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Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Staples Foundation for Learning Team Up to Mentor America's Future Leaders

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. & ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 17, 2003--

Foundation Provides $2.5 Million Over Three Years to Expand Torch Club Program

Staples Foundation for Learning today announced it has become the national sponsor of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's (BGCA) Torch Club program. A grant of $2.5 million over three years will enable expansion of Torch Club programs to foster thousands of future leaders nationwide.

Torch Clubs provide character building and leadership skills programs for youth ages 11-13. The programs promote positive self-esteem and personal growth, build listening and speaking skills, reinforce academic achievement and encourage the development of conscientious citizens. Club members become role models and ambassadors of character, leadership and service to the community.

"The ages of 11-13 are a critical time when children are forming opinions of themselves and their role in their families and communities," said Roxanne Spillett, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Expanding our Torch Club program is a top priority for us. Support from Staples and their foundation make it possible to provide younger Club members with every opportunity to succeed in life."

"Torch Clubs provide unique opportunities for future leaders to realize their full potential," said Ron Sargent, president of Staples Foundation for Learning and president and CEO of Staples, Inc. "Through Staples Foundation for Learning's grant, we hope to open doors for kids of all backgrounds in communities across the country."

In the first year of this relationship, goals include establishing 100 new Torch Clubs in addition to the 870 that currently exist and expanding the program in Clubs across the country. Additionally, the grant will enable extensive training opportunities for Torch Club staff, expansion of the national service project, regional youth development conferences and Staples Torch Club Awards to annually recognize outstanding programs in community service, education, health and fitness, and social recreation.

About Staples Foundation for Learning

Launched in August of 2002, Staples Foundation for Learning, Inc. is a private foundation created by Staples Inc (NASDAQ: SPLS) to provide funding to charitable programs that support or provide job training or educational opportunities to all people, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged youth. To date, Staples Foundation for Learning has awarded over $1.2 million dollars in grants to non-profit organizations and is a national sponsor of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. For more information about the foundation or how to apply for a grant, please visit

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( comprises a national network of more than 3,300 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 3.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.

Photo Available Upon Request

CONTACT: Staples
Deborah Hohler, 508-253-8509
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Jan Still-Lindeman, 404-487-5739

SOURCE: Staples