Although corporate support waned earlier this year, New York businessman Fernando Mateo has turned what was one of the most novel do-good holiday appeals into a foundation. Now companies such as Metropolitan Life Insurance, Kay-Bee Toy Stores, Columbia Sportswear and Modell's sporting goods are spending $25,000 each to trade gift certificates, products and cash for firearms.
Goods for Guns Foundation has snagged additional high-profile companies for secondary support, including Time Inc., Goldman Sachs & Co. and McDonald's Corp. The fast-food giant donated $15,000 to sponsor an educational outreach program through CityKids, a local youth volunteer group, to educate students about guns. Chemical Bank and Snapple Beverage Corp. will place Change for Change donation boxes in stores.
MetLife last month helped the foundation introduce its first public service campaign, beginning with outdoor ads placed throughout New York. A TV spot, featuring celebrities Alec and Billy Baldwin, Robin Leach, former New York Mayor David Dinkins, members of the Knicks basketball team and others, will follow from agency Doig, Elliott, Schur.
Mr. Mateo said promotional efforts will remain local due to funding constraints.
"For the program to go national, we would need $2 million," said Mr. Mateo. "We have less than 10% raised so far."
Created last year by Mr. Mateo as Toys for Guns with participation by Toys "R" Us, the group gained national attention by awarding $100 gift certificates to gun owners who surrendered firearms. But as media interest waned, so did corporate participation.
New funds are needed to replace previous support. Toys "R" Us discontinued its participation after last year's effort, saying "the program does not address public or children's health issues." Toys "R" Us President Michael Goldstein, however, said he will still make personal contributions.
Reebok, meanwhile, has not followed through on its pledged assistance (AA, Jan. 3), said Mark Boles, director-development and marketing for the foundation.
Goods for Guns also lost support from Foot Locker which, after donating $25,000 in gift certificates to the program last year, withdrew to form its own Shoes for Guns program.
A Foot Locker spokeswoman said the company spent $560,000 on its programs in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and Miami but has had the project on hold since April.