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    Ukrop's Rolls Out Year-Round Golden Gift Program

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., said yesterday that, starting this month, it has expanded its previously seasonal Golden Gift community-giving program into a yearround initiative, using automation tied to its loyalty card program to more easily track consumer purchases and charitable donations.

    RICHMOND, Va. -- Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., said yesterday that, starting this month, it has expanded its previously seasonal Golden Gift community-giving program into a yearround initiative, using automation tied to its loyalty card program to more easily track consumer purchases and charitable donations.

    Ukrop's created the expanded giving program with the help of Benevolink, an Atlanta-based loyalty marketing company. To participate, shoppers must have a Ukrop's Valued Customer card.

    This year, the Golden Gift program allowed shoppers to give back based on their total purchases made between Jan. 31 to March 26. Now as of Oct. 1, the new Ukrop's Golden Gift program powered by Benevolink allows shoppers who buy items within Ukrop's private label brands to earn funds year-round and direct the funds to participating charities or nonprofits on a quarterly basis.

    Ukrop's will contribute up to $400,000 yearly through the program, shared among participating nonprofit organizations. Donations to individual organizations will be based on shoppers' charitable designations and their purchases from Ukrop's private label brand portfolio, made up of Full Circle, World Classics, Food Club, Top Crest, Top Care, Paws, Ukrop's-branded packaged goods. The program also includes select items from the chain's bakery, kitchen, deli, meat and seafood, and produce departments.

    Ukrop's tracks customers' purchases for all these products through the UVC card or First Market Bank Market Share Card, but shoppers must register to participate in the Golden Gift program at either Ukrop's or Benevolink's Web sites. Participants can track their charitable earnings online, and direct the funds to participating organizations. Approximately 2,000 nonprofits in central Virginia have previously taken part in Golden Gift, and Ukrop's expects that number to grow due to the new enhancements.

    "Over the past 18 years our customers have made Golden Gift a tremendous success by directing their funds to benefit thousands of community organizations, noted Ukrop's president and c.e.o., Bobby Ukrop, in a statement. "Partnering with Benevolink allows us to expand Golden Gift to a year-round outreach effort through its improved technology and loyalty marketing expertise. It is now easier than ever to buy Ukrop's and give back."

    Benevolink said it brings together consumers, retailers, and nonprofits to help them reach their respective philanthropic goals by allowing consumers to direct corporate giving to their preferred causes. While it has more than 200 online retailers as clients, the Ukrop's collaboration is Benevolink's first venture into the bricks-and-mortar arena.

    Since 1987, the year the Golden Gift program began, Ukrop's has given more than $11.1 million to thousands of charitable and nonprofit organizations based on its customers' designations. In August 2005 the company donated $400,000 to more than 2,450 organizations.

    Ukrop's operates 29 retail food stores, Joe's Market, a central bakery and kitchen, and a distribution center. In 1997, the grocer formed a partnership with National Commerce Financial Corp. in which the retailer co-owns 24 First Market Bank branches in Ukrop's locations, and 10 free-standing branches.

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