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Sayville Target Could Be a Boon to Schools, Community Groups

Big box retailer sponsors several grants and programs in store community locations.

While community discussion of how a Target store in Sayville may or may not hurt the downtown business district continues, there is little debate on the retailer’s impact when it comes to community service and educational gains.

The brand name luxury goods discounter has been providing community donations, volunteer efforts and educational grant programs to store location communities since it started business in 1947.

It now gives 5 percent of its profits each year to community service and educational organizations, which equals about $4 million each week.

That’s a prime reason Sayville’s school chief views Target’s possible arrival as a good thing for the community.

“Target has a history of supporting education through grants and other programs,” said Superintendent Dr. Walter Schartner.

As reported by Patch, Target is aiming to move into the Attias Flea Market site, at the corner of Broadway Avenue and the south side service road of Sunrise Highway in late 2013. According to town planning officials Target will demolish the current building.

Target would not comment on the impending project, stating it does not confirm new openings until one year from the date of a grand opening event.

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Target employed 365,000 U.S. workers as of the end of 2011 and 66 of its 1, 781 stores are in New York. As of 2011 employees had logged 474,500 volunteer hours in store location communities.

“When we choose a site we are very selective and we strive to balance that with the decision being a good fit for the community,” said Sara Van Nevel, a Target spokesperson. “We strive to be a good neighbor,” she told Patch in a phone interview.

The ‘good neighbor’ effort involves educational and community service efforts that range from offering an initial $500 Book Award to the local school district when a store opens, to grant programs for both educational and local service organizations.

“We hire about 200 employees for each store, and they give time as volunteers to the community of the store,” she told Patch.

While Van Nevel would not comment on how many stores Target is launching in 2013, the retailer opened up 23 stores between March and October of 2012, according to Van Nevel.

But that’s not the only expansion happening for the retailer.

“We’re on track to hit $1 billion given in educational donations, nationwide, by 2015,” Van Nevel said.

In 2011, Target donated $100 million for education, bringing the total giving to date to $679 million.

Community service programs funded by Target include the Take Charge Educational Program which has given $324 million to schools since it was launched in 1997, according to Target’s online press center.

This past July Target debuted a new, one-of-a-kind giving online Facebook campaign that added up to a $5 million donation for K-12 schools across the U.S.

For four weeks, visitors to Target's Facebook page cast votes for the K-12 school of their choice via the Give with Target app; every 25 votes a school got earned them a $25 GiftCard to use for school supplies, field trips, programs and anything else needed, with each participating school eligible to receive up to $10,000 in GiftCards.

The app was so popular, according to Target's press statements, Facebook users allotted the total $2.5 million donation to schools two weeks earlier than anticipated. In addition 100 more in-need schools received $25,000 grants as part of the campaign, adding another $2.5 million for schools.

In 2011 it helped fund 42 elementary school library makeovers, making the total 118 nationwide since that program was launched in 2007.

KC - Sayville October 20, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Anything but that seedy flea market....
M. Flood October 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I would love for that eye sore of a flea market to go away.

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