Suppliers, distributors, service providers and personnel from regional, national and international associations got out in the community to volunteer for those in need.

WORLDWIDE (November 8, 2010) – The First Annual Promotional Professionals Pay It Forward Day (PromoProsPIFDay) commenced on Saturday, November 6, 2010, and promotional professionals throughout the industry gave their time and talents to benefit those in need. Reports are just starting to come in detailing how individuals decided to participate.

For example, Sadie Schlief, director, promotional products, for Glenwood, Minnesota-based American Solutions For Business, spent both November 6 and 7 volunteering for the Wadena Otter Tail Long Term Recovery Project (WOTLTRP). The organization benefits the city of Wadena, Minnestoa, which was devastated by tornados on June 17. The area is still in a state of disaster due to insurance delays, lack of supplies and limited financial resources. WOTLTRP has raised $14,000 to date but estimates at least $1 million is required to make necessary repairs.

Schlief spent the first morning picking up debris on Wadena’s worst hit street. “It was not uncommon to pick up personal items (shoes, pillows, mail, games, and bits and pieces of furniture) along with sections of roofs and sheets of mangled tin,” she said. “And at one point, we were making piles of broken 2X4s. They are being reused by people in the community who cannot afford to purchase new ones.”

Next, Schlief and several other volunteers put up insulation, Tyvek and siding on an elderly woman’s home. “I left Wadena with mixed emotions,” Schlief said. “I was proud of the work we had done but heartbroken for the families and people in limbo since the storm.”

Carla Rakestraw, CAS, 
president of 
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada-based 
Ultimate Promotions, Inc. built an online merchandise UP e-Store for her local animal shelter, the Grande Prairie & District SPCA. The website,, will launch to the public later this month.

“There is a growing number of pets needing a new home before the six months of snowy winter arrives,” she said. “I knew this was the needed service I could offer to Pay It Forward without having to explain to my husband about the SUV full of fuzzy, cuddly cats and dogs that need a new home.”

The online UP e-Store allows new pet owners, community supporters and sponsors to buy merchandise for themselves or friends and family. Products featured include SPCA merchandise such as hoodies and hats decorated with the tag line “Rescued Is My Favourite Breed” along with grocery tote bags with the message “My bag helped save animals, what did yours do?” All proceeds help provide required care for the animals in the shelter until a loving new home is found.

San Diego, California-based AddVenture Products is known for being a creative and innovative group of people, so it’s no surprise that the company decided to Pay It Forward by offering its creative capabilities to enhance the community through painting murals and decorating the exterior of Fletcher Elementary School. Alan Davis, AddVenture president, along with his wife Lee Anne and their children Isabella and Julian, were joined by Kathleen Milbier, preferred account executive, and Angela Bankston, marketing, for the day of artistic endeavors.

“It’s empowering to get involved in a project like this that can have such a positive impact on the students, their families and the faculty,” said Lee Ann Davis. “We all had a super time painting and helping improve the outer ambiance of the school. What a great day!”

And these are just a few of the stories. The event’s Facebook Page has received numerous posts from fans. Rhonda Reedy, CAS, of Powell, Ohio-based AIA/Barefoot Promotions, posted that she was “Donating all the ‘sample’ coats to the homeless shelter and also helping out with food for the local food pantry.” Ruth Verver, partner at Austin, Texas-based Paperclip Promotions, said she collected food and sample items for Meals on Wheels. And Danny Rosin, president of Morrisville, North Carolina-based Brand Fuel Promotions, posted, “Heading to Duke Hospital with the family to spend some time with a child we know who sadly has Hurler’s Syndrome and bringing gifts and smiles. My kids are also (willingly) donating all of their Halloween candy to The Homeless Shelter kids in Raleigh, North Carolina this afternoon.”

Mark Shinn, MAS, president of Newcastle, Washington-based Incentives West, said, “The idea of Promotional Professionals Pay It Forward Day only came up in August, and I think it is remarkable that with a grass-roots effort from a core group of industry volunteers that we were able to make an impact in such a short amount of time. The goal was to bring all facets of the industry—from suppliers, distributors, service providers and regional, national and international associations—together through volunteerism to build a sense of community within the industry and to make a positive impact in the process—and I think we achieved it. We have reports that our idea pulled together some of our professionals who worked alongside others inside our industry and integrated in with other groups that continue to do many great things inside our communities. As word spreads about the event and we have more time to engage the promotional professionals community, imagine what can be accomplished in 2011.”

About Promotional Professionals Pay It Forward Day:

Promotional Professionals Pay It Forward Day (aka PromoProsPIFDay) was created by a group of promotional products professionals with the mission of bringing all facets of the industry—from suppliers, distributors, service providers and regional, national and international associations—together through volunteerism to build a sense of community within the industry and to make an positive impact in the process.

Individuals, companies or groups can participate by simply selecting a charity that is meaningful to them (can be local, national or global organizations) and perform a needed service on November 6.

For more information, visit the PromoProsPIFDay Facebook page at or follow @PromoProsPIFDay on Twitter.


Media Contact:
Lisa Horn, CAS

Company Contact:
Mark Shinn, MAS