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Staples and Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation Promote a Positive Classroom Experience at Staples for Students Kindness Summit


Born This Way Foundation Unveils Illinois Findings of Its "Kind
Communities – A Bridge to Youth Mental Wellness" Survey

Staples also surprises Chicago teachers with more than $400,000
worth of classroom projects on

Today Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) held the first Staples for
Students Kindness Summit, an event bringing together youth, educators,
and experts for an engaging discussion about the importance of promoting
kindness to create a positive classroom experience as students across
the country begin a new school year.

The Chicago event was co-hosted by Born This Way Foundation, a
non-profit organization founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia
Germanotta, to support the wellness of young people and empower them to
create a kinder and braver world.

At the Staples for Students Kindness Summit, Born This Way Foundation
unveiled the Illinois-specific results of its new survey: Kind
Communities – A Bridge to Youth Mental Wellness. The findings – drawn
from a nationwide study
– explore how a young person's mental health is impacted by their
relationships and environments, including their classrooms.

During a panel discussion moderated by educator, author and CNN
Education contributor, Dr. Steve Perry, thought leaders and local
stakeholders discussed key findings from the study, including:

  • More than 40% of Illinois high schoolers say their schools are not
    kind communities.
    Just 57% of the state's high schoolers say they
    are in a community where people are kind. This is concerning as the
    survey shows a strong correlation between youth who describe their
    environments as kind and better mental health indicators.
  • Illinois high schools are doing a good job providing at fostering
    kindness in several key ways.
    For example, the state's high school
    teachers are significantly more likely to say hello to students as
    they arrive in the morning – 55% compared to 45% nationwide - which
    the survey found to be an important indicator of kind school
  • Illinois youth are stressed. Half of high school respondents
    say they are stressed, in line with the national average, while 73% of
    college students and 69% of employed youth use the word to describe
    themselves, exceeding the national average for both groups.
  • Illinois parents vastly underestimate the role of stress in their
    children's lives.
    While one in five young people in the state
    report being a very nervous person all or most of the time in the past
    month, just one in fifteen parents describe their child that way. This
    discrepancy is significantly larger in Illinois than it is nationally.

"As kids across the country head back to school, we understand that
filling classrooms with kindness and positivity is just as important as
making sure they're stocked with the right supplies for the school
year," said Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer, Staples. "We're
thrilled to be working with Born This Way Foundation to shine a light on
the importance of kindness in the classroom, and to ensure that students
start the school year off on a positive note."

Members of the Staples for Students Kindness Summit panel included: Maya
Enista Smith, Executive Director, Born This Way Foundation; Raul
Palacios, Ed.S., Research Assistant, Born This Way Foundation; Gerard
Kovach, an 8th grade teacher at McCutcheon Elementary School in Chicago;
and Kishoanda Johnson, a local young person who received Born This Way
Foundation's Channel Kindness Award for her work with The Night
Ministry, a Chicago homelessness services organization.

"We know that students do best in schools that are kind, supportive, and
empowering," said Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder, Born
This Way Foundation. "It was inspiring to hear today from some of
Chicago's amazing students and teachers about their commitment to
fostering kindness in the classroom and beyond."

To help Staples for Students and Born This Way Foundation support
teachers and students nationwide, make a donation in Staples stores or
online at

Announcing Chicago Funding and
Digital Kindness Tree Launch

In the spirit of helping create positive classroom experiences, Staples
also announced that 890 teacher projects on
in the Chicago area will receive full funding as part of Staples's $1
million donation to the organization. is a charity that
has funded more than 900,000 classroom projects for teachers since its
founding, benefitting more than 22 million students.

With a donation of more than $400,000 to support Chicago classrooms,
Staples impacted 612 teachers and more than 85,000 students in the

Earlier this month, Staples and Born This Way Foundation teamed up to
create the Staples
for Students Digital Kindness Tree
to encourage people nationwide to
promote kindness in schools and celebrate everyday acts of kindness.
Consumers can help it grow by visiting
or by Tweeting with hashtag #GrowKindness. On the website and Twitter,
users have the opportunity to describe an act of kindness that they
recently performed, witnessed or pledge to do. Each time an act of
kindness is reported, a "leaf" will be added to the tree, which will
continue to grow throughout the summer with each kind act reported.

About Staples for Students
Inc. has a long history of supporting students, teachers and classrooms.
Staples for Students is an ongoing program that helps students and
teachers with the school supplies and essential items needed to achieve
success in education. The Staples for Students campaign has included
school supply drives, support for teachers in classrooms, donations for
education projects, classroom initiatives such as Designed by Students,
and the sale of products that give back to communities and classrooms in

About Born This Way Foundation
by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation
was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower
them to create a kinder and braver world. Born This Way Foundation
achieves this by shining a light on real people, quality research, and
authentic partnerships. Working with more than 50 non-profit
organizations, Born This Way Foundation has connected more than 150,000
young people with services and programing in their communities. Born
This Way Foundation has also partnered with the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln to collect data from more than 10,000 young people,
improving understanding of the factors that affect youth wellbeing and
empowerment. Visit us at

is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across
America use the site to create projects requesting resources their
students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. Since
its founding by a Bronx teacher in 2000, more than 2 million people and
partners have given $547 million to projects reaching 22 million
students. Unique among crowdfunding platforms, the team
vets each project request and ships resources directly to the school.
Every donor receives photos of their project in action, thank-yous from
the classroom, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent. was the first charity to make the top 10 on Fast
 list of the Most Innovative Companies in the World. Visit
to learn more.

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