Magazine Article


Making a Difference
Manufacturers and retailers give their all for charitable causes

Our sister publication, Studio Photography, paid tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness Month by publishing intimate, personal stories from photographers who are using their talents not only to fight breast cancer, but also a plethora of other noble causes. PTN is proud to present a small sampling of what some manufacturers and retailers are doing on their end to help people in need.

Retailers Doing the Right Thing

Biking to Battle Cancer

"I rode in the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer, an epic 200-kilometer bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Over the course of two days, $14 million was raised by 2,850 riders.

 "For my part, I held seminars and photo events at Just Cameras, with entry fees donated to the fund-raiser. It was promoted in the store and online. One of the events was an electric tram ride from the west end of Toronto to the east end and back. As the tram made its way though the city, the 20 participants shot out of the car. With an all-day pass, we were able to hop on and off the car whenever an interesting part of the city presented itself. 

"Also tied to the fund-raiser were two camera-testing clinics sponsored by Pentax in April and Canon in June. Again, a donation was made to the cause in the form of prints for a donation. Overall, combining the fund-raiser with store events was very effective. It made the customers feel good."
--Ray Seto, Just Cameras (,
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

A Run for Alzheimer's

"We're a very small lab/retailer with on-location photography. On July 7, 2007, at 7:07 a.m., my wife, Karen, and I set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Our plan was to run 13 to 26 miles a day and complete our run in 100 days. Any funds that came in would be given to The Life Tracker system, Alzheimer's Association, in Marquette County, Michigan.

"We began our run on the shores of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan; we were headed to the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi, Mississippi, more than 1,300 miles away. Every day we met someone who either had a relative with or had died from Alzheimer's. We set out to inspire and inform people, and we ended up being the ones inspired by the stories we heard.

"We met hundreds of people and listened to so many tragic stories. Some of the people we met were the ones who had Alzheimer's; many had taken care of moms, dads, sisters, brothers. One person had parents who had died of Alzheimer's, and now all six of his siblings were afflicted with this horrible disease. He looked at us and said, 'I wonder when it will affect me.'

"Our adventure took us through seven states. We stayed at people's houses who invited us in, in churches; we had a few nights in hotels, and we did what we called stealth tenting, which was just finding a wooded, safe area close to the road we were running on.

"We finished our run on September 26, 2007. It took us 82 days, averaging 16 miles per day. Every day of our journey was exceptional in both the people we met and the places we stayed. There's a blog on our website ( that talks about our experiences, as well as hundreds of photos. The Marquette County Life Tracker program will enable rescue teams to track individuals who have wandered from home. Each individual registered in the program will have a personalized wristband that will emit an automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. This signal can be tracked on the ground or in the air for several miles."
--John and Karen Wallace, Peninsula Photographics (,
Ishpeming, MI

Precision Camera Supports ALS Efforts, Community Internship

Precision Camera ( and Best Buy once again served as presenting sponsors for the 2008 Black Woods Never Surrender Blizzard Tour to help raise money and increase awareness of ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

This year's Black Woods Never Surrender Blizzard Tour took place in February. Sponsored participants, such as Precision Camera CEO/President John Malinosky, rode snowmobiles more than 380 miles in three days in an effort to raise as much money and awareness as possible for the cause (people could also send donations through the ALS website and through weekly raffles). Malinosky and his team raised $25,000.

Christopher Davis, Precision Camera's charitable campaign manager, explains, "ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected. Precision Camera is proud to once again help in the fight for a cause and cure of this devastating disease. By donating to the Blizzard Tour and the ALS Association, together we can make the lives of those affected brighter and help research efforts to lead the fight against ALS."

Precision Camera also stays in the charitable spirit through its support of a camera-repair-technician internship program with Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT. The internship is an intensive professional camera and digital camera repair program. Students start in the "Camera Lens Rebuilding" group, then progress into the "Camera Refurbishing" group. The internship program develops electronic and mechanical troubleshooting skills, use of hand tools, soldering techniques, hand/eye coordination, computer skills, and manufacturer-specific calibration procedures. The program also teaches basic camera functions, along with photographic principles.

Progress is monitored through monthly evaluations and feedback to Asnuntuck Community College. Interns who successfully complete the program earn credit toward course work at Asnuntuck Community College. Students may be offered full-time positions with benefits at Precision Camera as camera repair technicians, with advancement potential for top performers.

