Skip to Content

News and Events

News Release

Staples Foundation for Learning Renews Commitment to Fostering Inner City Businesses by Supporting ICIC-Inc. Magazine's Annual Inner City 100

Partnership Recognizes Entrepreneurs of Minority-Owned Businesses

that Contribute to Economic Development within America's Inner Cities

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 16, 2008--The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote economic prosperity in America's inner cities, today announced Staples Foundation for Learning (SFFL), a private foundation created by Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), has renewed its support of ICIC's Inner City 100 through a $200,000 grant. The Inner City 100 is an annual list published by Inc. Magazine, which ranks and publicizes the fastest growing inner city businesses nationwide.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Inner City 100 fosters the continued growth of minority-owned businesses that promote workforce diversity and contribute to economic development within America's inner cities. SFFL's continued support of the Inner City 100 demonstrates the foundation's commitment to recognizing the impact minority-owned businesses make within inner cities throughout the country. Over the past five years, SFFL has contributed $725,000 in support to ICIC and their Inner City 100 program.

In the past ten years, the Inner City 100 has spotlighted thousands of thriving urban businesses serving regional, national, and international markets; generating valuable new jobs; and making an incalculable difference in their communities. The Inner City 100 acknowledges these growing companies and emphasizes how vital the business sector is in creating healthy urban communities.

"When Staples began work with ICIC five years ago, our goal was to support the recognition of inner city small businesses and honor them for their entrepreneurial spirit and invaluable contribution to society," said Ron Sargent, president of Staples Foundation for Learning and chairman and chief executive officer of Staples, Inc. "Since then, our collaboration has enabled ICIC to acknowledge hundreds of businesses that have been successful in creating jobs, promoting workforce diversity and stimulating economic growth in their respective communities."

"With Staples' support, we are able to celebrate minority-owned businesses that are playing a critical role in urban communities throughout the country," said David G. Latimore, president and chief executive officer of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. "These high-growth businesses help create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents, and they prove our belief that the most effective way to create economic equality in America's inner cities is to focus on sustainable business growth and investment."

This year's Inner City 100 list boasts 33 minority-owned companies, and has a 31 percent minority representation in the 10-year history of the list and a percentage that far exceeds the national average of three percent for minority-owned businesses with annual sales of more than $1 million.

Staples Foundation for Learning will present the top-minority owned company award at the Inner City 100 Awards Dinner, to be held on May 1, 2008, at 7 p.m. at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA. The Inner City 100 Awards Dinner is the grand finale of the Inner City 100 Summit, a dynamic and multifaceted two-day event for Inner City 100 CEOs that includes educational seminars, networking activities and plenary sessions.

About Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC's mission is to promote economic prosperity in America's inner cities through private sector engagement that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents. ICIC brings together business and civic leaders to drive innovation and action, transform thinking and accelerate inner city business growth and investment.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products company. With 76,000 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 2007 sales of $19.4 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

About Staples Foundation for Learning

The mission of Staples Foundation for Learning, Inc. is to teach, train and inspire. Founded in 2002, the foundation has contributed more than $12 million to national and local charities that provide educational opportunities and job skills for all people, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged youth. Staples Foundation for Learning has also developed lasting relationships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Earth Force, Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. In addition, Staples Foundation for Learning supports Ashoka, an organization that develops and supports social entrepreneurs around the world, in eight countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United States. For more information about the foundation or how to apply for a grant, please visit

CONTACT: Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
Deirdre M. Coyle, 617-292-2646
Staples Community Relations
Kristen Ingraham, 781-559-0430

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.