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Staples Teams Up With Chicago Bear Charles Tillman to Award More Than $50,000 to Chicagoland Parks
Staples Dream Park Challenge Winner LaFollette Park Receives Grand-Prize Donation for Park Improvements at Soldier Field Ceremony
FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Jan 28, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), the world's largest office products company, and Chicago Bears player Charles "Peanut" Tillman today announced LaFollette Park as the winner of the Staples Dream Park Challenge. Tillman, Michael McCaskey, chairman of the board of Chicago Bears and Staples presented a check for $25,000 to representatives from LaFollette Park for a new scoreboard for all park sports including Jr. Bears football games.

"Austin community residents really wanted to help their local park and support area youth," said Tillman. "The neighborhood demonstrated its commitment by placing 92,000 votes, almost one-third of the total received for the program, to help LaFollette Park win the grand prize and create a better environment for the deserving Jr. Bears players who worked so hard to win."

Staples and Charles Tillman teamed up for the Staples Dream Park Challenge, a park improvement initiative involving 14 Jr. Bears parks in Chicago. During the challenge, which occurred Oct. 23 - Dec. 31, 2007, Staples invited residents to vote for their local park at Second-place Dunham Park in Dunning will receive $10,000 and third-place Ada Park in Morgan Park will get $5,000 for park improvements. The remaining 11 parks that participated in the program will each receive $1,000.

LaFollette Park officials plan to use the $25,000 to enhance the playing field with a new scoreboard and bleachers, and will also be polling the surrounding community members on enhancements they would like to see made at the park.

To generate excitement for the Staples Dream Park Challenge, James Bailey, the coach of the LaFollette Jr. Bears team, organized family weekends for all of the teams that use LaFollette Park. During the family days, Bailey and other parents drove to Staples stores around Chicagoland to collect "Power Cards," which let users obtain 10 extra online votes for their local park by entering a special code.

"Staples is committed to providing resources to those who need it most," said Bob Wolfe, regional vice president of Staples. "From educating children to supporting local parks, we are proud to make this donation and look forward to continuing to make a difference in Chicagoland."

Being a part of the Chicago Park District wasn't the only way to be a winner in the Staples Dream Park Challenge. All local residents who voted for their favorite park were automatically entered for a chance to meet Charles Tillman. The five lucky winners of the private meet and greet with Tillman were Catherine Vaughn, of Chicago; Thomas Mikrut of Aurora; Mary Motyka of Chicago; Kathleen O'Meara of Chicago; and Tracy Wilczynski of Chicago.

"I'm extremely proud to represent the 37th Ward," said Alderman Emma Mitts. "The community came together with the goal of winning $25,000 for Lafollette Park and that's exactly what happened! Congratulations to the residents, schools and community partners who worked hard to achieve this goal."

Staples continues to demonstrate its commitment to Chicago by investing in grassroots local community organizations. Since it first opened its doors in Chicagoland in 2004, Staples has donated nearly $550,000 to educational non-profit organizations in the area. Each Chicagoland store location has adopted a local non-profit partner by contributing funds or providing much-needed support, such as office product donations. In addition, Staples has supported a number of educational organizations throughout the city through Staples Foundation for Learning (SFFL), a private foundation created by Staples, Inc. To date, SFFL has donated more than $12 million to non-profit organizations around the country that provide educational and job skills training programs to all people, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged youth.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products company. With 74,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2006 sales of $18.2 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 22 countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at

SOURCE Staples, Inc.