When Mary Jane Mahoney first walked into the Santa Fe College Bookstore to be interviewed for the position of bookstore manager, she was asked what she would change about the store. “I said I wanted to see sunlight. I wanted the windows open and the space to breath,” she recalled. “I saw the opportunities.”
The gregarious manager with an infectious smile has always looked for opportunities to make a difference. So, when Santa Fe College, located in Gainesville, Florida, approached Mahoney to support the school’s March of Dimes initiative, she jumped right in.
In 2007, two faculty members brought the March of Dimes, the nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies, to the attention of Santa Fe College. They asked each department on campus to participate in an annual fundraiser. Specifically, they asked the bookstore to sell March of Dimes baby booties, but Mahoney and her team took it one step further. “Our first year, we sold the baby booties and put jars at our registers and asked patrons to donate a dollar,” recounted Mahoney. “It was low pressure and we felt good about supporting such a great cause.”
The following year, Mahoney and her close-knit team decided to kick it up a notch, turning the fundraiser into a competition between booksellers. “I decided to award prizes, like gift cards or gas cards, to the booksellers that raised the most money,” she recalled. “My team is very competitive; they made sure the whole campus knew we were supporting the March of Dimes and what a wonderful organization it is.”
That competitive spirit paid off when the bookstore raised more money than any other department on campus. “We’ve won many plaques and typically finish as the top department on campus,” Mahoney enthused. “Overall, we usually finish in the number two spot – right behind the president of the college.”
Over the past three years, the Santa Fe College Bookstore, managed by Barnes & Noble College, has raised over $7,300 for the March of Dimes. Mahoney’s team also volunteers at the local March of Dimes walk-a-thon by manning the refueling station – handing out water and snacks to weary participants.
“We love being a part of this school and helping students reach their academic goals,” said Mahoney. “Supporting the causes that are important to Santa Fe College and helping babies is a natural extension of that. After all, we’re all about helping our youth reach their fullest potential.”
For more information on the March of Dimes, visit www.marchofdimes.com.