks are teaming up with Sharpie® permanent markers to put their signature moves - and their autographs - to good use and help raise $1 million for education. 

Sharpie kicks off the second annual "Autographs for Education" program Monday, January 30, in Detroit (11 a.m., Detroit Youth Foundation's YouthVille Detroit, 7375 Woodward Ave). The year-long nationwide drive aims to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in Sharpie school funds and supplies. 

In Detroit, local elementary school students will participate in a "signature moves" clinic while Young will be the first signature of the 2006 autograph collection. The participating schools will receive this year's first Sharpie Autographs for Education donation. 

Professional football team mascots will also be on hand to pump up the crowd.  Roary (Detroit), Staley Da Bear (Chicago), Pat Patriot (New England), and T.D. (Miami) will lead more than 200 students in cheering on their classmates as they compete to win "best signature move."

Sharpie Signature Moves Clinic

While Young facilitates, McGinest and Brooks will coach teams comprised of professional football teams' mascots and eight "star" students from Spain Elementary, Golightly Educational Center, George Crocket Academy, and the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences. The participants will showcase their skills in the obstacle course that culminates with a demonstration of a newly created signature celebration move. The crowd, via the Shout-O-Meter, will cast the deciding vote as to best signature move. All 200 bleacher-bound students will then be unleashed to sign the virtual autograph wall.

"When students have the right tools and resources they feel empowered to learn," Young said.   "My two sons are just starting school, and I know how important it is to have the right supplies.  Many schools and parents struggle to provide the essentials their children need at school, so I'm asking for everyone's help. I'd love to get a great head start today toward scoring another million Autographs for Education this year."

Autographs in Action

The Autographs for Education program aims to benefit 150 schools across the country, awarding each with $5,000 in school supplies in 2006 via Sharpie's autograph collection contest.  Additionally, ten students 13 years of age and older will be awarded $10,000 scholarships.  Details are available at

Throughout 2006, Sharpie's Autographs for Education tour will cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles visiting schools, local festivals and special events. 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

"Through our combined efforts, we can give back to teachers, parents and students who consistently show loyal support for Sharpie," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie.  "The Autographs for Education program is an incredible opportunity for us to reach out to millions of students and schools across the nation.  Each signature we collect represents one more child whose educational experience we may improve." 

Sharpie's commitment to education also includes online resources for teachers and students, including opportunities to win school supplies, scholarships details, lesson plans and Sharpie's virtual autograph wall.

Autographs Make Their Mark

Fishweir Elementary participated in last year's Sharpie Autographs for Education kick-off in Jacksonville.

"This program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my students," said Fishweir Elementary School principal Andrea Akers. "Students and teachers were thrilled with Sharpie's generous donation. The funds and supplies went a long way with our teachers and our classrooms, not to mention equipment the school wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford."

The autograph campaign swept the nation, aiding entire school districts as well as individual students.            

"Receiving a scholarship from Sharpie came at a perfect time for me," said Judith Middlebrooks, an Environmental Engineering major at Mercer University and recipient of Sharpie's 2005 Autographs for Education scholarship sweepstakes. "The scholarship enabled me to pay for my last year of school so I could graduate on time. This was such a wonderful gift, and I can't thank Sharpie enough for providing this opportunity."

Sharpie's Autographs for Education program launched in 2003 after a Sharpie marker was featured in a high-profile and somewhat controversial touchdown celebration in 2002.  Since then, the program has been bringing motivation, funds and school supplies to students, teachers and parents nationwide. 

Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included professional athletes and celebrities, NFL Hall of Famers Howie Long and Dan Dierdorf, Baltimore's Brian Roberts, PGA TOUR standout Chad Campbell, Grammy-winning country star Jo Dee Messina, 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, Chicago's Ron Rivera, and Minnesota's Brad Johnson, among others.

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®, 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 or for more information.

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