How It Started
In 2015, when Uncle Andy’s Digest had published its 20th annual August edition, they decided to throw a big party. Jimbo Marston, publisher and owner, felt strongly to connect with, and raise money for, a nonprofit organization. His short list included Make-A-Wish Maine. After networking with a few of his advertisers, the next morning they ended up at a Make-A-Wish (MAW) breakfast that happen annually. These breakfasts are designed to grow community awareness and to keep the brand top of mind around the state.
At this particular breakfast, MAW had a wish family in attendance. As fate would have it, that particular wish kid struck a chord with Jimbo.
At this particular MAW breakfast, Summer Emery, 16 at the time, stood up and told her story about beating her cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and her wish which was to attend a movie premiere in Los Angeles in 2013. That movie? The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Including meeting many of the actors from the movie: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Evergreen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), plus many more.
Marston just so happens to be a 20-year survivor of that exact same cancer. Hearing Summer’s story instilled an immediate connection and a passion in Jimbo for the MAW mission that hasn’t diminished to this day.
Summer Block Party is born
After successfully raising enough money at the Digest’s 20th Anniversary Bash to grant two wishes, and after the suggestions from many folks, Jimbo came up with the party’s new name: The Summer Block Party (SBP).
“It’s been an amazing ride,” says Jimbo proudly. “The area businesses that have stepped forward to sponsor the Block Party each year continue to blow me away. Our community has literally wrapped their arms around this very special event.”
Helping children’s wishes come true, especially when they’re battling a critical illness, is important work. A wish coming true empowers those children to fight harder against their illness.
The benefits from Uncle Andy’s Digest’s choice of corporate social responsibility are even bigger than what Marston thought. “Make-A-Wish is our major way of giving back,” says Jimbo, “this has really elevated our brand. It has also increased customer engagement. Many other local businesses have noticed what we’re doing and choosing to do business with us.”
Marston continues, “The biggest benefit of all is our employees have rallied around this. They love working for a company that has a good public image. I believe this has made us a better team and helps us attract and retain strong team members.”
Attitude is everything
A Mandy Hale quote, “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” We, at Uncle Andy’s Digest, choose to believe that we can make a difference. One day at a time, one wish at a time.
A record-setting BLOCKbuster
In its eight year history, the Summer Block Party event has grown to become Make-A-Wish Maine’s largest external event in its 30-year history. To date, this event has raised over $600,000 and granted 81 Wishes to local children battling a critical illness.