ScottsMiracle-Gro: Fertile Ground for Pelotonia

Founded in 1868 in Marysville, Ohio, what is now known as ScottsMiracle-Gro initially took root as a premium seed company for farmers. Today, with nearly $3 billion in net sales, it is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products. Scotts has nurtured the community as well, through various partnerships, scholarships and donations. “We are proud to be a partner with The Ohio State University in growing tomorrow’s leaders in the areas of business, engineering and the sciences,” observes Su Lok, director of corporate and community partnerships at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “We recently strengthened our long-term relationship with the University by joining The James and Pelotonia in the fight against cancer.” Engaging with Pelotonia was “a natural choice because wellness is a large part of the ScottsMiracle-Gro culture, and Pelotonia gets our associates actively involved in the health of our community.”

Along with pledging $400,000 over a four-year period as a funding partner of Pelotonia, Scotts also matches donations to employee riders as well as contributions to one participating family member. “While the $400,000 will go toward defraying operational costs, every dollar matched for riders will be put directly toward cancer research,” explains Michael Chambers, a senior analyst at Scotts and captain of their peloton, Team ScottsMiracle-Gro. “This is a huge incentive because, along with encouraging participation, it also removes a lot of the pressure about meeting their financial commitment.” So instead of having to raise, say, the entire $2,200 pledge, the employee is responsible for only $1,100. Conversely, should associates collect more than their initial pledge, as many do, “Scotts will match that amount as well.”

Pelotonia involvement has blossomed since Pelotonia CEO and cancer survivor Tom Lennox came to Scotts to speak about the ride in 2010. “That year we had 18 riders in our peloton,” recalls Michael. The number doubled to 36 for Pelotonia 11, then shot up to 100 in 2012. “This year we anticipate 200 participants, perhaps more,” to include not only riders but virtual riders and volunteers. Total amounts raised have also reflected burgeoning enthusiasm: from $62,500 in 2010 to $208,500 last year, making Scotts the eighth-highest-raising peloton for 2012. Plus, “Very few pelotons have 100 riders,” Michael says.

Pelotonia has also become part of the Scotts culture, with a planned pig roast and other fundraisers to further help participants meet their goals. Observes Michael, “If people are initially hesitant about actually riding, they can get their foot in the door” by participating as a volunteer, virtual rider or donor. “Cancer affects everyone; once people become involved with Pelotonia through Scotts, they usually continue.”

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