Expanding Our Grant to Maximize Social Impact

By Russ Stoddard / Dec 17, 2015

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Since our Idaho brand agency was founded in 1991, Oliver Russell has contributed nearly $1.8 million in competitive grants to worthy causes. We’ve helped create community gardens and human rights memorials, provided air conditioning for seniors’ homes and swimming lessons for at-risk youth. We even helped support the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic women’s fencing team.

It’s been a great 24 years, but it’s time for our grant to evolve and be more reflective of our current efforts. Today we’re excited to announce Call to Action. More than just a grant, this new program pulls together all our existing social impact measures—and even adds a few new ones.

Img Collage

Top left: Our grant brought a grassroots brand to life for lovers of heirloom tomatoes everywhere. Bottom left: We were a lead sponsor for the World Winter Special Olympics Games. Bottom center: Our $25,000 grant and PR effort ignited fundraising for the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Far right: Our brand to fight global warming, Sasquatch (or Sassy): "Only you can reduce your carbon footprint."

Ready, Set, Action!

We’re kicking things off with our revamped Call to Action Grant. In the past we’ve offered up 10 percent of our before-tax profit in the form of a grant to a deserving nonprofit that was generally used for socially responsible marketing. But legal status is no longer indicative of an organization’s social impact. With the rise of B Corps, Benefit Corporations, and socially responsible companies (all things we support), we figured it was time to expand our possible grant recipients to include social ventures and entrepreneurial individuals that are making positive social and environmental change.

So if you or your organization are ready to make some change and need some help in the form of marketing services like identity development, marketing campaigns, website development—or even if you just need some cold, hard cash - watch our site for information about our annual grant. The application deadline has passed for 2016, but will open back up at the beginning of 2017.

Grant criteria: We want to work with people who are out to change the way the world works. Each application will be given careful consideration based on these criteria, among others:

  • Does the project provide a measureable return on our efforts, or do "the greatest collective good?" 
  • Does the project have a dedicated project lead?
  • Are you/your organization willing to give Oliver Russell and our creative team a great degree of creative freedom?
  • Do your/your organization’s values align with Oliver Russell’s? (Creative, Collaborative, Progressive, Socially Responsible)

Timeline:

  • Application deadline: The application deadline has passed for 2016.
  • Awardees announced: Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Call to Action: Volunteering

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  • Every month, Oliver Russell employees coordinate a company-wide volunteer event in the community. Whether it’s packing bags at a food bank, serving meals to the homeless, or picking up trash along our beautiful Boise Greenbelt, we’re game for pretty much anything that makes Boise a better place to live for everyone.

    We’ve also made it easier for our employees to support their personal causes by matching the hours they volunteeroutside of work with hours they can use to volunteer during work (up to four hours a month). On any given day, it’s a good bet you’ll find our folks mentoring kids, serving on boards or maintaining trails up on the Foothills.

    In 2015, Oliver Russell employees gave 920 hours of their time to the community.

    Volunteer Photos

    What's Next?

    We have big plans for Call to Action, including investing in companies making positive social impact, and an educational marketing series geared at aiding triple-bottom-line companies. We also hope other companies will hear our rallying cry and use their business as a force for good—and support others who are working towards positive social and environmental change. 

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    Thumbnails People Russ Stoddard

    Russ Stoddard

    Russ started Oliver Russell in 1991. He’s committed his career (nearly 30 years) to social responsibility, first inside the corporate world and then as an entrepreneur who’s started four companies and five nonprofit causes. Russ is the author of "Rise Up - How to Build a Socially Conscious Business," and his creative work has been honored with local, regional, and national creative awards. These days, Russ focuses on brand strategy for clients, spreading the Certified B Corp love, and connecting kindred spirits to multiply social impact.

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