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Sharpie® "Autographs for Education" Program Marks One Million Signatures, $1 Million In Supplies And Funds For Nation's Schools

Posted on December 29, 2005

Oak Brook, Ill. -- More than one million people from across the United States answered the call for autographs - for education. Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers, today announced it has reached the goal of one million signatures from teachers, parents and students in communities nationwide, resulting in $1 million in supplies and funds to schools across the country. Well-known as the autograph pen of choice, Sharpie enlisted the support of celebrities and professional athletes throughout 2005 to appeal to people in communities across the country for their signatures. With stops in Jacksonville, Fla, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Canton, Ohio, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Miami, and hundreds of cities in between, professional athletes and celebraties invited students, teachers, parents and members of the community to put their autograph on education. While the AFE program started in 2002, Sharpie elevated its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. The goal - one million autographs. The program marks the largest education effort in the Sharpie brand's more than 40-year history. "We're pleased with the overwhelming response that emphasizes that the nation's classrooms need supplies and education matters," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. "On behalf of Sharpie, we would like to thank everyone who participated by putting their autograph on education. We are committed to this program and are planning an XL launch and campaign in 2006." Sharpie's ongoing commitment to Autographs for Education 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 continues to criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles, stopping at festivals and special events, like the Sharpie 500 NASCAR 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 2006 signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide in January and at www.sharpie.com. The 2006 "Autographs for Education" program will kickoff February 2006 in Detroit, just before the biggest professional football game of the year. 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 three years. Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included Grammy Award Winner and Country Music Star Jodee Messina, 2004 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, Chicago's Ron Rivera, 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 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.