The two winners for The Next Big Give – a national search for specialty retailers that give back in their communities – have been selected. A. Dodson’s, an apparel, gift, and home décor store in Suffolk, Va., and Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy in Tyler, Texas, were selected from more than 50 retailers that are involved in a variety of ways through volunteering, raising funds, or donating goods.
“Congratulations to The Next Big Give winners,” says Bill Winsor, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center. “Both winners are great examples of how retailers can give back in big and small ways. Their work is truly inspiring.”
Dodson’s owner, Alison Dodson Anderson, learned the spirit of giving directly from her parents. During her childhood, Alison’s father, a local dentist in her hometown, often exchanged his services with patients who could only afford to pay him with a livestock chicken or free yard work. Spurred by the pride and appreciation for her father’s generosity, Alison began giving back through her store immediately following its opening seven years ago. A. Dodson’s supports numerous causes including blood drives, toy and school supply drives, plus donating $12,000 to Taylor Bend YMCA to assist in building a new facility.
Even after giving back in a variety of ways, Alison wanted a means to focus her store’s giving efforts. Her search led to the development of The A. Dodson’s Round Up, a program allowing customers to round up the cost of each purchase to the nearest dollar and have the extra cents donated to charity. A. Dodson’s publishes a poll on its Facebook page in order for customers to choose the cause the Round Up funds will be donated to at the end of each month. Charities can easily apply by simply emailing their name, contact information, and confirmation of their 501c3 status to email@example.com. In 2011, A. Dodson’s gave more than $2,500 to various charity organizations.
“This January we were able to donate hundreds of dollars to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund through The A. Dodson’s Round Up,” notes Kim Glover, director of marketing for A. Dodson’s. “Through the program we are able to donate to charities near and dear to our hearts as well as expose our customers to organizations that they in turn volunteer for. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Originally operating under the name “Brookshire Brothers,” the Next Big Give’s other winner, Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy, was founded in 1928 by Wood T. Brookshire in Tyler, Texas. Since its inception, Brookshire’s has grown to 150 stores spanning three states: Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Wood founded the company with a foremost concern for the well-being of others, which continues to influence the company today.
Brookshire’s has been giving back to its communities since its founding. In 2008, the Community Connections program was launched to enable Brookshire’s employees to assist with the causes important to each store’s local community. Employees form teams by store or non-retail department and gather to volunteer an average of four times per year with the cause of their choice.
Last year, Brookshire’s donated more than 28,000 documented volunteer hours and more than $1.5 million to various charitable causes. One notable effort was its World War II Heroes Flight in May 2011, during which Brookshire’s sent 33 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., all expenses paid, where they visited several war memorials and the U.S. Capitol building.
“Giving back is an important part of our company culture and something we expect to continue,” states Sam Anderson, community involvement manager for Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy. “We believe it’s important to support the communities that support us. Being actively involved in the schools and other aspects of the community helps us to stay in touch with our customers and be better prepared to serve their wants and needs. But, most importantly, helping others is the right thing to do.”
After receiving more than 50 applications for the Next Big Give, entries were narrowed down to 10 finalists and then two winners by a panel of industry experts and Dallas Market Center representatives. The winners will receive a complimentary trip to the March 22-25 Market in Dallas including round-trip airfare and three nights hotel stay. While at Market, The Next Big Give winners will be recognized on Thursday, March 22 during The Inspired Event, a cocktail party benefiting charitable causes.
For additional information on the contest visit www.dallasmarketcenter.com