When Small Businesses Make a Big Impact: Interviews with Groupon Merchants on Corporate Philanthropy

Groupon Grassroots merchant partner, Tire Pros & Auto Repair, repurposes tires to build a community garden and provide fresh produce to a Phoenix neighborhood in need.

Groupon Grassroots merchant partner, Tire Pros & Auto Repair, repurposes tires to build a community garden and provide fresh produce to a Phoenix neighborhood in need.

Here at Groupon we value giving back. Whether it’s through our Groupon Grassroots pro-bono fundraising campaigns, Groupon’s Employee Volunteer Program (EVP), or local merchant initiatives, we work to use our resources reinventing the ecommerce space for local businesses to make a positive impact. However, our corporate operation is not the only facet of the Groupon community making a difference.

We work with scores of small business owners integral to the economic success and cultural personality of their community. And despite their small size, many of these businesses are finding ways to create meaningful change in their own communities through philanthropic work, sponsorship, and in-kind giving—often strengthening their own business and ties to the community in the process.

So to celebrate merchant philanthropy we are running a series of merchant interviews that spotlight the great work Groupon merchants are doing in their communities. Each of these three merchants found ways to use their resources, expertise, and voice to make an impact, and we hope that their stories and advice will inspire other merchants to incorporate this type of giving into their own businesses.

Look out for the three interviews on Groupon Works and Groupon Grassroots that will be posted over the next three days, and a final wrap-up post with tips for making an impact with your business. Have any ideas for how we can continue to spotlight the great work of merchants in the local business sector? Let us know under the comments section below.

How to Prepare Emergency Kits for Pets

By Wanda Merling, senior manager of the disaster services program for the Animal Rescue Team at The Humane Society of the United States:

Hurricane Sandy Relief Work

Humane Society of the United States at Hurricane Sandy.

We at The Humane Society of the United States know that Groupon customers love animals, so I thought the blogs at Groupon would be a great place to share information about protecting your pets when disaster strikes. The key is having a good emergency plan and kit prepared.

Residents in the path of a storm should keep their pets indoors if they are staying at home, but if asked or ordered to evacuate in the face of a potentially destructive storm, pet owners should always bring their animals with them. If it’s not safe for you to be at home, then it’s not safe for your pets.

The path and strength of tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical storms are often uncertain. The best thing you can do is to prepare ahead of time, and to help you get ready, we have put together a checklist of things pet owners can do to prepare for a potential evacuation:

  • Make sure that all pets, including indoor-only pets, wear a collar with visible identification.
  • Keep pictures of your pets on hand for identification purposes. Ideally, you should also be in the photo.
  • Talk to your neighbors about how they can help your pets if you are not at home when disaster strikes.
  • Create a list of hotels and boarding facilities that allow pets in the city where you’ll go in case of an emergency. Plan on evacuating about 100 miles inland for hurricanes and tropical storms
  • If you plan to stay with family members, discuss bringing pets ahead of time.
  • Create a pet emergency kit that is available for you to quickly grab and go and includes all of the following:
    • At least a three-day supply of both drinking water and food. Store food in an airtight, waterproof container and be sure to include a can opener if necessary
    • Bowls for food and water
    • Current photos and a physical description of your pets, including details on markings
    • Medications, vaccination records, and pet first-aid supplies
    • Comfort items such as a toy and blanket
    • Small garbage bags
    • Paper towels
    • For dogs, include: leash, harness, and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area
    • For cats, include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport

    At the recent tornado in Tuskalooska, Alabama.

    When disaster strikes, the same rule that applies to people applies to pets: preparation makes all the difference. You can join The Humane Society of the United States and thousands of pet owners across the country in a pledge to take your pets with you when disaster strikes. For more information on how to prepare for disasters, please visit humanesociety.org/prepare.

Wanda dogs B&WWanda Merling is the senior manager of the disaster services program for the Animal Rescue Team at The Humane Society of the United States. With her strong background in coalition building and crisis management, Merling facilitates new and innovative methods of rescue and recovery for people and their pets during natural disasters.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. It rescues and cares for tens of thousands of animals each year, but its primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs, both across the United States and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the Web at humanesociety.org.

Groupon Grassroots Sprouts Worldwide with WWF

FinalGlobalMapTo celebrate the expansion of Groupon’s philanthropic arm, Groupon Grassroots, into local communities across the globe, we are kicking off the first international Groupon Grassroots campaign, which will help fund the efforts of WWF. With the support of approximately five million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions that help preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment, and combat climate change.


Sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef will benefit from Australia’s Groupon Grassroots campaign.

WWF campaigns supporting animals and the environment will go live today, June 10, and extend through Sunday, June 16. Each campaign will focus on an issue in the country in which it runs. For instance, subscribers in Australia can provide emergency care tanks for sick and injured turtles on the Great Barrier Reef while our customers in Chile can support the preservation of a larch in an ancient forest of Mapu Lahual indigenous parks in southern Chile.


The larch in southern Chile’s ancient forest of Mapu Lahual is supported by Groupon Chile’s campaign.

Check out the US campaign to protect prairie dogs from Sylvatic Plague, and click here to explore all of WWF’s other campaigns around the world.

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Black-tailed prairie dogs on the American Prairie Reserve, Northern Cheyenne Reservation and the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana provided with life-saving vaccines in the US Groupon Grassroots campaign.