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Festival Foods Streamlines Charitable Giving with GIFTS Online

New York, April 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MicroEdge, LLC, the leading provider of solutions to the giving community worldwide, today announced that Festival Foods has successfully united 17 previously independent local giving arms into a cohesive philanthropic organization with GIFTS Online.

Festival Foods is a family-owned company operating throughout the state of Wisconsin. Previously it awarded grants and in-kind gifts through each store location, with manual tracking of the budget and no formal communication across different communities. While this approach worked when there were a handful of stores, the success and growth of the company prompted them to make changes. The company has now restructured its entire giving program using GIFTS Online, MicroEdge's fully hosted, online grants management solution that helps family, private, corporate, and other foundations maximize the impact and efficiency of their grants cycles with powerful tools for reporting, tracking and analyzing the effectiveness of their giving. The solution also enhances collaboration with tools that unite giving organizations by bringing more stakeholders into the grants process.

Festival Foods gives locally in the communities where its 17 stores are located. Prior to implementing GIFTS Online, a paper application was available in each store and could be completed by anyone interested in receiving the gifts the stores regularly awarded in those communities. The company was doing a great deal of good in the community but lacked one person or streamlined process to track, analyze and maximize the efficiency of its giving.

With the goal of uniting all of its localized giving, Festival Foods decided to implement the GIFTS Online program and hire someone to oversee it. They hired Lynn Baron for the newly created role of Community Giving Manager. Armed with a background in community giving and philanthropy, Lynn was able to create new processes and procedures to take advantage of what GIFTS Online had to offer. "Before we implemented GIFTS Online," says Ms. Baron, "our process was manual and dependent upon Excel and a lot of paper. There was no collectively managed tracking system. GIFTS Online was able to provide an automated process that has benefitted applicants, grantors and accounts payable."

After two years with GIFTS Online in place, Lynn has helped to transform processes and procedures into a streamlined, cohesive grantmaking program that manages the giving for all 17 stores. Applications are received online and are electronically routed to reviewers in each location. Decisions are returned electronically and then routed to each location for local award distribution. The company's ability to track its efforts has dramatically improved. "Now I can easily monitor the progress of each store's awards, quickly see where they are against their budget and where their dollars have gone locally," says Lynn. "The process is much cleaner. We are also now able to refer back to the outcomes of the previous year to see which awards were impactful to the community and which were not. For the first time, we have concrete data to work with to make more informed and strategic decisions for the future."

Festival Foods can now quantify its efforts and share its story with the communities it serves. Prior to GIFTS Online, each location was challenged to report on what they were doing locally because no one person was dedicated to telling that story, let alone their overarching story of all their combined efforts. Now that they have a unified process in place, the organization can not only easily report their progress back to the communities they work in, they can also tell the collective story of what they are doing across the entire state. "Our move to GIFTS Online has generated a streamlined process in which reports and our giving history are both readily available for the first time," says Lynn. "We've been extremely satisfied with the results."

About Festival Foods

Festival Foods, a family-owned company operating stores strategically throughout Wisconsin, was founded as Skogen's IGA by Paul and Jane Skogen in 1946 in Onalaska, Wisconsin. With only five hundred dollars of borrowed money and a lot of enthusiasm, Paul and Jane began the company which now operates 17 full-service, state-of-the art supermarkets and employs over 4,500 full and part-time associates. It actively gives in-kind gifts and cash grants to a broad range of organizations and causes across the state of Wisconsin.

About MicroEdge
Established in 1985, MicroEdge, LLC is the leading provider of software and services to the giving community worldwide. MicroEdge solutions deliver a powerful, integrated, and open framework for efficient and effective charitable giving. The company is committed to providing the best technology toolset for foundations, corporations, government agencies, donors, advisors and financial institutions. Together, these tools help organizations to work with one another to raise, invest, manage and award charitable currency. MicroEdge is headquartered in New York City with regional offices throughout the U.S. and supports thousands of clients worldwide. MicroEdge is part of the Vista Equity Partners portfolio of software and technology-enabled companies. To learn more about Vista Equity Partners, visit www.vistaequitypartners.com. To learn more about MicroEdge, visit www.microedge.com.

Media Contact:
Kathy Krais
800.899.0890 ext. 3966
kkrais@microedge.com

MicroEdge is a trademark and/or service mark of MicroEdge, LLC. GIFTS, GIFTS Alta, GIFTS Alta Blueprint, and GIFTS Online are trademarks of MicroEdge, LLC. All other company names or marks mentioned herein are those of their respective owners.

Source:MicroEdge, LLC