CHARITY AND PRINTING -- An Industry that Gives Back

Managing Editor

If Steve Johnson has a passion outside of Carol Stream, IL-based Copresco that rivals his commitment to his digital printing operation, it is community and international service. The company president spends hundreds of hours of his personal time each year helping others. His resume of service activities is both extensive and impressive.

Johnson was recently recognized by Educate the Children International for his assistance in sending textbooks to African schools. A digital printer of books and manuals, Copresco printed promotional materials and provided materials handling and logistical support for the humanitarian project.

Educate the Children President Scott Martin (left) and Executive Director Karen Martin flank Copresco President Steve Johnson as they fill boxes with books and other educational materials set to be shipped to needy children in Africa.
Educate the Children International, a Glen Ellyn, IL-based not-for-profit organization, has collected more than 300,000 books from local schools and business donors. Books and other materials have been sent to schools in Kenya and Uganda and an orphanage school in Nairobi.

"Projects like this have an enormous impact on the culturally disadvantaged," Johnson says. "We can't think of a better way to enlighten children than through dissemination of the printed word. Books that stimulate the mind and stir the imagination are crucial to the learning process. We appreciate the opportunity to use our professional skills for such a worthwhile venture."

Johnson and Copresco have also developed a unique working relationship with the Northern Illinois Food Bank in St. Charles, IL. The Food Bank, which serves as a distribution center for a five-county area, has a continuing need for delivery boxes. Meanwhile, Copresco receives hundreds of boxes of paper each month for its digital printing operations.

"Here was a perfect win-win opportunity," Johnson explains. "In November 1998, we began delivering a skid-load of boxes to the food pantry every other week. So those in need are now getting a helping hand from a 'recycled' waste product."

As a company, Copresco has contributed a portion of its profits to charitable causes since its inception in October 1987. Personally, Johnson has worked with youth exchange programs for 18 years. Students stay in touch with Johnson and his wife, Heidi—their "American mom and dad"—via calls, cards and holiday visits. One of Johnson's memorable trips took him to Japan where he officiated at the wedding of a former exchange student.

A member of the Rotary Club of Wheaton, IL, Johnson served as the organization's youth exchange chairman for more than eight years and frequently serves as a member of the board of directors with responsibilities for international service.

In June 1999, he was named Rotarian of the Year by the Wheaton club for his commitment to Rotary' s principle of "Service Above Self." Johnson is a Sustaining Paul Harris Fellow—a designation that reflects an ongoing financial commitment to the Rotary Foundation, a trust that funds educational, health care and humanitarian projects throughout the world.

While Johnson's history of service obviously is commendable, his acts are not uncommon in the graphic arts industry. Similar stories can be told from all corners of the printing world.

As one of the owners of Agoura Hills, CA-based Copy-rite Printing, Ed Corridori kept a hectic schedule. But when he saw that his community was in need of some leadership, he knew he had to step in and help.

"I got interested in local government because of my involvement with youth sports groups," Corridori explains. "I coached youth basketball and served on the board of a volunteer organization for youth basketball. We had a major problem because we did not have enough gym facilities in our area to accommodate all the kids who wanted to play. I began to lobby our city council to build a recreation center, and soon learned that there were a lot of other needs in our community that the council was struggling to provide."

He was soon asked to participate on some citizen committees to help meet those needs. Corridori decided to run for office in 1993 when two incumbents chose not to seek re-election. He was the top vote getter among six candidates and has served two terms as Agoura Hills' mayor since then.

Making a Difference
"I am very proud of the major improvements to our community that have occurred during my term in office," Corridori points out. "We maintain a very safe city with exceptionally low crime. We built that gymnasium/community center by forming a partnership with a nearby city and sharing the costs and usage. It was the first time that two cities in California have partnered on a major recreation facility."

Agoura Hills is the "Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains" and the city has added more than 200 acres of open space to protect wildlife habitat and the mountain vistas enjoyed by residents and visitors. Corridori got involved with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) because of his commitment to environmental protection.

