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Case Study: How OfficeMax Helped an Education-Focused Charity Increase Funding and Classroom Adoptions

by Kimberly Smith  |  
December 16, 2008

Company: OfficeMax
Contact: Bob Thacker, SVP of Advertising and Marketing at OfficeMa
Location: Naperville, IL
Industry: Retail, Office Supplies
Annual revenue: $9,082,000,000
Number of employees: 40000

Quick Read

When a group of OfficeMax associates started discussing how the office supply company might give back to the community, Bob Thacker, SVP of Advertising and Marketing for OfficeMax, remembered a personal experience: his wife's retirement from teaching—and the sight of her old, broken classroom desk chair propped up on one side with a dictionary, as it had been for three years, because the school had not been able to afford a new one.

After some research, the company found that due to budget shortfalls many schools lack the resources necessary to properly supply their classrooms. Consequently, teachers spend out of their own pockets—each on average $1,200 annually, according to a National Education Association survey—to supplement what the schools cannot afford.

OfficeMax teamed with nonprofit Adopt-A-Classroom to create an annual event called "A Day Made Better" to recognize and reward standout teachers for their dedication and sacrifice. On the day of the event, employees from the company's field stores and corporate offices surprised selected teachers with over $1,000 in supplies for each, including a printer, a digital camera—and a brand new, fully functional desk chair

A successful inaugural event in 2007 convinced OfficeMax to try for "bigger, deeper, and richer" in 2008 by taking it outside the company, marketing the event and creating national awareness. As a result, Adopt-A-Classroom reports that classroom adoptions increased over 800% this year.


"A Day Made Better" is an annual event created by OfficeMax in partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that matches donors with classrooms in an attempt to supplement—and eventually end—the personal expense that teachers incur to ensure basic supplies for their classrooms.

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via

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