As retailers heap their cause-related efforts on school charities in the back-to-school season, it becomes harder for brands to stand out. Whole Foods Market, Target and JCPenney are all looking for more distinctive ways to build brand equity with busy parents.
Whole Foods is commemorating the opening of its new New York City store, located on 57th Street, by giving 57 salad bars to New York City schools. The donation will be funded with 5% of opening-day sales from the new location, which shares space with both PS 59 and the High School of Art & Design. And 5% of sales from all New York City stores on Sept. 6, the first day of classes, will also be directed to the salad bars. Vendors participating in the donation include Olivia’s Organics, Happy Baby, Honest Kids, Nature’s Path, and Skinnypop.
Meanwhile, Target says its “Give With Target” generated the highest level of engagement of any social media campaign in the retailer’s history, and as a result finished two weeks ahead of schedule. The school fundraising initiative generated more than 3 million votes through its Facebook app in less than four weeks, reaching its goal of $2.5 million in donations. The Minneapolis-based retailer says the money will be parceled out in Target gift cards and distributed among 30,000 schools. (The five schools earning the most votes are based in Staten Island, N.Y.; San Jose, Calif.; Benson, Minn.; Philadelphia, and Mooseheart, Ill.)
The program also included $25,000 grants to 100 needy schools, selected by Target. So far, half of those have been announced, with the remaining awards expected to be made by the end of the month.
And earlier this month, JC Penney introduced a national effort to gather school supplies for kids in need, working with the Boys & Girls Club of America.