In today’s digital age, if we have an idea, we probably aren’t grabbing a sheet of paper and a pencil to jot down our thoughts. We are probably snapping a screenshot of what’s on our phone or saving it to our Pinterest board. A pencil may seem obsolete in our adult lives, but we forget just how much it was used in school when we were learning to write, doing math equations, or drawing our first sketch.
Unfortunately, some families are unable to send their children to school with the necessary supplies. Teachers know that these materials, while simple, are vital to children’s learning and advancement. Between various poverty levels of students and inadequate school funding, teachers end up spending their own money to make sure that none of their students go without. On average, teachers in high poverty school levels spend $672 out-of-pocket annually.
About 20 years ago, AAkron was looking for ways to make product donations that would make a difference in the community. As a manufacturer of pencils, among other products like rulers and drinkware items, we found ourselves perfectly aligned to help an organization called NAEIR. NAEIR started with the dream to empower generosity among American corporations by donating product to help those in need.
NAEIR is the oldest in-kind giving organization in America, collecting merchandise donations from generous American corporations and providing them to qualified schools and non-profit organizations. After reading about NAEIR’s Teacher’s Program, it was clear that our product donations could make an impact and AAkron could be part of making their dream come true.
NAEIR’s Teacher’s Program helps teachers stretch out-of-pocket expenses on classroom supplies by offering materials, in most cases, at less than a third of what the products would cost even at the lowest prices available at deep discount stores. All donated items are available on NAEIR’s website for participants to purchase at nominal processing and handling charges with free shipping. Without having to stress over a huge out-of-pocket expense, teachers are able to provide their students with everything they need to learn, and even purchase extra incentive items to reward their students with.
In the late 1990s, AAkron started making product donations to NAEIR and has continued to do so year after year. In the more recent years, we started to ask ourselves how we could do more to increase our donations. We found an answer and launched our current GIVE BACK, One for One program.
“When we started making donations, it was just AAkron driving the contributions. We created our GIVE BACK, One for One program so that every distributor and end user could actively participate and influence the lives of the American youth, and in turn we could make a greater impact together,” says Devin Piscitelli, CEO of AAkron.
Our GIVE BACK, One for One program consists of select products that change from year to year including pencils, rulers, bags, pens, and drinkware items. When one of the select products is purchased, we donate an equal amount of product from that category to NAEIR. On our website, our GIVE BACK, One for One logo is prominently displayed on select product pages so distributors and end users know that the purchase of that item is making a difference. In total, AAkron has donated more than 7 million dollars of product to NAEIR and we look forward to watching that number climb.
So next time you see a pencil, take a second to think about how priceless it really is. That child who loved math in school, he’s now an engineer building robots. That child who loved drawing, she’s now an architect designing homes. How about that child who grew up less fortunate, but remembered his teachers who made sure he had everything all the other children did. He’s now a teacher himself.
“We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” - Ronald Reagan
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