As not-for-profits seek to find creative ways to finance its programs and survive in the current economic downturn, one charity is seeking to capitalize on the power of internet and celebrity. The New York based Jamaican charity, Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) inc. has joined forces with the world’s fastest man Usain “Lighting” Bolt and PUMAVision in this latest initiative to raise well needed funds to carry out its mission in Jamaica as well as the United States.
The bidding for the limited edition PUMA ® Cell Mio Bolt has started at US$750 and persons have until Tuesday, April 21, 2009 to be part of history and own a valuable sporting memorabilia. The sneakers (UK size 13) is one of three pairs donated by PUMAVision to COJO as part its community outreach efforts as they seek to partner with worthwhile causes. The sneakers were on display during COJO’s Annual Scholarship Gala held on the first Saturday of December last year.
PUMAVision is PUMA’s way of uniting all initiatives that come under the heading ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and giving them a coherent direction and framework,” says Chairman and CEO Jochen Zeitz. “It comes from a vision that is better than the one we know now – a world that is safer, more peaceful and more creative. Through the programs of puma.safe (focusing on environmental and social issues), puma.peace (supporting global peace), and puma.creative) supporting artists and creative organizations), that vision becomes a practical reality.”
Chairman of COJO Gary Williams wishes to express its thanks to PUMAVision for the donation of the three pairs of sneakers and to Usain Bolt for taking the time out of his demanding training schedule to autograph the sneakers. “All proceeds raised from this auction will go towards establishing a scholarship called ‘The PUMA Usain Bolt Scholarship’ which will be awarded to a deserving child,” said Williams, COJO Chairman .
PUMA had released 180 pairs of the sneakers in commemoration of Bolt’s 100m world record run at the Reebok Grand Prix at the Icahn Stadium in May last year, a mark he since lowered at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The PUMA ® Cell Mio Bolt features an all black-white stripe upper on top of a bright blue translucent Cell sole. Inscribed all over in blue & copper metallic ink are goal/positive statements Bolt etched to reinforce his determination to win.
COJO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in New York, whose mission is to help improve the health, education and general well being of underprivileged children.
Over the past decade, the volunteer-driven organization has supported a number of institutions in Jamaica as well as the United States. Among them are the Alpha Boys’ Home; Glenhope Place of Safety; Marigold Child Care Centre and the Musgrave Girls’ Home in Jamaica; and in New York, the Jamaica, Queens YMCA and Leaf of Life.