EDSF Supports Graphic Arts Students and You Can, Too

Last week at PRINT 13, the annual EDSF Give Back at GRAPH/PRINT event was held. This event has become the “place to be” when the show floor closes on Tuesday of GRAPH EXPO/PRINT. EDSF is an organization that provides scholarships for graphic arts students. If you are not familiar with it, go to www.edsf.org to learn more.

The Give Back event at PRINT 13 was attended by more than 200; a veritable “who’s who” of the industry. It included companies and individuals that support this organization financially and through their time and talents. They were there to celebrate the good works of this organization and to raise money to provide scholarships to more than 48 graphic arts students this 2013 academic year. Since the inception of its scholarship program in 1999, EDSF has awarded 503 scholarships to high-caliber students around the world, in places like Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Dubai, Iceland, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The event also included an auction that raised more than $65,000, a 17 percent increase over last year. I had the pleasure of playing “auctioneer” and selling a host of donated items to an audience of people eager to support graphic arts students. It was a great time even though this audience had to deal with a first-time auctioneer. Thanks to all for being such willing participants.

There are many ways you can become a part of this effort to give back to our industry through the multiple programs available to companies large and small, as well as to individuals. At a minimum, you will want to order the book, “Making Good Software Decisions,” by Jennifer Matt of W2P Experts, as 100 percent of the proceeds go to EDSF for scholarships. You will learn critical information that will benefit your business, too.

Carl Gerhardt is the chairman of Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign & Graphics Operations LCC, and a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. The company’s Marketing & Print Division, headquartered in Plymouth, MI, is comprised of Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, Speedy Printing and Zippy Print brands of marketing, printing, mailing and Web services providers. Its Sign & Graphics Division, headquartered in Columbia, MD, is comprised of Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign and graphics communications providers.

Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.

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  • Katherine OBrien

    Carl, nice job with the auction–you have the gift. This is truly a great event–the students’ speeches both moving and reassuring–their are some gifted and articulate young people joining the industry.

  • Andy Plata

    What a joy to have a senior business executive like Carl share his talents to help dramatically increase the money available for today’s hard pressed students.

    If you were not there this year, it will be well worth the effort to be there next year to see Carl do his ‘magic’ while helping the next-gen.

    Thank you Carl!

  • David Murphy

    The purpose of EDSF (Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation) is to support talented university students who want to enter the graphic arts industry. As an EDSF board member and Vice Chair of Education, I have met with a number of these bright young people and I can tell you that they are energized by and passionate about the future of print and its critical role in the communications mix.

    These high-performing kids are the best of the best in their academic discipline and we should encourage and welcome them to join our industry. I often hear people say that print is not attractive to millennials and they we need the energy that this generation offers. Well, these students want in but they need the financial support of our stakeholders. The annual EDSF Give Back at GRAPH/PRINT event is our largest fundraising activity, but there are many other ways you can support this great cause throughout the year: by offering student internships, by making tax-deductible charitable contributions, by sponsoring a direct scholarship, or by joining the board of directors. If you would like to learn more about how you can support EDSF and the next generation of graphic arts professionals, please contact me or any EDSF board member.