Office Depot Welcomes New York Students Back to School

Office Depot Welcomes New York Students Back to School

Company Leaders, Students Will Ring The Opening Bell at NYSE on September 4 Chairman/CEO will Donate 10,000 Backpacks Filled with Supplies to New York State's Council on Children & Families and America's Promise


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DELRAY BEACH, Fla.–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 2, 2003–On Thursday, September 4, Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE:ODP), the world’s largest retailer of office products, will culminate its back-to-school efforts when Bruce Nelson, Chairman and CEO of Office Depot, rings The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange – ushering in the school year for New York students.

As part of the ceremony, Office Depot will donate 10,000 backpacks filled with supplies to two organizations whose missions are focused on helping children reach their potential: 5,000 backpacks will be given to New York State’s Council on Children & Families, a governmental group charged with coordinating the state’s health, education and human services systems; while 5,000 will go to America’s Promise, a national non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. The backpacks will be provided to a number of New York communities for use by children from low-income families.

Joining Nelson on the NYSE podium will be Alana Sweeny, Executive Director of New York State’s Council on Children & Families; Peter A. Gallagher, President and CEO of America’s Promise; and children from schools throughout New York City.

“Making a difference in the lives of children is one of our core values,” noted Bruce Nelson, Chairman and CEO of Office Depot. “It is essential for kids to have the core supplies they need to start the new school year on the right foot. We are happy to be working with The Council on Children & Families and America’s Promise to enhance the quality of life for New York students.”

According to Nelson, in 2003 Office Depot will donate more than 200,000 backpacks to thousands of non-profit organizations and schools nationwide. The national in-kind program is valued at more than $5 million.

“Office Depot’s commitment to children and youth, demonstrated by this generous contribution, is an inspiration to us and a model for all businesses,” said Peter A. Gallagher, President and CEO of America’s Promise. “Every organization has something to offer young people, whether it be backpacks filled with school supplies, computer equipment donated to a neighborhood youth center, or time allotted for employees to mentor and teach local students.”

Understanding that the back-to-school season can be particularly stressful for children, parents and teachers, Nelson noted that the company designed its 2003 program with three specific goals in mind:

— Prepare children to be successful in school

— Help parents get organized, and

— Provide teachers with the products they need to create a positive learning environment

This approach led to the development of the company’s most integrated back-to-school effort to date, with initiatives that include:

5% Back to Schools Program

Now in its fourth year, the 5% Back to Schools Program enables shoppers to select a local school to receive credits for free supplies. Schools are awarded a 5% credit for qualifying purchases made through December 2003. Last year, Office Depot donated nearly $3 million in school supply credits to more than 35,000 public, private and home schools.

Star Teacher Program

The Star Teacher Program was designed to help alleviate some of the financial burden teachers experience when purchasing school supplies with their own personal income. It provides special “teacher-only” savings of 5% off school supplies and 15% off copy/print services year-round. Star Teacher participants also receive valuable information, such as quarterly newsletters, planners and teaching tips, as well as in-store networking opportunities and special offers.

Search for America’s Most Organized Parent

In an effort to inspire families to get organized for the new school year, Office Depot recently kicked off a search for America’s Most Organized Parent.

For the contest, children, parents and friends can submit fun stories and interesting anecdotes — in the form of a video or essay — about the most organized parent they know. Entry forms are available at Office Depot’s retail stores nationwide as well as online at http://www.officedepot.com, and can be submitted now through September 30, 2003.

The grand prize winner of the contest will receive a Walt Disney World vacation package for up to four people, a $200 money card from Office Depot to purchase school supplies and a Family Communication Station consisting of essential organizational products to keep a family on track.

Organization Tips

Office Depot is working with family organization expert Maria Bailey to provide parents and children with tips for staying organized throughout the school year. The tips can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com.

About Office Depot

Office Depot is the world’s leading reseller of office supplies, with annual sales of nearly $13 billion. The company, founded in 1986 and headquartered in Delray Beach, FL, conducts business in 22 countries and employs nearly 50,000 people worldwide.

Office Depot is an industry leader in every distribution channel – from retail stores and contract delivery to catalogs and e-commerce. The company is the world’s number two online retailer – on target to generate $2.5B in sales for FY’03. In North America, Office Depot has more than 870 retail stores in addition to a national business-to-business delivery network supported by 24 delivery centers, more than 60 local sales offices and 13 regional call centers.

The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

Additional press information can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com.

About The Council on Children & Families

The Council on Children & Families is charged with acting as a neutral body to coordinate the state health, education and human services systems to ensure that all children and families in New York State have the opportunity to reach their potential.

About America’s Promise

America’s Promise was launched at the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997 where Presidents G.H.W. Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford, with Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan, challenged the country to make children and youth a national priority. General Colin L. Powell is founding chairman. The mission of America’s Promise is to mobilize people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of youth by fulfilling the Five Promises declared at the Summit: Caring adults – parents, mentors, tutors, and coaches; safe places with structured activities during non-school hours; a healthy start; marketable skills through effective education; and opportunities for all young people to serve. For more information about America’s Promise visit http://www.americaspromise.org.

–30–EG/mi*

CONTACT:

Office Depot, Delray Beach

Brian Levine, 561/438-2895

Office Depot Welcomes New York Students Back to School