BUZZ • PHILANTHROPY Volunteers, board members, supporters and partners celebrate the donation of Subway Kids & Sports’ $1 million last year. (Photo courtesy Subway Kids & Sports)
Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona
everal local Subway franchisees were at a cross roads in 1999. The brand had been growing in the Arizona market since 1983. Given their successes, while the franchisees were fulfilling as many food donations for local charities as possible, they wondered how they might do more. Although it had never been done by a market, brand leaders banded to start a nonprofit to help at-risk kids gain access to sports. “We wanted to support kids in sports because we all believed that basic sports skills — teamwork, commitment and accountability — could help them throughout their lives,” says Mark Roden, a long-time franchisee. “So, 20 years ago this year, Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona was born.” The organization started out small, hosting a golf tournament with vendors, partners and fellow Subway owners and managers to raise funds so it might launch a grant program in town. “At the very beginning, we had high hopes to help a handful of nonprofits in need,” Roden
says. “We never imagined all these years later we would have touched the lives of more than 60,000 families and given away more than $1 million.” But, as of this year, they’ve done just that. With long-time partners like West Liberty Foods, Coca-Cola, Mobivity, Shamrock, Craftmark, Food Services of American, HMA Public Relations and Proof Advertising, the small group of franchisees has transformed into a multifaceted volunteer-led assistance organization for nonprofits that is helping Arizona children. “Today, we primarily give back in two ways: our grant program and Cycle for Success,” says Chad Barnett, a North Valley Subway franchisee and Subway Kids & Sports board member.
Subway Kids & Sports Grant Program Through a months-long vetting process, each year Subway Kids & Sports donates an estimated $50,000 to 75,000 to child-focused nonprofits that are helping get at-risk kids
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access to sports and sports programming. “This is probably the hardest thing we have to do each year,” says Barnett, noting they get upward of $200,000 to 250,000 in grant request dollars annually. “But it is followed, thankfully, by one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of.” Barnett is referring to the time spent late each summer approving and granting as many donations as they can. Just some of the recent recipients of recent Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona grant include: Lions Camp Tatiyee, which provides children with intensive special needs a summer camp experience focused on improving emotional health, confidence and independence, entirely free. Arizona Burn Foundation’s Camp Courage, a summer camp for child burn survivors ages 6 to 15. Candlelighters of Southern Arizona, a therapeutic summer camp program for children who are undergoing multiyear battles