For the fourth year in a row, 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.
“Each year, we are inspired reading the stories of so many who are making a difference in someone’s life,” says Rich Hope, Chief Marketing Officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “That’s been a guiding principle of Jersey Mike’s since our Founder Peter Cancro bought his first sub shop at the age of 17, and we’re happy to recognize these 2021 award recipients who are fulfilling that vision.”
Selected from nearly 5,000 nominations, the 2021 Sub Abover Grants were awarded to:
Mike Jones, The Guru School, in Durham, N.C. “Mike has set up Durham, N.C.’s first minority-owned youth center, and is making a huge difference in the lives of underserved children in his community,” read his nomination. The Guru School started as a basketball skills training program and has developed into a youth center providing after-school tutoring, meals and a safe place to hang out. The program also supports families impacted by Covid-19 by helping students with virtual learning. “Earth is where we live and rent is helping other people,” Mike said. “I try to teach the kids that it’s not about you. How wonderful a place the world would be if we were not only speaking of ourselves.”
Quentin and Jacqueline Murray, The Veteran’s Place, in New Llano, La. Quentin, who served in the U.S. Army for nearly 26 years, and his wife, Jacqueline, established The Veteran’s Place as a nonprofit in 2018. With their motto, “Veterans Helping Veterans,” the organization has served as an important gathering place and resource center offering veteran benefit assistance, community outreach and support, meal programs and food boxes, and more. In response to Covid-19, they partnered with the Food Bank of Central Louisiana and by the end of April 2020, had fed more than 31,500 people. The grant will go toward a new project. “Vernon Parish doesn’t have a shelter and we are starting to renovate space to open what we call ‘The Opportunity House’ to provide immediate shelter for the homeless or if there is a natural disaster,” Quentin said.
Rosalind Rayford, Bella House, in Dallas. A year ago, after earning her master’s degree in social work, Rosalind began working as a senior case manager at Bella House, a residential maternity home for homeless mothers and babies. Bella House provides for the immediate physical and emotional needs of the mothers including shelter, food, clothing and a supportive community. “It’s important for us to work in a nonjudgmental place where the moms feel wanted and needed,” Rosalind said. “We are providing a safe haven and are committed to providing programs that inspire transformation and brighter futures for mothers and their children.”
Jillian Voehl, The Stars Vipers Rainboas, in Richmond, Texas. Jillian, 19, is program director of The Stars Vipers Rainboas, a Cheer Abilities team providing an opportunity for athletes of all abilities to participate and compete in the sport of cheerleading. “Every year, the team asks for more sparkles, and part of the grant will go toward new uniforms,” said Jillian, a student at the University of Houston, majoring in engineering. “It will also help to cover the costs of transportation for athletes to and from competitions and other associated costs for families.”
Emma White, Life Is Worth It, in Reno, Nev. Emma, a suicide survivor, launched Life Is Worth It after seeing the suicide numbers in teens increase due to the pandemic. Built on Emma’s book, It’s Not OK But It Will Be, the organization provides in person and virtual workshops for schools and athletic/club organizations. LifeIsWorthIt.org is a hub for resources, featuring self-help readings and a community of survivors for inspiration to keep fighting. “As a teen struggling with depression due to bullying in high school, I didn’t understand why it was happening, how to cope with mental illness or what the resources were,” Emma said. “I launched Life Is Worth It to provide the help and guides I wish I had at 15.”
“Giving … making a difference in someone’s life” has been the mission of Jersey Mike’s from the beginning. It started with Jersey Mike’s Founder Peter Cancro who shares the importance of giving back and inspires the rest of the company.
Jersey Mike’s believes that making a sub sandwich and making a difference can be one and the same. During the pandemic alone, franchise owners across the country have donated millions of sub sandwiches to healthcare workers, seniors, children and others. The company also donated more than $5 million to Feeding America, $1 million to Aaron Judge’s ALL RISE Foundation and $1 million to support the USTA Foundation’s mission to bring tennis and education together to change lives.