Through volunteerism and associate contributions, corporate donations and
community relations programs, Sears continues its long-standing commitment
to enhance relationships with customers and their families in communities
throughout the nation.
Sears associates and retirees enthusiastically embrace volunteerism in their local communities. In early 1998, for example, Sears increased its commitment to retired General Colin L. Powell's America's Promise campaign by 100,000 volunteer hours - pledging to reach 300,000 volunteer hours by the year 2000. To date, Sears Volunteers have contributed well over 100,000 hours of service.
Nationwide, Sears contributed $17.3 million to community organizations in 1998, including $5.7 million to the United Way. In addition, Sears associates contributed $5.4 million through the company's unique workplace giving campaign, which allows greater associate choice in designating health, human services and environmental organizations to receive contributions.
The company's commitment to the enviroment was reflected in the fact that in 1998 alone Sears recycled nearly 12 million tires, 1 million light bulbs, 5 million batteries and 46,000 tons of other materials, including plastics, hangers and corrugated cardboard.
Hurricanes Georges and Mitch, fires in Orlando Fla., East Coast ice storms and a number of floods made 1998 one of the most expensive years ever for disasters, according to the American Red Cross. Sears and its associates helped families recover through donations to the American Red Cross and other relief efforts. To further strengthen its support, Sears became a $1 million Red Cross sponsor beginning in 1999.
Sears also helped raise more than $1 million in financial support for Gilda's Club, a non-profit meeting place for people living with cancer, their families and friends. New clubhouses were opened in three cities in 1998, with five more scheduled for 1999 - which will bring the total to 11 nationwide.
As part of the company's back-to-school campaign in 1998, Sears and its vendor partners committed to providing one million articles of clothing to kids in need, working through nonprofit organizations across the country. The $2 million Sears investment represents the largest single-year donation in the company's history.
In Chicago, the company's hometown community, Sears announced it would contribute more than $5 million over three years to programs and services that strengthen families through Sears Family Enrichment Fund, the largest commitment of its kind ever made by a Chicago corporation. This innovative program brought the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to families in diverse neighborhoods through "Sears Adventures in Music," allowed families to experience the power and magic of live theater through "Sears Theater Fever," offered family literacy programs at libraries through "Sears Storytimes," and sponsored more than 1,000 wellness events for adults and children through "Sears Family Fun Nights at the Y." In addition, more than 8 million people experienced Sears "Pier Walk '98," the world's largest outdoor sculpture exhibit.
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