CHALLENGING TIMES DIDN’T STOP THESE BRANDS FROM GIVING BACK
By Ashley Mancheni, Franchising Gives Back
Local franchise businesses continued to volunteer, host events and give to charity during the pandemic.
Communities are the backbone of the franchising business model, whether they are franchise owners, employees, customers or neighbors. While some franchises are large and spread across the country, there are many others that are small and regional. But, they all have two things in common: they’re locally, independently owned and are deeply involved in their communities. As part of their commitment to giving back, franchises partake in many volunteer activities, from organized, multi-year projects, to short-term efforts in response to an urgent need.
Many businesses, such as Primrose Schools, match their experience and know-how with their efforts, also called skills-based volunteerism. This brings the expertise of the company to address a community need. In the case of Primrose Schools, they partner with various charities annually. One of their longest running programs is with Save the Children, called “Get Ready. Get Safe.” This program teaches children and their families about safety and emergency preparedness. They also hold a First Responder Thank You Celebration where children write thank you cards and serve lunch to local first responders as a way of thanking them for all they do within their community.
And then, in times of urgent need, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they stepped up again. This time, by matching $100,000 in donations to the #SaveTheStories project. With schools closing across the country, Primrose Schools Children’s Foundation saw the need to keep children educated and entertained during an exceptionally difficult time. Celebrities and educators would read children’s books on social media, while raising awareness and funds to assist with nutrition and other educational programs for children affected by the pandemic.
Still other franchises see a challenge in their immediate community and step in through efforts such as in-kind donations. Clarke Williams, proud owner of a Jimmy John’s franchise located in the heart of Washington, D.C., was heartened by the quick response from local officials and vowed to offer his support at the start of the pandemic.
Clarke, along with his employees, began providing meals to healthcare workers and other essential personnel working at testing centers. They have since donated more than 10,000 free meals to hospital workers, first responders, members of the Department of Health and even members of the National Guard. Learn more here.
The stories of generosity from franchises are truly endless. Many align with the individual business’ mission. For instance, Just Between Friends’ franchise system began in 2004 and their commitment to giving back was sewn into the fabric of their business. Although many of their franchisees are only open 10-15 days per year during their pop-up events, they each support at least one local charity through in-kind and monetary donations. Additionally, JBF franchisees across the country, from California fires to hurricanes in Texas and Florida, step up when their community is in a time of need. They hand out free clothes, blankets, shoes, diapers and other essential equipment to desperate families. JBF franchises have donated more than four million items and cash worth more than $28 million. Learn more about one franchisee’s partnership with Cradle to Crayons in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Our veterans literally put their lives on the line for us. And, as a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Founder and CEO of Sport Clips Haircuts, Gordon B. Logan, knows the challenges that veterans face first hand. He used his position as a leader to instill a sense of volunteerism and dedication to giving back throughout his company. Sport Clips has sponsored the Aleethia Foundation’s Friday Night Dinners since 2014. Aleethia is an all-volunteer non-profit dedicated to helping service members from around the country who are recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Friday dinners began in October 2003 when injured service members began arriving at the military medical centers. For service members and their families who have experienced so much and who are often trying to heal from the wounds of war, Friday Night Dinners are a bright light and opportunity for fellowship and support. This is only one of the many community initiatives Sport Clips undertakes. In addition to his commitment to community service through his company, he is also a dedicated volunteer with the IFA Foundation Board of Trustees and the Foundation’s VetFran Committee. Learn more about Sport Clips’ community efforts here.
And still other organizations have taken their annual programs and successfully pivoted their efforts to better help during the pandemic. In 2018, Premium Service Brands created a non-profit called Kids-Lift to help kids facing food insecurity. In the United States, 12 million children are ‘food insecure.’ Public schools help these kids by giving them free or reduced lunches and sometimes even breakfasts and dinners at school, however, these kids often go hungry on the weekends and when school isn’t in session. Through their weekend backpack meals and food drives, they work with their franchisees to support school districts all over the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Premium Service Brands pivoted to launch eight virtual food drives to ensure that public school kids still had access to healthy food. Through these drives, they’ve donated over 2,000 meals and supported hundreds of families. You can learn more about their growing programs at https://www.kids-lift.org/.
These are just a few examples of how franchises give back. Whether it be deeply engrained programs in their local community through a franchisee, or a commitment at the corporate level, franchises impact their communities in myriad ways. We celebrate and salute all of the ways franchising gives back. Learn more at https://community.franchise.org/ categories/franchising-gives-back and follow #FranchisingGivesBack on social media.
Ashley Mancheni is the project manager for the IFA Foundation’s Franchising Gives Back program. For more information, visit community.franchise.org/categories/franchising-gives-back.