By Camisha Jones
When MARTIN’s Food Markets came on board as a major advertiser with Urban Views Weekly, two community-minded organizations joined forces in a way that’s making a big difference for area non-profit organizations. Now, entering the second year of that partnership, Urban Views and MARTIN’s have developed two new opportunities to encourage youth seeking post-secondary education.
In February 2012, Urban Views Weekly in partnership with MARTIN’s Food Markets launched its Non-Profit of the Month program. The program awards $10,000 worth of free advertisement each month to a selected non-profit organization that serves children or addresses hunger in the African American community. The program fills a gap that allows worthy organizations, with little to no budget for advertising, to tell their story and, thus, attract new clients, volunteers and investors.
The partnership with MARTIN’s has helped Urban Views expand its mission to showcase the positive side of life in the African American community. Building on MARTIN’s long history of giving back to the communities in which it operates, the Non-Profit of the Month program has also been a way for the food market to further deepen its commitment to supporting organizations that serve youth and address hunger.
“Being selected led to a stream of small donations from individuals and the development of a partnership with a local business, resulting in a donation of $700 and new volunteers at Friends.” – The Friends Association for Children Executive Director Cherry Peters
Ervin Clarke, Publisher and CEO, says, “A year ago we welcomed MARTIN’s as a major advertiser to Urban Views Weekly. Their advertising allowed us to launch the Non-Profit of the Month promotion. Because they made the decision to advertise with us, we have been able to help non profits do advertising that they would have never been able to do. We often hear about how the spending of major companies can positively affect communities, this is a perfect example. And because MARTIN’s is spending those advertising dollars with this minority company, the dollars are benefiting this minority community.”
Recipients of the program, thus far, include Peter Paul Development Center, Camp Diva, Blue Sky Fund, Girls Can, The Rudi Johnson Foundation, Friends Association for Children, the Neighborhood Resource Center, Boy Scouts of America, Children Incorporated, and, most recently, Feed More.
“Our kids loved seeing their picture in the paper. You told our story with professionalism, artistic expression, and literary competence…We had several mothers find scholarships to camp for their children because of the Urban Views Weekly article on Blue Sky…” – Executive Director Lawson Wijesooriya
To ensure the greatest impact, Urban Views works with each recipient to create an advertising schedule that falls in line with the organization’s upcoming events and programs. Each month, the selected organization is given prime space within and on the outer cover of Urban Views Weekly to promote their activities and inform the community about the issues they address.
The benefits of the Non-Profit of the Month program have gone well beyond the advertising space each organization receives. Urban Views has received feedback from recipients detailing the positive influence of the program.
Take Peter Paul Development Center (PPDC) for instance. PPDC was selected as the first Non-Profit of the Month in February 2012 for its work serving youth, families and seniors in the East End. After being profiled in Urban Views, their Director of Development Danielle Ripperton wrote: “PPDC chose to highlight its informational tours (the PPDC Lunch & Learn) – and we immediately received reservations for Lunch and Learns from individuals who learned about the Center through Urban Views Weekly!” The article also provided PPDC with a resource that they have used to support their fundraising efforts.
The April 2012 Non-Profit of the Month was Blue Sky Fund which provides transformational experiences for urban youth through outdoor education. After they were featured , Executive Director Lawson Wijesooriya, shared, “Our kids loved seeing their picture in the paper. You told our story with professionalism, artistic expression, and literary competence…We had several mothers find scholarships to camp for their children because of the Urban Views Weekly article on Blue Sky…Through your generosity we have been able to extend our reach, increase awareness about our work, and enjoy free promotion of our cause.”
“As a direct result of being highlighted they added 6 new campers as well as numerous new volunteers and mentors. The support enabled us to expand our commitment to providing meaningful mentoring and academic enrichment to girls living in the Richmond metro area.” – Jetheda Hernandez, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Girls Can.
Girls Can was selected as the May 2012 Non-Profit of the Month. With a mission to nurture and propel young girls to excellence through guided self-awareness, community engagement and independent thinking, the non-profit offers a camp and mentoring. Jetheda Hernandez, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Girls Can, reported that as a direct result of being highlighted in Urban Views Weekly they added 6 new campers as well as numerous new volunteers and mentors. In her words, “(The program’s) support enabled us to expand our commitment to providing meaningful mentoring and academic enrichment to girls living in the Richmond metro area.”
Being selected as the July 2012 Non-Profit of the Month helped The Friends Association for Children advance its mission to help children and families achieve their potential and become productive citizens. Their Executive Director Cherry Peters wrote: “Volunteers and donations are the life blood of the wonderful work we do here, and (the Non-Profit of the Month Program)…helped us very directly with both!” She shared that being selected led to “a stream of small donations from individuals” and the development of a partnership with a local business, resulting in a donation of $700 and new volunteers at Friends.
With MARTIN’s continued support, Urban Views is now entering its second year of offering the Non-Profit of the Month program. Applications for the program are available online at www.urbanviewsweekly.com. All non-profit organizations with 501(c)3 status, a commitment to serving children and/or addressing hunger, and a demonstrated positive influence in the African American community are encouraged to apply.
The Scholar of the Week Award Program
This month Urban Views and MARTIN’s Food Markets launch the Scholar of the Week award program. The program awards $100 a week to students who excel academically and who are committed to community service and civic engagement. Each week, the achievements of these scholars will be highlighted in an article in Urban Views Weekly. A random drawing will be held in June in which all the previous year’s scholars will have a chance to win an Apple iPad.
Clarke expresses his enthusiasm for the program stating: “…we started out last year with a partnership that allowed us to help non-profits that are helping our community. Now, we continue that work, plus add a program that puts $100 cash in a worthy student’s pocket and elevates the importance of excelling in the classroom and in the community. This just makes me feel good.”
The award program is a way for MARTIN’s to live out its philanthropic values. “One of MARTIN’S main giving missions is improving the quality of life for children within the communities we serve and we are excited to partner with Urban Views Weekly on the Scholar of the Week program,” said Jim Scanlon, regional vice president. “With competition for college admissions and scholarships continuing to increase, the Scholar of the Week program will provide eligible Richmond area high school students with an opportunity to set themselves apart during the application process.”
All high School seniors who attend public schools in Central Virginia, participate in extracurricular community service activities and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for the Scholar of the Week award. To apply, students must submit an application (available at www.UrbanViewsWeekly.com), a transcript, a list of extracurricular activities, a 250-500 word essay and two letters of recommendation.
Scholars will be selected by a committee consisting of representatives from Richmond Public Schools, Petersburg Public Schools, Virginia Commonwealth University, MARTIN’s Food Market and Urban Views Weekly.
Health and Achievement News Associate Position
Another venture being born from the ongoing partnership between Urban Views and MARTIN’s is the Health and Achievement News Associate position. Through this position, Urban Views will create a health and achievement blog to be maintained by a journalism student selected from an area institution of higher education. The student will write about health and nutrition topics for the blog. The selected student will also interview and contribute to the Scholar of the Week articles. In addition to a monthly stipend, the news associate will receive mentoring, training and an opportunity to publish their writing online and in print.
The partnership between Urban Views and MARTIN’s continues to widen opportunities to acknowledge the good work being done in the Greater Richmond area. Looking back at the good outcomes of the Non-Profit of the Month program, both businesses have good reason to believe celebrating the accomplishments of high school students and providing a worthwhile opportunity for an area journalism student will be just as fruitful.