Category Archives: Kids In Need Foundation

School Supplies Changing Lives

With 16 million kids living in America who come from families struggling with extreme poverty, getting school supplies can make all the difference in the world to their future success. Having personally experienced a rough childhood, I know the struggles that come with being unable to afford necessities to have the best quality of life.  Dixon Ticonderoga Company, and myself, are extremely proud to be an on-going corporate partner with The Kids In Need Foundation (KINF); we mutually understand the importance of providing the value of a level playing field, increased confidence and better grades to children and students in need through writing, arts and crafts, and fine art product donations.

Starting in 2009, I had a creative vision to make a significant difference in the lives of these underprivileged children through donating enough Dixon Ticonderoga pencils to the Kids In Need Foundation to reach from the East Coast to the West Coast. Depending on the route travelled, the distance between the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States ranges between 2,600 and 3,200 miles.  My aspiration was to celebrate the Foundation’s 20th birthday in 2015 by donating enough pencils, pencil end to end, to reach this goal, and we were successful in that objective.


The Foundation’s mission is “to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies to the kids most in need.” Over the last 20 years, the Kids In Need Foundation has distributed almost $700 million in basic supplies, and I am more than proud to be a part of its initiatives.  My friend and colleague, Kristine Cohn, Senior Director of Development and Corporate Partnerships Kids In Need Foundation, has said that “Dixon’s donations are so important because pencils are listed as the number one core product needed by students and teachers across the country—the product is consumable, so the need is always present…the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil is the most iconic brand name in pencils across the world, and donation recipients ask for them by name.”

I believe that even in this world of consistent technology growth and development, that the everyday need for pencils and core supplies in the classroom is constant. There will always be a need for quality pencil products in order to continue the promotion of learning, and the advancement of an individual’s writing skills. “Studies show that when kids have the necessary supplies to learn, classroom behavior improves, attitudes towards school and learning improve, and kids have a stronger sense of self-esteem” (KINF).  I am personally excited that we have managed to reach this amazing milestone through donations.  As my donation goal had been established in 2009, I had a clear, desired target to reach; I did not know what would happen along the journey, but I knew I would get there.  Just as Forrest Gump had combated his inner struggles of love by deciding to just start running, I saw the immense opportunity to help the children in need that I once was.  By reaching this donation goal, I feel as if I am able to smile when looking back on my earlier years of struggle.  Dixon and the Kids In Need Foundation have reached a coast to coast success, but that does not mean that the mission has ended.  Stay tuned to see where I decide to run next…more exciting things to come!

KINF thank you

*Pictured above is a handwritten letter from a student who was a recipient of Dixon Ticonderoga’s donated products through the Kids In Need Foundation.

Giving Back with SunTrust

I’m extremely lucky to have the opportunity to act on my vision of giving back to the community and being able to help future generations. When I am able to come together with other leaders in the community to ensure this vision comes into fruition, I am truly overjoyed.

Recently, SunTrust generously donated $6,000 to A Gift for Teaching, a Kids In Need Foundation affiliate that provides free school supplies to teachers in the Central Florida area. That money will go towards Dixon Ticonderoga Company backpacks filled with high quality Ticonderoga writing supplies and Prang art supplies for students in Osceola, Orange, and Seminole Counties in Florida. In addition, Dixon also donated a pallet of Prang art supplies. I was delighted to join SunTrust Florida Division President David Fuller in presenting this donation at A Gift For Teaching and personally see the appreciation of teachers who have already identified many students in need.

SunTrust and Dixon Ticonderoga Company are passionate believers that education is the most important factor to guarantee a brighter future. We are happy to help A Gift for Teaching in their mission to improve public education by providing resources and surplus materials free to teachers for their students in need.



Kids In Need Foundation National Summit

Earlier this summer, we had a great time with the folks at the Kids In Need Foundation National Summit. I’ve had the honor of being the event keynote speaker for a couple of years in a row, and it’s always one of my most memorable experiences of the year.

I’m extremely proud of our partnership with the Kids In Need Foundation, which offers teachers free school supplies at their “stores”. It has been our long-time goal to donate enough pencils to span across the United States if laid end to end.  In honor of the Summit this week, I wanted to give you an update on this ambitious goal.

  • Total # of Dollars Donated: $5,331,777.50
  • Total # of Pencils Donated: 17,456,728
    • Total # of Inches: 129,959,411
    • Total # of Feet: 10,829,951
    • Total # of Miles: 2,051

The distance from Augusta, Maine to Los Angeles, California, is about 3,200 miles. That means we’re over halfway to our goal!


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The Dixon Team in Las Vegas for the Kids In Need National Summit.

Big Things Happening in Charleston

About six years ago, a group of charming women from Charleston, South Carolina, decided that too many children in their tri-county school system did not have the basic school supplies needed to learn in their classrooms.  They found this situation to be intolerable and decided to do something about it.  And do something they did!

Flash forward to November 2013 when I had the pleasure of meeting these lovely and dedicated women when they invited me to speak to them at a breakfast meeting.  As the founders of Charleston’s “Teachers’ Supply Closet”, they now provide free school supplies to 34 schools!  But is that enough?  They’ve decided to increase their reach to provide even more free school supplies to 1,200 teachers and 24,000 students.  Supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, art markers, notebooks, rulers – you name it – if it’s needed in a classroom, they strive tirelessly to provide it.  Working in partnership with businesses and individuals, these determined women have streamlined the process to ensure that 95 cents of every dollar donated to the Teachers’ Supply Closet goes directly to supporting teachers and students according to a 2013 independent audit.

Teachers Supply Closet depends on organizations like the Kids In Need Foundation and Dixon Ticonderoga Company to keep supplies handy to educate America’s next generation.  Since 2009, Dixon has donated more than $4.9 million to KINF.  We will continue to do so, and I strongly encourage you to join us.

Let’s do the math.  One idea + one group of dedicated community volunteers = free school supplies for 24,000 students.  Help them out!  We do.  And we’ll continue to do so via one of America’s greatest non-profit organizations, the Kids In Need Foundation.



Dixon and the Kids In Need Foundation

If you laid 13 million pencils end to end, they would extend more than 1,436 miles worth of pencils.  How do I know this? That’s how many pencils Dixon Ticonderoga Company has donated in the past five years. I am on a quest to donate the number of pencils required to reach from coast to coast.

Over the course of the last five years, Dixon Ticonderoga Company has donated more than $4 million worth of product to Kids In Need Foundation Resource Centers across the country.

Last week, we sent another donation with one million Ticonderoga pencils to Kids In Need. The Kids In Need Foundation is dedicated to providing high quality school supplies to underfunded teachers and students in low income areas nationwide, and so am I. That’s 6 out of 10 Teachers across America!

Our annual Kids In Need Donations have become an important event at Dixon Ticonderoga Company. On September 25, 2013 Kids In Need celebrated 15 years of service since its start. As the CEO of some of the finest people I have ever worked with in my career, I was very humbled that they recognized Dixon as one of the Top 15 KINF supporters over that time period. As their chosen National Pencil Sponsor, I can tell you the honor was all mine to support the Kids In Need team across the USA. They are making such a difference, so our giving nature in Dixon really comes easy when it comes to KINF. Teachers Rock and so do you KINF!