Americans for Common Cents (ACC) conducts research and provides information to Congress and the Executive Branch on the value and benefits of the penny.

Building Communities and Improving Lives One Penny at a Time – Charities Earn Millions With Pennies

To: National Circuit

Contact: Mark W. Weller, Americans for Common Cents (
(202) 312-7426

Building Communities and Improving Lives One Penny at a Time – Charitable Groups Earn Millions Annually Through Penny Drives

July 2 – American charities raise money in a variety of ways: annual funding drives, tax-deductible donations, and corporate sponsorship are just a few.  However, one of the most important ways charities raise funds is through coin drives that motivate large numbers of citizens to make small donations that add up to big dollars.  Coin drives, especially those that raise money through penny collection events, are an important element in many charities’ fund raising success, according to Mark Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents.

“News this week of a California man’s difficulty cashing one million collected pennies overlooks the coin’s true utility,” says Weller whose organization works to educate the public on the value of the penny.  “Our focus should be on the good news that the penny helps charities raise millions of dollars annually, and the coin’s value is demonstrated in the positive role it plays in our communities,” according to Weller.  Penny collection events are an important element in many charities’ fund raising successes.

For those looking to donate pennies, there are several options.  Six million students nationwide collected more than $13 million through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth programs, like Pennies for Patients.  Since 1994, these programs have raised more than $68 million.  “School children collecting spare change directly impact the Society’s ability to provide crucial support to patients and their families and fund leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research,” according to Nancy Klein, SVP, Marketing, from the Society.

And one need look no further than a local McDonald’s, where coin receptacles benefit the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities.  UNICEF, the Salvation Army and other charitable groups also rely in great part on the collection of pennies to fund their operations.  The value of pennies adds up.  A counting study conducted by the 7-11 convenience store chain found that one-third of all the money collected in store collection receptacles can be attributed to the penny.  In 7-11’s situation, it amounted to $1 million of the $3 million donated in one year.

Not only are coin drives an important element in many charities’ fundraising success, they also help elementary and secondary school students learn values that benefit others.  The power of the penny in benefiting communities is a phenomena that we see repeated every day.  No less than a dozen efforts to raise one million pennies are under way this year alone at U.S. elementary and secondary schools.

Penny harvests, like those run by charitable groups and school kids, rely on simple, yet critical, cent contributions to raise millions annually for great causes.  Coin drives that motivate large numbers of citizens to make small donations of their pennies add up to big dollars and truly benefit others.
The penny remains an important fund raising tool for many of these groups and helps energize their base.  For those seeking to donate the spare change, just look around.  The best place to benefit others may be closer than you think at a local school or convenience store.

Americans for Common Cents is a broad-based coalition of business, charitable, and numismatic organizations dedicated to keeping the penny.  The coalition was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the one-cent coin.

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