Minds On giving back to local schools

Philanthropic Pursuit — By on April 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

Minds On is no stranger to philanthropy. For several years, the top 10-ranked digital marketing agency, headquartered in Lewis Center, has been involved with the Adopt-A-Family program at Christmas and sent designers to classrooms to help students brainstorm for their projects. Recently, Minds On rolled out an exciting new philanthropic venture to donate equipment and books to a local school.

The new effort was initially conceived by Tom Augustine, president of Minds On. He was inspired to create a philanthropic program targeting schools after being honored by his high school.

“Having a successful business allows me to give back,” Augustine explains.

He realized the opportunities he had growing up are not available to everyone. He decided he could give back to great teachers and schools by having them partner with his business.

Augustine took the idea to his team of 13 employees. They then generated several concepts and focused on those they could accomplish. The team used social media to reach out to schools and discover what they needed. Many highlighted a common need: help with providing books and technology. Thus Minds On Learning was born.

After receiving submissions from several schools, the team selected Eastgate Elementary for the pilot project. The original plan involved Minds On donating textbooks to help the elementary school provide more materials for its students. However, another school’s submission caused Minds On Learning to evolve into something much more.

“Buckeye Valley sent us a video they had done as part of a persuasive speech class project,” Augustine says. “The class had clearly gone above and beyond, and we wanted to find a way to recognize that. We went back to the teacher with a proposal to create a used book program to provide books to Eastgate Elementary in exchange for the projector they had requested in the video.”

The students from Buckeye Valley were so excited about the program they took time during their lunch breaks to work on it. The teachers and principal also supported and encouraged the program. In the end, their efforts paid off, as they were able to collect 5,300 books that will be delivered to Eastgate in May.

“We had an idea and it evolved into a business helping kids help kids,” Augustine says proudly.

For the next phase of Mind On Learning, the agency will develop a card and stamp program to encourage students to read. A child will receive a stamp on their card for each book they read. When they obtain a specified number of stamps, they will be able to select a book of their very own free of charge.

Due to the success of the initial program, Minds On is now looking at ways the program can be replicated at other schools and how additional schools, libraries, and businesses can get involved.

Augustine encourages other business to look at how they can give back to the community.

“If you can get your heart and passion behind it, you can do anything,” he says.

Philanthropic Pursuit is a monthly feature on The Metropreneur, powered by Community Shares of Mid Ohio. Is your business giving back to the community or partnering with a local nonprofit in a unique way? We want to hear about it. Contact Ryan Kovalaske at pr@communityshares.net.

Author Bio: Ryan Kovalaske:
Ryan Kovalaske is the Community Relations Director for Community Shares of Mid Ohio, which connects employees to the issues and causes they care about most through workplace giving campaigns. He enjoys supporting nonprofits, exploring Columbus, and making connections.

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