IKEA ANNOUNCES FINALISTS OF “LIFE IMPROVEMENT SABBATICAL CONTEST”

IKEA ANNOUNCES FINALISTS OF “LIFE IMPROVEMENT SABBATICAL CONTEST”



Contest Winner – Determined by Public Vote – Will Receive $100,000 to
Advance Project that Improves the Lives of Others


CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (December 13, 2010) – IKEA, The Life Improvement Store, announced today the five (5) finalists of the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest who are in the running to win a year-long sabbatical* (worth $100,000) to improve the lives of others. Understanding that people have a desire to be a positive force within their community, IKEA offered this unique contest to give one deserving winner the opportunity to pursue their passion, and share their experience with the world. From December 13, 2010 – January 17, 2011, the public can vote for their favorite project online at http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/ to determine the winner, who will be announced on January 31. IKEA will donate $1.00 to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs for every vote received (up to $50,000).


“We have been touched by the thoughtful, passionate ideas that were in the nearly 2,000 contest submissions; we want to commend everyone for their heartfelt commitment to improve the lives of others,” says Leontyne Green, Marketing Manager, IKEA North America. “IKEA believes in creating a better everyday life for the many people and we are excited to support the winner in advancing his or her passion project that will impact the lives of many.”


The five (5) finalists (in no particular order) are as follows:


· LaJuana Moser (California City, CA): As a foster mom, LaJuana created bags4kids after years of seeing foster children moved from home to home with only the clothes on their backs. She has since delivered over 8,000 bags filled with personal care products, toys and other necessities for these children. With funding, LaJuana would expand bags4kids to reach more children in need in California and across the country.


· Ralph Johnson (Hempstead, NY): Ralph has been bringing the wonders of science to at-risk students for nearly two decades, exposing them to programs in agricultural science, medical investigation, forensics, and science research. His educational and mentoring efforts have changed more than 800 teens’ lives. With funding, Ralph will expand the program to reach nearly three times the amount of students in New York communities.

· Kyria Henry (Round Hill, VA): At just 12 years old, Kyria Henry founded paws4people, and later paws4vets, training and pairing service dogs with children, seniors, seriously ill and disabled people, and war veterans needing assistance. A year-long sabbatical will allow Kyria to devote her full attention to the paws4vets program, providing service dogs to assist retired and active-duty military veterans as a tool to ease emotional, physical and psychological traumas and help them return to normal life.

· Philip Filner (Lutherville, MD): When retired scientist Philip Filner learned about an unused greenhouse at Baltimore’s Northwestern High School, he knew it was an opportunity to give hands-on courses in biology and environmental science and set students on a path of discovering future career paths. With funding, Philip could create a teaching laboratory, using the greenhouse as a facility for experiments, skilled crafts, and a tool to encourage students to ask questions and learn about nature.

· Elizabeth Woods (Waxhaw, NC): After losing her son and her Special Forces husband, Elizabeth created Soul Widows, a support group and online community of resources, forums and retreats for others experiencing loss. With funding, Elizabeth hopes to provide regular meeting spaces, fund therapists and allow continued support to widows through her organization.


In addition the year-long sabbatical* (worth $100,000), the winner will also receive a 3-day/2-night trip to a spa resort in Phoenix, AZ, (date TBD) to participate in a one hour life coaching session with O, The Oprah Magazine’s life coach Dr. Martha Beck, and will be featured in advertorials in issues of O, The Oprah Magazine. The public can also continue to follow the winner throughout the year as his/her project is chronicled on http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/.


IKEA launched the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest as part of the company’s Life Improvement Project, an initiative designed to educate, inspire and empower people to improve their lives at home, as well as the lives of others in their community. In addition to the contest, the national program consists of a series of free Life Improvement Store Seminars for consumers, hosted in IKEA stores across the U.S. and a Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge to provide $10,000 each to support five winning community projects suggested by teams of IKEA employees (co-workers) across the country. This challenge gave IKEA co-workers the opportunity to win additional funding and support for a local charitable organization/cause of their choice. The winning community projects will be announced in late-December.


For more information on The Life Improvement Project, including the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest, Life Improvement Store Seminars and Life Improvement Store Challenge, visit http://www.thelifeimprovementproject.com/.


* The grand prize winner is not required to take a leave of absence from work. If the grand prize winner chooses to take leave from employment to work on their project, they can utilize a portion of the prize toward living expenses.

ABOUT IKEA


There are currently more than 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, has offered home furnishings and accessories of good design and quality at prices so low that the majority of people can afford them. TIME Magazine listed IKEA as one of the top 8 most global eco-conscious companies. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.



GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK ~ Handmade, Fair Trade Chocolate Treats!

