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Fundraising? There’s an app for that

EdRover mobile application connects businesses and consumers to raise money for local schools

Posted: December 9, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 9, 2011 1:30 a.m.

From left, Sue Cowling, Tania Mulry, Debbie Rocha and Ann Unger discuss opportunities for edRover to bring businesses and schools together with consumers to raise funds for education.


EdRover, the mobile application that partners businesses and schools with consumers to raise funds for education, has had a busy couple of weeks gathering Santa Clarita businesswomen together and being selected to compete in the Pepsi Refresh Project for a $25,000 grant.

As businesses receive ongoing requests to support education through donations, fundraising nights, sponsorships and more, the mobile app, edRover, brainchild of Stevenson Ranch resident Tania Mulry, offers firms and customers an easy way to participate.

“EdRover mobilizes businesses and consumers who care about education in a way that is convenient, easy to use and provides free money to schools,” Mulry said.

The challenge they face is deciding which schools to donate to, what to donate and how to get the recognition they deserve for their efforts.

To this end, edRover gathered a dozen local businesswomen together at Salt Creek Grille to discuss challenges affecting educational funding and ways businesses can easily help address SCV’s school fundraising needs.

The group discussed the state of education today and explored how edRover’s mobile app could be a solution to address some of the challenges schools are facing and to foster ambassadors for innovative school fundraising ideas.

“Schools need funds to support programs. That’s where district funding is declining,” said Gail Pinsker, community liaison officer with the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The company’s goal in meeting with the business leaders was to create a focus group to gather ideas and perspectives and increase awareness of edRover as a simple fundraising tool.

“Businesses are inundated with requests to partner with or fundraise for schools. For a solution to stand out, it needs to cut through the clutter, tap into testimonials and have champions,” said Marlee Lauffer, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Newhall Land Development Inc.

Fundraising has typically been left in the hands of school students and parents, but Ann Unger, executive director of the SCV Education Foundation, said schools need to find ways to reach people who don’t have children, as they make up a large percentage of education’s support base.

Many businesses, such as Salt Creek, are very generous to schools and other organizations in the community, said Jennifer Chadwick, sales and marketing director at Salt Creek Grille, but word doesn’t often get out of how much support local businesses lend to schools.

Other local women who attended edRover’s focus group included Andrea De La Cerda, Christine Davis, Louise Moore, Sue Cowling and Debbie Rocha, teacher and president of the Saugus Teachers Association, and Carol Stevenson, publicist for edRover.

By the end of the discussion forum, several of the women had identified ways they intended to reach out to their networks regarding school fundraising and edRover.

Going forward, edRover said it intends to keep in touch with this group and the value they businesswomen bring to pulling together the three pieces of the fundraising equation: businesses, schools and consumers.

“We’d like more opportunities to let people know that we’re supporting the community,” Chadwick said. “EdRover allows us to do that.”

Chamber support
The SCV Chamber is encouraging member businesses to support the mobile app and fundraising tool as a way in which businesses and the community can work together and form a partnership with edRover.

“We are promoting their programs in our email blasts right now,” said Terri Crain, president and CEO.

“It’s a great passive way for businesses to get involved in our community as well as promote edRover to the general public,” Crain said. “If we could get every business in the Santa Clarita Valley to participate in efforts that raise money for schools, we could make a big difference.”

The chamber is also using any funds it generates as a chamber through edRover to help raise money for its Ian Gelig scholarship fund.

The “Pepsi challenge”
As for the mobile app’s ongoing expansion, edRover has been selected to compete in the Pepsi Refresh Project for a $25,000 grant.

While the mobile app is currently available on iPhone and Windows Phone platforms, the grant, if won, would allow it to expand the edRover app to the Android and Blackberry phones.

The Pepsi Refresh Project launched in January 2010, awarding grants to individuals and organizations with innovative ideas that positively impact the community.

In its first year, the program has awarded more than $20 million in grants for programs across the country.

But the company needs enough individuals to vote for edRover before it can hope to win the grant. Votes can be cast daily through Dec. 31.

Individuals can vote for edRover each day by visiting or by texting 110504 to 73774 (PEPSI).


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