SpartanNash Foundation launches companywide fundraising effort to support Special Olympics athletes in nine states

May 3, 2017


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The SpartanNash Foundation is launching its second companywide retail fundraising campaign in 2017, supporting Special Olympics athletes and State Summer Games in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. SpartanNash and its charitable giving arm, the SpartanNash Foundation, invite store guests to join them in supporting Special Olympics through the retail scan campaign, which runs May 3-14.

During the 12-day scan, store guests who visit any participating SpartanNash-owned retail store or fuel center in nine states will have the opportunity to donate $1, $5 or $10 at any checkout lane. When store guests make a donation to support their state’s Special Olympics, they will receive four coupons toward Spartan® or Our Family® brand products, depending on location.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

One hundred percent of donations raised will benefit the local Special Olympics’ affiliate programs in the communities where the funds are raised. SpartanNash underwrites the costs to run the scan campaign, contributes funding and encourages associates to volunteer with local Special Olympics affiliates.

For a complete list of stores participating in the companywide scan campaign and the nine Special Olympics affiliates they will support, visit

“SpartanNash and the SpartanNash Foundation are deeply committed to supporting Special Olympics throughout the many states we serve,” said Meredith Gremel, vice president of corporate affairs and communications and the executive director of the SpartanNash Foundation. “Through our retail scan campaigns, we have developed many strong partnerships with Special Olympics affiliates, and, in partnership with our store guests and associates, we are excited to continue to support them and raise funds for this great cause.

“We also recognize the importance of raising awareness and advancing diversity and inclusion. We do so by hiring a number of Special Olympics athletes and placing a photo of our Healthy Athletes on 300,000 cases of water, so our thousands of store guests learn more about the phenomenal Special Olympics opportunities available year round.”

SpartanNash Healthy Athletes

In conjunction with the retail scan campaign, SpartanNash also selects Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, whose healthy lifestyles and involvement in the Special Olympics embody the organization’s oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

For 2017, SpartanNash is recognizing Healthy Athletes in Michigan, Ohio and North Dakota. These three athletes will also help promote the Foundation’s retail scan with in-store autograph sessions – and they will be featured on the packaging of bottles of Spartan® and Our Family® brand water. Nearly 300,000 cases of the specially designed 24-pack bottles of spring water will be on store shelves at 153 SpartanNash-owned stores and independent retail locations throughout the country.

SpartanNash began the Healthy Athlete program in Michigan in 2008, expanding the program in 2016 to include athletes throughout its retail footprint.

In Michigan, the Healthy Athlete is Thomas Carlisle, who has been involved with Special Olympics Michigan for 16 years. Thomas has fully embraced a healthy lifestyle, losing more than 170 pounds. He attributes his transformation to yoga, exercise and paying attention to nutrition labels. In his spare time, he likes to workout, go for walks and ride his bike.

In North Dakota, the Healthy Athlete is Matt Ihringer. Involved in Special Olympics for more than 15 years, Matt competes in basketball, bowling, track & field and team handball. He has won several gold medals at state competitions, and in 2010, Matt claimed the bronze medal in both the 1500 and 3000-meter races at the USA Games. Matt’s focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes competing in the 5k at the Fargo Marathon.

In Ohio, the Healthy Athlete is Chad Mayer, who has competed with Special Olympics for 25 years. Chad participates in swimming, basketball and soccer, as well as unified soccer and unified softball. He was the 2015 winner of the Special Olympics Hamilton County Ethel Luken Dedication Award.

Details on their in-store autograph sessions are available at

Partnership with Special Olympics

SpartanNash has been the Presenting Sponsor of the Michigan Special Olympics Summer Games for 33 years. The company has also supported Special Olympics Minnesota Summer Games since 2003.

In addition to more than $8.8 million in financial support since 1985, SpartanNash associates and their families have also volunteered thousands of hours helping at the State Summer Games.

In Michigan, SpartanNash associates also prepare and feed hundreds of volunteers throughout the State Summer Games. SpartanNash donates all of the food for the volunteers and prints the State Summer Games programs and handbooks as well.


About the SpartanNash Foundation
The SpartanNash Foundation was formed in 2013 following the merger of the Nash Finch Company and Spartan Stores. It represents the best of the NFC Foundation and the Spartan Stores Foundation. The SpartanNash Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SpartanNash and is focused on providing grants to non-profit community partners who are working to end hunger, provide shelter and support our military heroes. To learn more about the SpartanNash Foundation, visit

About SpartanNash
SpartanNash (Nasdaq: SPTN) is a Fortune 400 company whose core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent grocery retailers, national accounts, its corporate-owned retail stores and U.S. military commissaries. SpartanNash serves customer locations in 47 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain and Egypt. SpartanNash currently operates 153 supermarkets, primarily under the banners of Family Fare Supermarkets, Family Fresh Market, D&W Fresh Market and SunMart. Through its MDV military division, SpartanNash is the leading distributor of grocery products to military commissaries in the United States.

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