Posted on Feb 14, 2011
Some of the World’s Most Charitable Franchises
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Franchise Help has gone on a mission to find the most heart-warming stories of franchisors giving back to their local communities. Whether on a national level or within an individual franchisee's neighborhood, the world's best franchises not only deliver profits for their investors but contribute meaningfully in their communities. So prepare to get that warm and fuzzy feeling as Franchise Help analyzes today’s franchisors and their big hearts!
The story goes that Michael Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars, was so touched by a news article detailing a veteran who lost his legs to a bomb in Iraq that he offered the vet a franchise as a reward. Ilitch’s kind act blossomed into a program known as Little Caesars Veterans Program. Its purpose is to provide discharged veterans with business opportunities -- the franchise’s way of saying: “Thank you for serving our country.”
The program provides military vets with a $5,000 reduction of the franchise fee, financing benefits, and a $5,000 credit on the equipment order for the first store. Disabled veterans are eligible for additional benefits, including a waiver of the $20,000 franchise fee, a $10,000 credit line on the initial equipment order, and marketing support from leading national companies during the venue’s grand opening.
Krispy Kreme has donated both money and time to several worthy charitable causes, but the corporation is best known for its colossal contribution to communities by offering doughnuts to non-profit groups at a reduced price. In turn, these charities are able to make a profit by charging their supporters (and all doughnut-loving passersby) a full retail mark up or even higher. The franchise even highlights recent charity participants and their fans by posting their fundraising experiences with Krispy Kreme online.
Stop Cyberbullying Month & Stuffed with Hugs
Build-A-Bear is a franchise that continues to gain recognition, and the company is very adept at tapping into issues of importance to its audience. In 2009, for example, Build-A-Bear Workshop partnered with WiredSafety.org to promote October as "Stop Cyberbullying Month." A growing problem among children and teens, cyberbullying gained national attention after several cases ended with the tragic suicides of teens who had been tormented through online social networks and other internet-based channels. The franchise took the cause to heart, even participating in a Stop Cyberbullying Coalition event on Capitol Hill.
Build-A-Bear also sponsors a day called “Stuffed With Hugs,” where guests can come in and build toys that will be donated to underprivileged or abused children. Furthermore, the proceeds of certain toys are used to fund children’s programs and animal shelters.
A Charity Snack
Is Charisnack a compilation of “chariot snack” or “charity snack”? Let’s consider its components: This relatively small, UK-based franchise works by delivering healthy snacks (including trail mix and dried fruit) to the workplace. This simple approach delivers more than snacking satisfaction, as customers know that a portion of ChariSnack’s profit is donated to the National Blind Children’s Society.
Farm Friendly Direct
This coffee franchise takes great pride in its gourmet roasts. However, by the end of 2002, The Human Bean had also established itself as a charitable company through its Farm Friendly Direct program, in which the franchisor arranges to buy beans at above-market prices from farmers who operate using sustainable practices, then efficiently directs the extra profits from the harvest to infrastructure projects that benefit the farmers' local communities.
Through this program, the Human Bean donates funds and supplies to schools in India and Costa Rica, provides support to Kigoma (Tanzania), assists water preservation efforts in otherwise parched communities, and supports El Salvador in its tree restoration movement. Other nations that receive aid from Farm Friendly Direct include Ethiopia, Peru, Sumatra, and many more.
This is not only a well-designed program, but one that is core to the franchise's operation.
This story is as sweet as cake batter pancakes.
It goes without fail that when summer arrives, children-run lemonade stands follow. But how about Abby Enck?
This enterprising eight-year-old child created “Lemonade Kits” which contain the essential ingredients for the perfect cup of lemonade: water, lemonade flavoring, and -- of course -- her branding tag. She then sold the kits to her friends and helped them manage their lemonade stands, thus creating her very own franchise. She then used the royalties from her franchise to purchase nearly 1,000 boxes of crayons to be distributed to children in the hospital. When she was asked what inspired her to create such a business venture, Abby replied: “My little brother.” Her brother currently lives with Cerebral Palsy.
It goes to show that one can never be too young to franchise, especially if it’s for a good cause!
We Care for Veterans
It's estimated that around 20,000 injured and disabled veterans depend on daily home-care services to help them lead a quality life. Recognizing this need, Homewatch CareGivers offers up to 20 hours of free in-home care to disabled or injured U.S. military veterans through its charitable program, "We Care for Veterans." Homewatch CareGivers has 111 owners with 181 territories, including ten international owners with nineteen international territories -- that adds up to a lot of hours of care for a large number of appreciative vets.
Wogan S. Badcock Jr. Community Service Award
In 2004, Badcock furnished over one hundred homes for Habitat for Humanity, demonstrating a strong charitable streak among corporate brass; however, the franchise has an even better reputation for encouraging its franchisees to act in their respective communities, independent from any national movement. This support goes so far as to include a blurb in the system's operating manual coaxing franchisees to support non-profits, and Badcock will match up to a certain percentage of their franchisee’s donation. Furthermore, Badcock offers a yearly award -- the Wogan S. Badcock Jr. Community Service Award -- to the most giving and locally active franchisees in the system.
EmbroidMe Community Fund
EmbroidMe is Australia’s largest embroidery, promotional and branding franchise. In order to give back to the community, the franchisor designed a "community fund" to serve as a giving mechanism to benefit charities and non-profits across Australia. Simply called the EmbroidMe Community Fund, the program's inauguration saw the franchisor donate $25,000 worth of decorated apparel and promotional items to charities. The effort remains active throughout Australia to this day.
