Auntie Anne's(R) Honors 20 Families Who Give Back

Auntie Anne's(R) Honors 20 Families Who Give Back
Pretzel Chain Awards Grants Up to $20K to Celebrate 20th Birthday

July 01, 2008 // // LANCASTER, Pa. - After conducting a nationwide search for deserving families who give back and make their communities better places to live, Auntie Anne's® Pretzels, best known for its freshly baked, hand-rolled soft pretzels, today announces that it is awarding 20 families with grants to help support their philanthropic work. In the Auntie Anne's What a Difference a Family Makes: A New Twist on Giving Back grant program, the Crane family from Columbus, Ohio, has been named the grand prize recipient and awarded $20,000 to use in furthering the work they do with Deaf Initiatives, Inc., an organization they founded to strengthen the potential of young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. An additional 19 families have been awarded $2,000 grants.

Meredith and Jay Crane established Deaf Initiatives in 1996, when their children, Jesse and Jim, were faced with limited higher education and vocational opportunities because of their deafness. When Jesse and Jim where born, they did not know any other deaf or hearing-impaired families in their area and limited resources existed for them to turn to. With their personal experience and knowledge, the Cranes decided to pave the path for other parents and deaf students by giving them access to resources, professionals and activities to help them become successful and contributing members of society.

In the What a Difference a Family Makes: A New Twist on Giving Back grant program, which kicked off on the chain's 20th birthday on February 2, 2008 and culminated on April 4, 2008, families who do community service work together could nominate themselves or be nominated by another person for an opportunity to receive a grant to be used toward their charity work. According to Auntie Anne's president and CEO Samuel R. Beiler, the response exceeded the company's expectations, which made selecting one grand prize recipient difficult.

"We were amazed by the number of nominations we received and by all the great work families across the country are doing, but in the end the program judges all agreed that the Crane family best demonstrated a passionate dedication to giving back in their community, an unwavering level of involvement and the strong impact their activities have on their community," he says.

The Crane family continues to work together to support Deaf Initiatives. Since its inception, Meredith Crane left her previous career to dedicate herself full-time to the organization. Jesse and Jim now serve as role models for deaf youth, and often direct workshops that emphasize things like reading and writing, higher education and independence. The family plans to use its $20,000 grant from Auntie Anne's to offer scholarships to dozens of deaf youth and their families to participate in programs designed to provide them with a brighter future.

In an effort to encourage other families across the country to serve their communities, Auntie Anne's has also developed an e-book called"20 Ways to Give Back," which is available for download at The e-book includes stories and tips from the 20 grant recipients, as well as other members of the public who had an opportunity to contribute during local events at Auntie Anne's stores that took place around the country in February and March.

In addition to the Crane family, the other 19 families Auntie Anne's is recognizing for their community service efforts and awarding with a $2,000 grant include:

  • The Affel family of Wyndmoore, Pa. -- Hosts for Hospitals

  • The Anderson family of Ocoee, Fla. -- Saving Young Hearts

  • The Becerra family of Hammond, Ind. -- family run food bank

  • The Beckman family of Chesterfield, Mo. -- Coat-A-Kid

  • The Brewer family of Branchville, N.J. -- Project Self-Sufficiency

  • The Dodge family of Milford, Del. -- diabetes awareness

  • The Eisenson family of Wayland, Mass. -- Horizons for Homeless Children

  • The Ellis family of West Haven, Vt. -- Rutland Regional Medical Center Bone Marrow Donor Program

  • The Fornetti family of Iron Mountain, Mich. -- Northwoods Airlifeline Program

  • The Gilbertson family of Waunakee, Wis. -- With Wings and a Halo, R.E.A.C.H. a Child

  • The Goldberg family of Boca Raton, Fla. -- Together We See Foundation

  • The Hossler family of Bloomington, Ind. -- Hand in Hand Project

  • The Larson family of Lansing, Mich. -- Sleep Tight Foundation

  • The McCauley family of Chantilly, Va. -- Boredom Busters

  • The Natale family of Havertown, Pa. -- American Troop Support Team

  • The Potter family of McKinney, Texas -- Hannah's House

  • The Propson family of Rochester, Mich. -- Paint a Miracle

  • The Slutske family of Los Angeles, Calif. -- Camp Harmony

  • The Young family of Bozeman, Mont. -- Red Feather Development Group

For more information, or to learn more about the 20 What a Difference a Family Makes: A New Twist on Giving Back grant recipients, visit

About Auntie Anne's

Auntie Anne's, Inc. is a Pennsylvania-based franchisor that supports over 940 Auntie Anne's Pretzels locations worldwide. The concept mixes, twists and bakes pretzels to golden brown perfection in full view of customers. Auntie Anne's is committed to pretzel perfection by guaranteeing you will love its pretzels or they will replace it with one that you do.



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