A gourmet delight that lives up to its name, Divine Chocolate is made with only the finest quality, fairly traded cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of smallholder farmers in Ghana. The cocoa is grown in the shade of the tropical rainforest,and slowly fermented and dried in the sun by farmers who take great pride in the chocolate company they co-own. Choosing delicious Divine gives you guaranteed pleasure — and the farmers a guaranteed fair deal and chance to invest in a better future.

•Dark Chocolate ingredients: cocoa mass (70% cocoa solids), sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soya lecithin (non GM), vanilla


•Milk Chocolate ingredients: sugar, cocoa butter, dried cream, cocoa mass, whole milk powder, emulsifier: soya lecithin(nonGM), vanilla


•White Chocolate ingredients: sugar, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, butterfat, emulsifier: soya lecithin (non GM), vanilla


•Fair Trade Certified


•Net wt. 3.5 oz 100G


•Handmade and fairly traded from Ghana


Created to help women worldwide gain economic security for themselves and their families by earning fair wages for their handiwork, Global Girlfriend sources women-made, fair-trade imported, eco-friendly products. By supporting long-term partnerships with the artisans, it fosters equal employment opportunities, healthy and safe working conditions, technical assistance, and development strategies to help reduce poverty, one community at a time. Become a “Global Girlfriend” and help build a brighter future for girlfriends around the globe! At just $5 per bar, this treat goes a long way, funding up to 25 cups of food when purchased at thehungersite.com.

GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK ~ Charity Holiday Cards

U.S. consumers purchase approximately 7 billion greeting cards each year, generating some $7.5 Billion in retail sales. The good news is we can purchase greeting cards that give back. You can find beautiful Holiday cards from many of your favourite organizations like UNICEF and the American Cancer Society at local retailers and online. 100% of your card purchase’s net proceeds will help worthy causes.



Make your holiday cards go even further: After the holiday’s you can recycle your cards by sending them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a home for abused children in Nevada, where they make new cards from old ones and sell them to support the ranch. Go to stjudesranch.org for instructions.

Pink Product ~ Alex Woo/Christina Applegate TREE OF LIFE pendant

Alex Woo’s latest contribution towards fighting for breast cancer research and awareness is the Tree of Life pendant. Designed by Alex Woo with the award winning actress Christina Applegate, the pendant with an encircled tree represents harmony, hope and renewal. Each of the seven leaves remind us to live everyday of the week to the fullest. This pendant is an everyday reminder of the most important things in life, to stay vigilant about breast cancer awareness and steps to early detection.

Net proceeds from the sale of the Tree of Life pendant directly benefit Right Action for Women, a Christina Applegate Foundation. Right Action for Women encourages women to learn facts and figures about breast cancer and provides funding for the expensive MRI screenings that help in early detection of breast cancer.

Citizen Eco-Drive Lady’s Watch For Susan G. Komen For The Cure

Citizen Eco-Drive Paladion Limited Edition watches. From September 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, Citizen will sell the watches through department stores and fine jewelry stores nationwide. Citizen has guaranteed a donation of $100,000 in 2010 to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure, for the breast cancer treatment charity. It is doing so by offering two limited edition watches. The specially designed watches are both stainless steel watches with pink dials; one has an 18-diamond bezel and one has an 8-diamond dial, and both have the Komen logo engraved on the case back and have Citizen Eco-Drive light powered quartz movements inside of them.. They also come in special packaging. One retails for $275, and the other for $325. Two beautiful watches in honor of a terrific cause!

Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month!  With nearly 10 million animals entering local shelters across the country each year the Adopt a Shelter Dog Month helps focus attention on the pet population problem. Your local shelter is the perfect place to find dogs of every type, size, age and personality — all waiting for a loving home. Or, if you prefer a particular breed that isn’t currently available at a shelter, go online to find a breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.  Find a shelter near you by plugging in your ZIP/Postal Code at PetFinder.com

If you’re looking for a dog to add to your family ~ Consider adopting a shelter dog!

Today’s Pink Product Pick: The KitchenAid Cook For the Cure Artisan Mixer

In support of a cure for breast cancer, pink is a wonderful color for the celebrity appliance in your kitchen! When you purchase this pastel appliance, KitchenAid will donate fifty dollars to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Cook for the Cure! I love this mixer! What’s not to love? You can make anything from creamed butter, cookie dough and dough for bread. The mixer can be used at 10 different speeds, which gives you greater control in the mixing process. A large 5 quart bowl allows you to hold all your ingredients together without any major problems. The head of the mixer can be tilted back, which makes it very easy to access your mixture. The Pink KitchenAid mixer also comes with a 2-piece pouring shield, that also has a large opening to add more ingredients.  I especially love that $50 of my purchase goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer research foundation. I’ve wanted one of these for SO long, and I’m going to donate my older KitchenAid model to our local soup kitchen and treat myself to this beautiful Artisan model. I’ve been considering a stand mixer for a while, so this looks like the perfect model for me. So pretty…
http://www.kitchenaid.com/
$349