Steve Moloney, vice president of operations, says, "We are very pleased with the outcome of this new venture. College students with an interest to learn highly advanced camera and digital camera repair are being given the opportunity to do so, and to be taught by the best in the industry. These students gain an advantageous 'foot in the door' upon successfully completing the internship program with the possibility of building their own professional career as a camera repair technician. Everybody wins with this internship program--the college, the students, and Precision Camera. We hope to invite qualified candidates to join our company and build our futures together."

A $100K Donation Program

Miller's Professional Imaging embarked on the Miller's $100K Charity Program. "The concept behind the Miller's $100K Charity Program is helping photographers throughout the nation give back to their own communities," says Richard Miller, CEO of Miller's. "We attend more than 20 conventions throughout the year across the U.S., and we decided that this might be the best way to reach a breadth of photographers and charitable organizations."

During the 2008 tradeshow season, convention attendees have been able to register at the Miller's booth; if their name is drawn, Miller's will give $1,000 to donate in their name to the charity of their choice. Miller's is awarding 100 different giveaways throughout the season, amounting to $100,000 in charitable contributions. "If you click on the link, you can see our remaining conventions for this year," says Miller. "There are also 'View Winners' links for each convention, which direct you to our blog. We've blogged about winners at each convention, as well as what charities our winners have selected to date."

"Philanthropy has always been an important part of the Miller's culture," says Miller. "This year, we decided to add to our charitable giving with the Miller's $100K Charity Program. We're able to help photographers make a difference in their own communities with donations that will be given in their name. All are encouraged to come by the Miller's booth to register. What better way to say 'thank you' for visiting us!"

Manufactures Doing the Right Thing


DBL Distributing LLC hosted a charity golf tournament and vendor expo this past April, with proceeds in excess of $135,000 for The Jewish Family and Children Services of Greater Phoenix, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, The United Way, and The Magic Johnson Foundation, a division of the Samsung Four Seasons of Hope. This year's Western-themed golf event, named the DBL Charity Round-Up, began with a shotgun-start golf-scramble for 133 golfers. To end the eventful day, DBL's manufacturer's representatives hosted a cocktail awards reception for all participating golfers with music provided by XM Satellite Radio.


The Hahnemühle Green Rooster Environmental Initiative started when Hahnemühle Bamboo paper was launched. The paper combines spiritual photography with environmental considerations. Bamboo 290 consists of 90% bamboo fiber and 10% cotton, thereby helping to conserve resources. The paper comes in a green box, which represents the ecofriendly emphasis of the product.

Hahnemühle is donating proceeds from the sale of each Bamboo product to an environmental project. Each is labeled with a sticker that states, "Helping to save natural resources." Hahnemühle will donate $1 for each box of 8.5x11 sheets sold, $2 for each 11x17 or 13x19 box, and $5 for each 17x22 box or roll.

For this initiative, Hahnemühle launched the Green Rooster website (, where consumers could log on and propose an environmental project. Voting on the selected projects will continue until the end of 2008. The amount donated will be divided accordingly between the chosen projects.


liveBooks has moved its many charitable endeavors and philanthropic activities under the umbrella of "Conscious Communities." The company's employees have individually and collectively demonstrated a strong desire to integrate a sense of social responsibility into the very fabric of the company.

liveBooks founder and CEO Andy Patrick founded the FiftyCrows Foundation ( in October 2001 as an effort to empower social change and support the work of indigenous photographers through its annual grant competition and awards. FiftyCrows also promotes the work of these photographers through email, direct mail, online marketing, and TV programming. In addition to powering the FiftyCrows gallery website, liveBooks also provides a free website to all grant winners, enabling these photographers to expose their work to a worldwide audience that would have otherwise been out of reach.

Keeping similar efforts in mind, Patrick became a founding advisory board member for The National Geographic All Roads Competition (, which seeks to recognize and support international, indigenous, and minority-culture photographers. This competition is able to expose talented photographers who are documenting their shifting cultures and communities, and helps them obtain grants to sustain their work.


Otter Products, LLC, partners with the Avon Foundation to offer limited-edition pink cases as a show of support for those fighting, for the survivors, and for those who have lost someone to breast cancer. By purchasing an OtterBox for iPhone or iPod nano Defender Series Strength case, OtterBox will donate 10% of the purchase price to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer.

When tornadoes turned lives upside-down earlier this year less than ten miles from the Otter Products headquarters, OtterBox announced they would donate 10% of online proceeds from sales in June 2008.

