Every year, Mattress Firm hosts a week-long leadership conference called BEDTalks. Over one thousand Mattress Firm employees and vendor partners from across the country come together to learn, have fun and celebrate our team members who do outstanding work every day.
This year, BEDTalks was held in Mattress Firm’s hometown of Houston, TX. One of the days of the four-day long meeting is always dedicated to giving back, and for the last several years that has included Mattress Firm employees working together to raise money and support the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program through donations to the Ticket to Dream Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.
Mattress Firm Gives Big
On Wednesday, May 10, we hosted our annual “Give BIG” day which is a favorite day for many of the attendees, including myself.
This year was a little different, because we challenged our attendees to create online fundraisers to raise $150,000 for the Ticket to Dream Foundation. These funds will help foster kids of all ages participate in extra-curricular activities like sports, music, and dance! We didn’t just raise the goal we set, we exceeded that by raising an amazing $257,000 in the weeks leading up to the event. Combined with additional fundraising at BEDTalks, we raised $435,000 for foster kids nationwide. So, when we went to Give Big Day, we made sure to mix in the philanthropy with a whole lot of fun.
Fitting with our BEDTalks theme, which was “ACTIV8″, we gave each Mattress Firm employee an opportunity to participate in our Foster Fitness Fair. We set up four different outdoor activities, along with a station for participants to help fill 2,000 duffel bags with athletic and fun items for foster children. Everyone enjoyed a fun run, an obstacle course, a Zumba class, and then a 3 on 3 basketball game.
We also had a special visitor who came to help out – Houston Texans star JJ Watt! JJ brought a ton of all-star energy to our day; he joined in and did the obstacle course with Cory Ludens, Mattress Firm’s VP of Culture and Events, and then worked with Mattress Firm employees to help fill some of the duffel bags and wrote inspirational cards to foster kids.
There were also several other ways for our team members to give back, including an opportunity to donate in a paddle raise, purchase silent auction items and purchase special Mattress Firm products and merchandise, with profits benefiting the Ticket to Dream Foundation.
This event was so important to me, because it really reflects Mattress Firm Foster Kids tagline: “Not everyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child.” It’s true! Our Mattress Firm employees are such a huge part of our programs success, and we’re so glad that they could join together from all over the country to help out in such a meaningful (and fun!) way.
About The Author
As director of community relations for Mattress Firm, Mauri Knowles channels her passion for helping others by connecting Mattress Firm employees with opportunities to make an impact on their communities and partnering with local non-profit organizations. Mauri joined the Mattress Firm family of brands in 2004, and since then she has helped us donate more than 2 million essential items and $5 million to foster children in need.
She also serves as vice president of the Ticket to Dream Foundation, which supports the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program and raises funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer. Mauri says that one of her proudest moments of her career was helping launch the foundation in 2008.
A California native and proud alumna of California State University, Sacramento, Mauri loves staycations with her family to the beach and nearby lakes. And, whether for work or for pleasure, she throws a good party; from themed dinner parties for family and friends to our annual golf tournament and fundraiser – if Mauri is in charge you know you’ll have a good time.
Best Night’s Sleep: Mauri sleeps happy at home on her Beautyrest mattress on a moveable base after a day spent helping others; and she typically wakes up the next morning having spent the night dreaming it’s possible to do even more.