There are many ways to build on the Buy American movement, whether it’s through consumer purchases, writing encouraging letters to the editor of your local newspaper, or even pushing for more local, state, and national Buy American laws.
But there is one other way to create jobs and bolster American prosperity that hasn’t been utilized so much, at least on a nationally coordinated scale; and that is through the thousands of fundraisers that are routinely taking place simultaneously across America.
You probably know them, some of you have probably organized them, and others of you may have run them: PTA wrapping paper sales, Little League candy drives, choir “Spirit Wear” sales. And many, many more.
Recently, a new non-profit organization has sprung up and it’s got just the kind of focus that caught my attention: American-made fundraising. This group is about helping organizations find American-made fundraising ideas. And in doing so they are creating a perfect win-win situation: they’re helping folks raise money for good causes, and they’re helping them support American jobs at the same time. Their name? A Day To Market America.
A Day To Market America has filed for 501(c)3 status, and is on its way to succeeding in its goal – making more American-made products available for fundraisers – a powerful reality.
Janet Dukic, founder of A Day To Market America, started with her own local school in Oak Park, Ill. Janet took action when she saw that her children had no option other than to peddle imported products from China, and various other countries, as a way to raise money for her school district. And then she posed this question to her local school board: Given the choice, would everyone rather be selling American-made goods in support of our schools? She was delighted to find she had unanimous agreement.
And why not? It makes perfect sense. Since our local schools receive a certain percentage of federal funding, we should be supporting American workers – those same workers who are paying into the U.S Treasury from which we draw those same funds that are going toward educating our kids. Anything less would be hypocritical.
The types of products sourced from China that Janet Dukic has seen as offerings for local fundraisers include wrapping paper, stickers, candles, and an interesting product called “Smencils.”
I bet there are some of you thinking, as I was, “Smencils? What in the world are Smencils?” They’re pencils that are made out of recycled newspapers, and come in varieties that smell like cherries, root beer, watermelon, orange, and cinnamon, etc.
So while they may receive high marks for helping the environment (if you ignore the large amount of pollution that will enter the atmosphere when large ocean vessels transport them from China) low marks are given for buying them because that’s draining wealth out of the American economy, and lower marks still for missing out on a huge opportunity to support American jobs.
A Day To Market America helps organizations band together to make bulk purchases so they can acquire the American-made goods they seek at a lower price.
A Day To Market America can help you establish relationships to achieve your group’s goals. For example, schools can unite and buy as a district, a community, or even something bigger. A local teacher could go out and buy imported dual pocket folders on their own for full price, or working together with other teachers in other schools in his or her district, that teacher could buy the American-made brands in bulk and save money to boot!
No longer will your children have to come home with fundraising options that raise money for worthy American causes while simultaneously sending money to China. We have a huge opportunity to direct American dollars, which might previously have been destined to foreign lands, to our own back yards instead. It’s all about challenging your local school board, little league, or scout troop to think differently about how they raise funds.
There are more companies, corporations, and organizations on board than you might expect. Little Caesar’s offers pizza kits with all American-made dough and toppings. Some Jewel stores (a Chicago-area supermarket chain) have employees involved in community service programs that build American jobs. A Chicago-area American Drafting & Design Association chapter of ITT Technical Institute has switched to strictly American-made products for their fundraisers.
Whether it’s American-made chocolate bars, T-shirts, pencils (not the imported “smencils” kind) or even copies of “How Americans Can Buy American” bought in bulk, the idea is to offer fundraising ideas that support American workers for a better American economy that we can all enjoy.
American-made options are out there for fundraising opportunities. All we need to do is to convert our desire for American-made products into a very real demand for them.