MarketStar has a big presence in Weber County, with both the large, glass building it occupies in downtown Ogden and the amount of people in the region it employs.
Now, it’s hoping to make an even bigger local impact.
The company recently announced it will put 1% of its annual profits into its MarketStar Foundation, a nonprofit private operating foundation established in May to better direct the company’s community outreach efforts.
MarketStar started incorporating the foundation in 2019. Danette Pulley, the MarketStar Foundation’s executive director, said the company got a $1 million endowment from the Wasatch Group, which bought MarketStar last year, to help kickstart the foundation.
That is in addition to MarketStar’s 1% yearly profit commitment. Pulley didn’t disclose how large of a sum such a percentage would represent — MarketStar is privately held, so its exact financials aren’t subject to public scrutiny — but she and the company’s marketing director, Philip Mickey, said it’s substantial.
“It will enable our programs ... to be significantly amplified in the way that we give back to community,” Pulley said.
“Pairing the original endowment with our commitment of 1% of profits, we are now in a great position to create growth for our communities and make a real difference,” Mickey wrote in an email.
One of the biggest programs the foundation is connected to right now, and an example of the types of things it’s involved in, is the Pack the Pantry food drive with the Ogden School District.
As of Wednesday, $46,346 had been raised, an extension from the initial goal of $25,000. Due to COVID-19, the drive has been conducted virtually.
That money will go to keep the pantry stocked year-round at OSD’s new Community School Student & Family Resource Center, which will be housed in an overflow space in James Madison Elementary.
The district receives many donations each year to support its students, but it didn’t have a place to put them.
The Student & Family Resource Center, according to an OSD press release, will “serve as the centralized source for Community School services, resources and in-kind donations to support students and families with tools they need to learn and grow including food, school supplies, clothing, shoes, hygiene and household items available at no cost.”
Another partnership the foundation launched, Pulley said, was earlier this year in February when it partnered with Real Salt Lake and the Ogden School Foundation to give each K-6 teacher in the Ogden School District $600 for “creative classroom supplies.”
Pulley estimated the foundation put about $190,000 into that partnership. She said there have also been discussions with the Weber School District about supporting some math manipulative kits for kids in grades 1-3.
Right now, nearly all of the foundation’s outreach work is centered in Ogden and Weber County since that’s where most of the company’s employees reside and work.
MarketStar has been conducting community initiatives for around six years, but the establishment of the foundation means there are dedicated dollars and people in charge of the programs, Mickey said.
“There wasn’t really a person (in-house) who was dedicated to doing this, so when you start the foundation what that does is opens up — really it’s a formalization,” Mickey said.
“That’s bringing in Danette, who worked in the development office at Weber State. So now that she’s here, it’s her job to do these things. So that within itself is a monster force multiplier because now you have someone who’s there. We have team leads who are different employees within the organization, but somebody is leading the charge.”
Section 2204 of the CARES Act, the coronavirus relief bill passed earlier this year, essentially increases tax deductibility on nonprofit donations. Previously, corporations such as MarketStar could deduct charitable donations up to 10% of their taxable income. The provision in the CARES Act lifts that to 25%.
Mickey said that provision of the CARES Act didn’t factor into the decision to establish the nonprofit and said it won’t affect decisions going forward about how much to donate; the company is comfortable with its figure of 1% of yearly profits going to the foundation, according to Mickey.
Based in Ogden, MarketStar provides outsourced sales and marketing services to companies around the globe, including big-name brands like Pinterest, Dropbox, Samsung and Pandora.