Rewards for Charity
The Jamba Juice franchise looks to promote healthy bodies through its nutritious snacks and smoothies, yet even healthier minds through the Jamba School Appreciation Program. In support of this program, the franchise has developed special “PTA” cards, which work as a kind of rewards system: the more that PTA members buy at their local Jamba Juice locations, the more proceeds go to the local and national PTA.
Jamba Juice also utilized a rewards system approach with its “Sip to Support” program. This time it’s the organizations that sign up with the franchise and distribute their personalized reward cards to their supporters and employees. Every time a supporter uses their swipe card for a Jamba Juice purchase, Jamba Juice gives 10% of the purchase back to the participating organization.
The Kinderdance system promotes education through dance and fitness programs. The franchise has partnered with Traveling Tutus, a charitable organization on a mission to donate shoes, leotards, tights, tutus and other dance materials to underprivileged children. Traveling Tutus has made donations to children in orphanages in Mexico, Guatemala, and Lebanon, and when Kinderdance learned of their cause, the franchise reached out to offer the once-small charity a very large hand. Kinderdance is also a member of the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative and the Minority Franchise group, rounding out an impressive community-focused profile.
The Taco Bell Foundation
Taco Bell is a franchise that has participated actively in charity. For example, it and other YUM! Brands affiliates have helped to provide over ninety million meals to hungry families through such channels as the United Nations World Food Program. Taco Bell also provides grants to organizations that focus on community building, education, and hunger relief.
In addition, this franchise has its own charity, The Taco Bell Foundation, which works with communities to lower teenage drop-out rates by offering youth support services and instruction on self-reliance and responsibility.
Keep the Change Charity
This “green” frozen yogurt and smoothie concept focuses on doing well for the environment through the use of biodegradable materials. However, the franchise also runs a very interesting program called the "Keep the Change Charity," whereby Spoon Me highlights a new charitable organization each month and encourages customers to direct donations (tips) toward that cause.
This franchise promotes itself as a gym that can achieve results through intimacy and personal care. Therefore, it isn’t too surprising when Curves franchisees make headlines for their work in the community. For example, over the holidays, Curves' Perkasie location manager, Sue Chynoweth, encouraged her members to leave presents under the tree for local families coping with the tragedy of terminal illness. A simple gesture, no doubt, and just the kind of community love and support that warms our hearts in these winter months.
Boston Pizza Foundation
For Boston Pizza, their charity is a source of pride. The Boston Pizza Foundation has been raising funds for various charities across Canada, including Kids Help Phone, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
This franchisor also encourages its franchisees to give back within their local communities, bestowing the Boston Foundation Award on the most actively charitable franchisee in the system. The first winners of the award were two franchisees based in Winnipeg, Canada: Richard and Kim Enright. We hope community involvement warms them up like it does us, because we hear it gets freezing up there!
It's Better to Give than to Receive
Clockwork Homes Services has some of the most charitable franchisees around. The franchise’s dedication to its communities on both a local and corporate level is something to be recognized.
- Employees at Clockwork's Sarasota, Florida, headquarters provided money to three local families that were rebuilding their lives following an escape from abusive homes through the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC).
- Clockwork's One Hour franchisee in Aberdeen, Maryland, is an active member of Habitat for Humanity. Through this program, the franchisee donates and offers complimentary heating and air conditioning systems to homes.
- There is a Clockwork franchise in Youngtown, Arizona, that is an official donation center for Packages From Home, which sends care packages to US troops around the world. The franchisee has even worked with the local Girl Scout Troop to send treats to soldiers overseas.
- A Clockwork franchisee in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, supports Autism Speaks, an organization that increases awareness and funding for autism research. The franchise owners pledged donations for every plumbing repair. They’ve logged over 300 calls in one month and have donated over $5000.
That's a whole lot of love!
Ronald McDonald House Charity
McDonalds is one of the most powerful franchises around, and they are certainly one of the most giving. The Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC) has been in business for over 36 years and is a holding company for various charities. The programs are designed to promote diversity and the betterment of rural and inner city communities. RMHC has had a positive impact in 52 countries and regions, especially through its “core” programs.
Its three most famous programs go as follows:
- Ronald McDonald House: Offers housing to displaced families who are caring for seriously ill or injured children.
- Ronald McDonald Family Room: Offers rest to family members who are visiting their sick in the pediatric or intensive care unit of their local hospital.
- Ronald McDonald Care Mobile: Provides health care by escorting practitioners to places that otherwise suffer from uneasy access. This charity has had a wide-reaching impact, from treatment of pediatric cancer in Poland to immunizations in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The organization is also committed to education: local chapters award thousands of scholarships through RMHC U.S. Scholarships to students entering college across the United States.
Lastly, the charity awards grants to nonprofits that may fall outside its umbrella but align with the organization's charitable mission.
And just for fun...
Though not technically a "franchise," Major League Baseball recently demonstrated a highly admirable program worth highlighting. The league reached out to urban youth by creating an event dubbed "Wanna Play?” -- an educational initiative directed towards inner-city youngsters. Through this program, MLB took a huge step in mending its otherwise dissipated relationship with urban communities, specifically with African Americans.
The "Wanna Play" program seeks to expose urban youth to baseball while highlighting the grace of the game and teaching children about players who may have come from similar backgrounds but were able to achieve great heights through the hard work and discipline necessary to become a professional athlete.
The program's inaugural event occurred during the Youth Summit segment of the Gillette Civil Rights Game Weekend and featured free admission. Families were able to bat, pitch, and participate in contests and competitions -- all evolving around the game. Fans even received the chance to meet a few legends. Given the event's success, MLB hopes to expand the campaign and establish it as an annual event.
Do you have any stories of franchises involved with charities or their local community? We'd love to hear about it -- share and comment below!
This article was written by Carol Hood of FranchiseHelp
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