HUDSON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For more than 16 million children living in poverty, school supplies can be nearly impossible to come by, and creative arts activities often go by the wayside. With the help of JOANN Stores, the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) has given millions of disadvantaged students the chance to learn using their hands, hearts and minds. Over the past 15 years, the nation’s leading fabric and craft retailer has donated more than $150 million in supplies to the organization, in addition to $500,000 to fund the annual KINF teacher grant program.
“Sadly, school and art supplies are a luxury that many teachers and students in our country are not guaranteed,” said Jill Soltau, president and CEO of JOANN. “Our business has always been committed to supporting learning, and we believe that includes inspiring imagination and creativity in students of all situations. Our work with Kids In Need has allowed JOANN to make a real difference for millions of students each year, and we’re proud to be the longest-standing partner of this impactful organization.”
KINF recently recognized the broad impact of the unique partnership at its annual gala, awarding JOANN the Kids In Need Reach Out Award. Through localized donations from its 867 stores across the United States, JOANN has given more than $150 million in supplies to classrooms since 2014. Disadvantaged classrooms receive supplies they would otherwise go without each month, with the help of JOANN store managers and KINF volunteers nationwide.
“Studies show that teachers spend almost $600 of their own money each year on supplies for students whose families just can’t afford it,” said Dave Smith, director of Kids In Need Foundation. “This is a very tough position to be in, when teachers may be choosing between spending on their own families or their students. We are on a mission to lift that burden for as many schools as possible, and in 2016, we assisted nearly 200,000 teachers across the country by providing quality school supplies to fill that gap.”
The organization focuses on districts most in need, and generally partners with schools where 70 percent or more students receive free or reduced lunch. Through several programs, resource centers and aid initiatives, KINF aims to have helped 1 billion students by 2018.
In addition to the in-kind supplies it provides through its stores, JOANN has also supported the organization’s grant program since 2002, giving $500,000 that has allowed more than 1,200 teachers to purchase additional supplies and learning tools for their classrooms.
“We believe every student should have the tools and opportunity to gain a love for learning, and Kids In Need is making significant efforts toward that goal,” said Soltau. “We learn in all kinds of ways, including through the creative arts. All students can create and learn with access to the right materials, and through this partnership, JOANN is proud to further our mission: to inspire creativity in ourselves and others.”
For nearly 75 years, JOANN has inspired creativity in the hearts, hands and minds of its customers. From a single storefront in Cleveland, Ohio, the nation’s leading fabric and craft retailer has grown to include more than 865 stores across 49 states and an industry-leading e-commerce business. With the goal of helping every customer find their creative Happy Place, JOANN serves as a convenient single stop for all of the supplies, guidance and inspiration needed to achieve any project or passion. For store locations, project ideas and a full product offering, visit joann.com.
About Kids In Need Foundation
The Kids In Need Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. The Kids In Need Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1995, has distributed nearly $900 million in school supplies, directly benefiting 5.4 million students and nearly 200,000 teachers annually. For more information, visit KINF.org, and join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @KidsInNeed