STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 20)

EXECUTIVE SUITE / RETAIL PEOPLE Retail to the Rescue Greg Buzek Founder and president, IHL Group Co-founder, RetailROI Initiative aims to help abandoned and orphaned children worldwide number of retail industry executives met during NRF’s 98th Annual Convention & EXPO to discuss a new charitable organization devoted to raising awareness about the increasing number of abandoned and orphaned children worldwide. The notion for the Retail Orphan Initiative ( grew o ut o f a n i nformal meeting b etween P aul S inger, senior vice president and CIO of SuperV ALU, and Greg Buzek, founder and president of IHL Group. life other than selling their bodies. Unfortunately, there are no shortages of evil people waiting for them to come out. Up to 60 percent of all who age out, even here in the United States, will become homeless or end up in prison. What is RetailROI’s mission? A Created under the umbrella of The Giving Back Fund, RetailROI will make grants to charities that provide both orphan and foster care as well as adoption services. Donor trustees include Singer, Buzek and Marc Millstein, founder and president of RetailConnections. Why target retailers to support this charity? We have three overriding goals. The first is to raise awareness about the tremendous need to care for these orphans. Second, we will be working with companies to create programs internally to get involved in orphan/foster care. Some specific areas include providing mentors for foster kids, life skills training for at-risk youth, building relationships with orphan homes to donate overstock materials, providing school supplies or clothing for foster kids and providing no-interest loans/grants to employees who wish to adopt. Our third goal is to become a funding arm for “feet on the street” charities doing great work. We want to bring the same “world is flat” mentality that we use in business to the area of orphan care, leveraging the retail marketplace and supply chain to make a real difference in the world. We are not going to be funding the big charities with big marketing budgets, but rather smaller groups where a grant of $10,000 is seed capital to make a huge difference in a community because the overhead is so low. How will RetailROI raise funds? Retail is the perfect vehicle because we represent 20 percent of the world economy. We touch consumers every week. Through the Retail Orphan Initiative, we can make a difference. Consider this: Just one-tenth of a penny per transaction obtained through a POS “Round-Up” program would save millions of lives annually. But first we need to educate people about the problem. Just how bad is the problem? munity could help? Our ideas for funding include straight donations from companies and individuals, making RetailROI a charity that receives matching funds and creating specially marked packages of toys, cereal and clothing for kids where a portion goes to RetailROI. We’re also talking about a POS “Round-Up for Orphans” where consumers can round up their transactions to the nearest dollar, and a branded MasterCard or VISA gift card where a portion of the proceeds goes to RetailROI. Are there other ways the retail com- Today, five times as many people will die as were killed in the attacks of 9/11 — all of them children — and you won’t hear about it on the news. All of the world’s orphaned children could make up a country the size of Russia. There are 143 million orphans and 400 million vulnerable children in the world, according to UNICEF, and few in the general public know about it. A child dies every 5.2 seconds [and] every day 38,000 kids age out of state-run facilities worldwide … with no skills to live 20 STORES / MAY 2009 Yes. Specifically, we hope they will become mentors to foster children. It takes four hours a month, plus a background check, fingerprint check and a three-hour training course up front, to provide a constant adult in the life of a foster kid. Another idea is to provide non-paid leave for employees who adopt or become foster parents, or to provide no-interest loans/grants to employees who want to adopt. StORES — Janet Groeber WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009