08/08/12 — Andy's Foundation still helping others

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Andy's Foundation still helping others

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 8, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Since its creation in 2000, the Andy's Foundation has raised $1.2 million, which it has given away to a host of nonprofit organizations -- most of which deal with children.

The foundation is fueled by fundraising efforts by employees in the company's restaurants and its annual Andy's Golf Classic that this year will be held Sept. 15-16 at the Southern Wayne Country Club. The field, as usual, filled within weeks after registration opened in May.

"We average probably raising between $100,000 to $125,000 a year," said Kenney Moore, CEO and founder of Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries, formerly known as Andy's. "Last year we gave to 54 organizations throughout the state of North Carolina. Virtually all of them are kids organizations. Nobody on the (foundation) board is paid. Other than the seed money that goes to pay for the golf tournament, every dollar raised in the (restaurant) locations --100 percent of those dollars -- goes to the kids.

"It has been fun because it teaches a real valuable lesson to the young people who work in our stores -- that is not always about them. It gives them the opportunity help some of our littlest and less fortunate people in our state."

The Andy's Foundation retained its name even though the company's name was changed from Andy's Burgers, Shakes and Fries to avoid a potential legal battle over the federal trademark for the name "Andy's" that arose as it began its expansion into other states.

One thing that makes fundraising efforts for the foundation so successful are activities that go on in the restaurants, Moore said.

"We sell $1 cards (people sign for display in a store)," said company spokesman Adam Wiggins. "This year we are actually throwing a wrinkle into it -- we are raffling off season tickets to UNC football and basketball games. You can purchase tickets for $5 each. We will draw the winner on Sept. 10."

Tickets can be purchased at any store location, Wiggins said.

"We have wait staff out there who bake cookies tonight and sell them for 50 cents tomorrow to raise money for the foundation," Moore said. "We have stores out there that do yard sales where all of the kids in the store bring in stuff with all of the money going to the foundation. Car washes. A group out of Goldsboro does a reverse raffle to raise money for the foundation.

"The corporate sponsors and myself, we provide the money for the golf tournament. Every dollar raised at the store level, which like I said is the brunt of the $100,000 to $125,000 that we bring in, is raised in the stores -- the vast majority of it $1 at a time by our young people out there."

The foundation started by making donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"I have always been moved by Make-A-Wish," Moore said. "Seeing what the parents go through for these children, not to speak of what the children go through. They always seem to have smiles on their faces. I just think that organization does a wonderful job of taking care of families who are being put in a really tough spot."

The first thing the foundation looks for when considering funding an organization is nonprofit status, he said.

"But we look for organizations that don't have huge administrative costs so that the dollars that we give get to the kids," Moore said. "We look at nonprofits that operate lean and get the money to where it needs to go.

"We receive a lot of requests and one of the first things that we do is to go to that line item that says administrative costs, and if it is above 15 percent spent on administrative, there is a good chance we don't give to that because there is not enough getting to the kids."

The two-man, two-day golf tournament has been well received, Moore said. It is limited to 224 players and includes a party on Saturday night at the company's corporate headquarters.

"We actually send the information out in mid-May and we are full by June 1 for a Sept. 15 tee-off," Moore said. "We have players from as far away as St. Louis, Mo., to all the locals in Wayne County."

The fundraiser also features a silent auction that includes sports memorabilia items such as Duke and Carolina game packages, balls, Hurricanes hockey items and jewelry.

It generally raises $6,000 to $8,000 in one night, he said.

The Sleeping Booty Band of Raleigh, a 70s-early 80s funk-type band, will be making a return appearance at the tournament party where some dress in 70s outfits, he said.

"We had Chubby Checker here one night," Moore said. "He actually got up on stage for donations and did the Twist with the Booty Band. He actually sang that on a Saturday night after the previous Wednesday when it was voted the No. 1 single of all time.

"The first live performance he did of that song after it was voted the No. 1 single of the last 50 years, I think it was, was right here in Mount Olive at our golf tournament. That was a pretty neat night."