Retail Observer

February 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 57 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM FEBRUARY 2021 58 I f a good way to tackle the fear evoked by the pandemic is through giving, as AVB/BrandSource CEO Jim Ristow advises, then the buying group is fighting back big time. After forming a Charity Committee to find a virtuous (and cost- effective) recipient of the group's goodwill, the independent dealer organization followed up on the suggestion of AVB Marketing staffer Amanda Nelson and alighted on Together We Rise. This California-based non-profit is dedicated to bettering the lives of the hundreds of thousands of children and young adults who find themselves adrift in the nation's foster care system. Often forgotten by the public and too often the victims of abuse and neglect, these youngsters face constant uncertainty and anxiety, which has only been compounded by the pandemic. By partnering with social workers, child advocacy groups, volunteers and organizations like AVB/BrandSource, Together We Rise performs thousands of acts of kindness that can brighten the days and change the future for these foster kids. Among its efforts: bringing separated siblings together for reunification events; providing bicycles and skateboards to those who've lost the simple joys of childhood; and granting scholarships to college-bound students and easing their transition to campus life. For BrandSource's part, the group's contribution – culled from the generous donations of vendor partners, board members, region chapters and AVB staff – will help provide foster kids with carryalls to replace the trash bags many use to cart their meager possessions. The new duffel bags will be stuffed with essentials like blankets, hygiene kits and even BrandSource teddy bears, to help instill a sense of permanence and worth. As part of a recent "Month of Giving" campaign, BrandSource raised nearly $220,000 for the cause – an AVB record – helped by matching grants from the group and CEO Ristow, and topped by a $30,000 pledge from GE Appliances. "I am so excited about the progress we are making and the interest everyone has shown in our new charity partner," said AVB Marketing's Nelson. "The people that make up the organization, how they came to be, and the work they do are very special." "We couldn't think of a better way for our members and vendor partners to make an impact on everyone's future," added Jennifer Baldwin, AVB's general manager of customer experience. "The cost of not investing in our foster youth is far greater. What many people don't realize is that our economy suffers as a whole when 70 percent of foster care clientele require government assistance by the time they age out of the system. By investing in them early they will get the support they need to finish high school and receive a college degree or necessary work experience so they can contribute to growing our marketplace." The fundraising campaign continues a longstanding AVB tradition of helping children, and follows 2019's $154,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Arizona and 2018's $75,000 contribution to Toys for Tots. Alan Wolf is Senior Communications Specialist for AVB/ BrandSource, the nation's leading merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, home furnishings and consumer tech dealers. B U Y I N G G R O U P N E W S BRANDSOURCE 'MONTH OF GIVING' CAMPAIGN AIDS FOSTER KIDS AVB/BrandSource achieved "Superhero" status with its nearly $200,000 donation to Together We Rise which assists children and young adults in foster care. RO

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