New local company offers youth fundraising with wellness in mind

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Bloom, which opened in March, launched a school fundraiser last week that offers fitness as an incentive for students to sell. Courtesy image.
Bloom, which opened in March, launched a school fundraiser last week that offers fitness as an incentive for students to sell. Courtesy image.

A newly launched local company that aims to offer an alternative to typical youth-led fundraisers has just added a unique incentive for money-raisers.

Bloom, which opened in March, recently partnered with Adventure to Fitness, a national educational and fitness program, on Passport to Fitness. The new option allows classrooms to collect money while receiving wellness rewards rather than toys and other trinkets.

The Wilmington-based company’s fundraising vehicle is a $20 gift card loaded with $250 in offers from socially responsible regional and national brands, a product different from the oft-used wrapping paper and gourmet popcorn avenues.

But Passport to Fitness is the first that fits within the White House’s Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act, Bloom’s brand director Tara Romanella said.

The card itself features direct deals from brands like The Bouqs, Le Tote, Legacybox and ZeroWater, among others. While similar concepts already exist, Bloom’s Passport moves away from a competitive selling mindset, instead rewarding student groups as a whole with access to Adventure to Fitness’ online exercise program, which gets kids moving while also teaching fun facts about science, history, math and more.

Bloom is the brainchild of Ryan Hedspeth, who was prompted to create a more customer-friendly product for fundraisers after working for other fundraising companies.

“With a deep background in brand management, I understand the value consumers see in reputable brands. Having now worked in the fundraising industry for several years, it’s become clear the industry typically ignores the same consumer sensibility,” Hedspeth said.

Bloom gives participating fundraising groups a flat 50 percent profit from card sales, with the other half covering operating costs and exclusive grant and scholarship incentives, according to Romanella.

“These incentives are another point of differentiation, further elevating Bloom’s program to engage and support communities as a whole,” she noted.

While Passport to Fitness is targeted at schools, plans are in the works for Bloom to soon add two new cards catered to sports teams and cheer and dance squads.

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