For the fifth year, Jersey Mike’s Subs has awarded five $5,000 Sub Abover grants to those making a difference in their local communities. The grants are designed to help the winners make an even bigger impact.
“Since we started the program, Jersey Mike’s has awarded $125,000 in grants to individuals and organizations that are making a big difference in our local communities,” says Rich Hope, Chief Marketing Officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “We are inspired by the thousands of nomination stories we received and congratulate our 2022 Sub Abover grant recipients.”
Selected from nearly 3,200 nominations, the 2022 Sub Abover grants were awarded to:
Stacey Dragon of Bristol Sports in Bristol Borough, Penn. “My Mom works tirelessly to make sure all the kids in our town that want to play sports, play… But with Covid, her program was hit hard financially with limited local sponsorship and funding,” her son wrote in his nomination. Dragon said that if a family can’t afford to participate, they will find the funds so the child can play for free and get the needed equipment, whether for baseball, softball or kickball. “We see a real need for these programs,” said Dragon. “Kids that are involved are less likely to get in trouble or miss school. The team atmosphere helps build better bonds with other kids and their families, strengthening our town as a whole.”
Kia Green of Building Futures Inc. in Los Angeles. “From losing her job, car, apartment, most of her belongings and becoming homeless, she [Green] managed to remain focused and resilient to keep her sight set on her goal which was to start a nonprofit organization for underserved and at-risk youth,” read her nomination. After graduating from college, Green moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia where she struggled after being laid off. In 2010, she registered Building Futures as a nonprofit which now serves L.A. County and surrounding areas. Green said the grant will help them invest in technology to continue their mission to enrich, educate and empower underserved youth to become successful leaders of tomorrow. “Teens want to be heard and have a voice,” said Green. “I try to motivate and push them. They know I believe in them.”
Kenneth Isaacson of Kid Santa in Kalamazoo, Mich. Isaacson “grew up in foster homes and remembers being alone on many Christmas mornings and not receiving any gifts. He has devoted his spare time and spare money to help give a Christmas to those that can’t afford to have one themselves,” read his nomination. Isaacson started Kid Santa in 2018 when he was just 17 years old. Last year, Isaacson and his team delivered gifts across Michigan, driving 1,000 miles in a single night to “bring Santa to life,” ensuring wrapped gifts arrive on Christmas morning. “Picking kids is the hardest part,” said Isaacson. “There are more people needing help in the world than people to give help.”
Ashlee Smith, Ashlee’s Toy Closet, in Reno, Nev. Smith started her nonprofit organization at the age of 8 after losing everything in a house fire. “When my dad [a firefighter] sent the pictures from the big forest fire in Tahoe and I saw the burnt toys, I remember how I felt after our fire and I wanted to do something,” said Smith, a recent college graduate. “What is the most important thing for kids? Toys!” To date, Ashlee’s Toy Closet has distributed more than 5 million toys to those impacted by fires – whether single home or widespread forest fires.
Janelle Towne of Home 2 Home Project in Western Springs, Ill. It all started in 2016 when Towne contacted a local homeless shelter to secure service hours for her daughter. “Later, I learned that when homeless people are leaving shelters and getting back on their feet, they usually move into an empty apartment with nothing more than an air mattress,” said Towne. That’s when Home 2 Home’s mission began: to furnish the homes of formerly homeless families by repurposing gently used furniture and household items. Since that time, the organization has provided beautiful homes to hundreds of people including U.S. military veterans, domestic abuse survivors, and children. In five years, only 1 percent of those they have helped have returned to homelessness.
Since Jersey Mike’s Founder and CEO Peter Cancro bought his first sub shop at the age of 17, “Giving … making a difference in someone’s life” has been the company’s long-time mission.
In the last decade alone, locations throughout the country have raised more than $68 million for local charities, including an incredible $15 million for more than 200 local charities during last year’s Month of Giving in March.