Whether making a monetary donation or going to assist in these areas, OtterBox employees are ready for the challenge. "So many people along the Colorado Front Range fell victim to these destructive tornadoes and OtterBox wants to do everything we can to help," says Curt Richardson, CEO, Otter Products. "As part of these communities, we feel especially inclined to offer our support."


With the headquarters of PENTAX Imaging Company nestled in Golden, Colorado, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, it's only natural for the company to be environmentally aware. Colorado is a mecca for mountain- and wildlife-conversation efforts, and since relocating to the Golden area in 2003, Pentax has donated numerous digital camera and sport optics products to aid one of these organizations.

Formed in 1994, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) works to protect and preserve the natural integrity of Colorado's 54 mountain peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet and are affectionately referred to as the "fourteeners" by climbers. Digital cameras are vital to the success of CFI to capture images of their mission at work and to communicate with members and prospects on their website ( Pentax product donations also help CFI raise funds through silent auctions and raffles.

The influence of the Pentax product line extends from mountaintops down to the sea. Featured on the Pentax microsite ( that is devoted to the manufacturer's line of waterproof cameras is the Kelly Slater Foundation to benefit worthy charities. This foundation was founded and is headed by eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater to raise money for charities important to Kelly.

The relationship between Kelly Slater and Pentax is strong and symbiotic. "Kelly is a big fan of our compact waterproof camera line, and in return for his endorsement in select advertisements and on our websites, we have made donations to the Kelly Slater Foundation," says Michelle Martin, PR representative, Pentax Imaging Company.

One KS foundation cause is Reef Check (, an international organization that helps protect and rehabilitate ocean reefs. The mission of this nonprofit is to conserve two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs.


ShootQ, a web-based studio management solution for event photographers, announced the winner of the 2008 ShootQ Grant. Sherrlyn Borkgren, a wedding photographer and photojournalist, has been awarded $10,000 by ShootQ to bring awareness to the violent rape, torture, and abuse of women by militiamen in the Eastern Congo. With the help of the ShootQ grant, Sherrlyn will travel to Congo this fall to tell the story of personal and communal devastation caused by widespread rape and torture throughout the region. She will spend time in the North Kivu area with young girls who are suffering the permanent physical and emotional effects of this terrible injustice. Using photography, audio, and writing, she will share their story with the rest of the world.

"It's hard to imagine a worse place in human history to be a woman," says Borkgren. "There are clinics in this region that will treat 8,000 rape victims this year. These are 8,000 women whose lives and families have been ripped apart. Together, ShootQ and my photography will rally awareness about one of the most terrible crises in the world."

The ShootQ Grant was established this year to allow photographers to invest time working on projects that raise awareness about important issues. The ShootQ Grant provides photographers with the opportunity to work on a meaningful project with the creative freedom and financial support necessary to produce photographs that raise public awareness about important social, environmental, and economic issues.

To review Borkgren's winning essay, and to learn more about the ShootQ Grant, visit

TreasureKnit, a company that makes customized photo gifts, is donating photo blankets to comfort sick children facing a stay in the hospital. Realizing that hospitalization can be scary, lonely, and boring, especially for a child, TreasureKnit contacted The Hospital for Sick Children, one of the largest pediatric academic health centers in the world. Working with a coordinator in the hospital's long-term care unit, they developed a program to donate personalized photo blankets to the kids on the unit.

To participate, a parent or family member just needs to provide a photo or digital file; family, friends, and pets are favorite subjects. TreasureKnit weaves the image into a soft, cozy blanket, which is delivered to the child in the hospital. It really brightens a child's day to receive a gift made especially for him or her.

"Initially, we were inspired by touching letters from customers who had received our photo blankets while hospitalized," says company president Richard Nadel. "We saw an opportunity to give something back. As the father of two healthy children, it is very hard to think about children requiring extended hospital stays, especially with regard to the fear and loneliness these kids may experience when their family cannot be at the hospital with them 24/7. I feel lucky that our company can bring a smile and added warmth to these kids by giving them a photo blanket with their own photos of family or even their pet. We hope to make a difficult time a little easier for the children and their families."

ATP Giveaway If you or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer, ATP would like to hear your story. Through October 31, send your stories; one 1GB ATP Pink Ribbon Petito USB drive will be given out every week. The ATP Special Edition Pink Ribbon Petito USB drive is an official product partner of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Store your photos and videos in this thumb-sized USB drive; wear it as your necklace or put it on your keychain. For more info on the contest, go to