PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer Inc., based here, will host a pilot program during its back-to-school selling season, beginning Aug. 3, to provide funding to public school teachers in six Western states for innovative educational projects.
The initiative, designed and funded by the School and Home Office Products Association's Foundation for Educational Excellence, Dayton, Ohio, is under the banner "Support Our Schools/Help a Teacher."
Under the program, grants of $250 to $1,000 will be awarded to teachers, allowing them to execute proposed classroom projects. A total of $25,000 in grants will be awarded to teachers in the designated states, Steve Jacober, president of both the SHOPA and the SFEE, told SN during a recent New York visit.
"This will be our first test. It gets people into the stores and gives the retailer the opportunity to make a statement to the community. It gives us an outlet to distribute money and work together to create awareness," Jacober said.
"The real winners will be the students who get to participate in the classroom projects that are made possible by this funding," commented Terry Erdman, stationery and office supply buyer for Fred Meyer Inc. Details of the program and application procedures will appear in Fred Meyer's back-to-school advertising circulars and on signs in stores. Application deadline is Sept. 30. Awards will be announced six weeks later.
This is part of the SFEE's overall effort to foster educational improvement. Last year the foundation distributed close to $1 million in educational supplies and products to classrooms around the country.
On another note, the SHOPA is gearing up for its second Learning Curve Conference, to be held at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tenn., July 20 to 22. This year's educational symposium will focus on the consumer, general trends in consumer behavior and how consumers are approaching the school and home office products category.
The format will include general sessions and focused break-out sessions so attendees can choose subjects of specific interest. The SHOPA expects this year's conference attendance to exceed the 250 industry executives at its first conference, held in 1995.
This conference indicates how important the industry is becoming to the retail community, Jacober added. "It's becoming an industry as opposed to just a retail event."