The SMMC is a state agency that works hand-in-hand with the state and national park services to acquire, or otherwise protect, significant natural areas as parkland. The agency uses funds approved by the voters of the state to buy parkland or to provide matching fund grants to other public agencies to buy parklands. The main goal is to preserve unspoiled lands, like the Santa Monica Mountains, and the animal and plant species that thrive there.

"We are stewards of the land for future generations," he maintains. "We need to protect the natural resources and wildlife habitat so that our grandchildren can enjoy the natural world as much as we do today. Our city has an appointment to the Advisory Committee of the SMMC. I asked for the job and was chosen by the city council."

The future is important in other ways, as well. Since finding qualified graphic arts employees is vital to this industry, Quad/Graphics has awarded the hearty sum of $1 million to the WCTC Foundation to benefit Waukesha County (WI) Technical College as part of a long-term partnership that will sustain the school's printing and graphic communications program.

The company's contribution—made in the name of the late Harry V. Quadracci, founder of Quad/Graphics—will be used to continually upgrade the equipment on which students are trained, as well as provide scholarship assistance to students interested in graphic arts careers.

As part of the partnership, Waukesha County Technical College's one-year-old Graphic Communications Center was named the Harry V. Quadracci Printing and Graphics Center in recognition of the many contributions Harry made to advance both print technology and education.

The $1 million gift was made possible, in large part, by contributions from Quad/Graphics' clients, vendors, employees and friends who gave generously to the Harry V. Quadracci Memorial Fund. Those contributions, which totaled $500,000, were matched, dollar-for-dollar, by Quad/Graphics' Windhover Foundation for a total gift of $1 million.

Poster Child for Giving
Tursack Printing of Morgantown, PA, (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Consolidated Graphics) and Jeff Julian, a documentary photographer from Reading, PA, have collaborated on the production of a promotional poster in cooperation with and for the benefit of the Muhammad Ali Center, being built in Louisville, KY. The donated posters were developed to help promote and build excitement for the Center, which is expected to open in late 2004/early 2005.

Lonnie and Muhammad Ali, along with their nephew Corey Williams (left), present an autographed poster to the Conway Middle School in Louisville, KY. The posters, donated by Tursack Printing, help to promote the 2004 opening of the Muhammad Ali Center.
"We are thrilled with this generous donation," says Michael J. Fox, president/CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, "as it will help us promote the opening of our institution. Jeff Julian and Tursack Printing are a creative team who have taken their collective passions for their work and Muhammad Ali, and have provided a service to our developing organization."

The Ali Center is an educational and cultural institution that preserves and shares the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali. The $42 million, 93,000 square foot Muhammad Ali Center is being built along Louisville's revitalized waterfront and is expected to draw 400,000 visitors each year to the city.

Printing equipment manufacturers also have gotten into the charity act. Heidelberg USA, for example, continues to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northern Illinois and its mission to enhance children's lives by donating thousands of dollars of materials printed on Heidelberg equipment.

Heidelberg, a partner of Make-A-Wish for more than 12 years, has printed a variety of items for the foundation, including corporate brochures, posters, donor material and volunteer recruitment materials.

"We're very grateful that Heidelberg continues to support our efforts," says Linda Parck, director of donor relations for Make-A-Wish. "Their donation enables us to concentrate on the children—our main focus—and not on obtaining materials to administer our program."

Some donations are more unusual than others. A.B.Dick made a significant equipment contribution to the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI, with a gift of several unique pieces of vintage printing equipment.

A.B.Dick memorabilia totaling 25 pieces in all were donated to the Ford museum. Three Edison mimeographs dating circa 1887 and 1894, and three Edison Dick mimeographs built between 1913 and 1932, were included in the shipment.

Of course these are just a few of the countless number of kind acts put forth by the graphic arts community. Soon after the September 11 tragedy, the printing industry came to the aid of terrorist attack victims. Numerous printers and vendors donated time, materials and money to various relief efforts. Patriotic signs, posters and the like were made available by printers from across the country, mostly free of charge, to help build unity, awareness and to promote patriotism.

In a time with not much good news in the printing industry or the world as a whole, stories like these can make you proud to be a part of this industry.

Copryight © 2003 North American Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved.