Dunwoody News Alert

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sally Foster (the real person!) returns to Dunwoody

AJC, DeKalb, 11/13/06, by Kristina Torres

Queen of school fund-raising visits Kingsley Charter

and AJC, Metro, 11/14/06, by Kristina Torres

Here's the wrap, or rap, on school sales

From the story:
The Kingsley kids have special reason to be devoted to Sally Foster products because the idea of selling them originated at their school. And they met the genius behind the gift wrap Monday when Sally Foster returned to the school where she was once a PTA mom.

"It seemed to me the children should have the privilege of not being embarrassed" by what they sold, said Foster, who spent the morning at Kingsley handing out top-sale prizes. "I thought, why can't we sell something people want?"

Yes, there really is a Sally Foster, and she hit on a pretty good idea —- or, depending on your point of view, a necessary evil —- while volunteering at Kingsley in the early 1970s: Encouraging kids to sell wrapping paper for gifts.

Foster, who now lives in Duncan, S.C., is the doyenne of gift wrap and the diva of school sales, whose namesake fund-raising empire has made wrapping paper a blessing and, to some parents, the bane of elementary schools the nation over.
A PTA mom until her kids grew up, Foster learned about school fund-raising projects at Kingsley.

Think you've had it up to here with shilling rolls of paper? Then you haven't seen Styrofoam door-hanging Santas, which Foster remembers selling to raise a nickel for teachers, along with apples, pumpkins and bags of fertilizer, before she launched the wrapping paper concept shortly after her arrival in Dunwoody in 1970.

That concept, at first, meant corralling other moms into the cafeteria to roll 50-foot strips of black-and-white polka-dot wrapping paper onto cardboard "cores" while stapling tiny samples onto order forms.

The Foster family moved away to Spartanburg, S.C., in 1973, but after an encouraging call from Kingsley's principal she kept the enterprise going, and it blossomed into an ever-expanding business.

Foster sold the company years ago but has stayed on as a consultant. Schools receive 50 percent of the proceeds from Sally Foster products they sell.
Whatever the adults think, Kingsley students crowded into their cafeteria and cheered like mad Monday morning, as the real Sally Foster hugged kids and beamed among teachers bedecked in Sally Foster ribbons.

Gift packages were presented, a couple of kids earned Target gift cards. And Lindsey Kirkland collected the school's top sales prize for personally selling $600 worth of Sally Foster gifts: A portable DVD player.

She didn't know she had won until she heard her name. But Lindsey didn't bat an eye.

Looking ahead to a Thanksgiving vacation, the 8-year-old said, "I'm going to take it on my trip to New York."


> First gift wrap sale: In 1970, she suggested that the PTA at Kingsley Charter School in DeKalb County sell gift wrap instead of apples and candles. Proceeds from the sales campaign were reported to be $2,000.

> Starting her own business: In 1973, she started her own business in South Carolina with sales by Kingsley and two other schools.

> Sale of company: In 1989, the company was sold to a friend for what was thought to be several million dollars. It was resold in 1992 for a reported $31 million to $32 million.

Sources: Journal-Constitution archives, Washington Post

Picture credit and caption:
Rich Addicks/AJC
Fund-raising firm chief Sally Foster, a former Kinglsey Charter School PTA board member, stopped by her old stomping grounds Monday to honor the school's top Sally Foster sellers. Third-grader Lucie Calhoun was one of the top 10 sellers.


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