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Ashoka Announces Gardens for Health International as the Grand Prize Winner of the Worldwide Staples “Youth Social Entrepreneur” Competition

Emma Clippinger and Emily Morell Recognized for Their Commitment to Leading Social Change

Thursday, November 20, 2008 8:00 am EST

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SPLS
"We hope their stories and Ventures will inspire youth everywhere to take part in the global movement of young changemakers who are taking initiative and creating Ventures that contribute to social change."

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ashoka, the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs, and Staples Foundation for Learning, a private foundation created by Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), today announced Emma Clippinger and Emily Morell as the global winners of the Staples “Youth Social Entrepreneur” Competition. Staples made the official announcement during a special ceremony that took place today at Staples’ headquarters in Framingham, MA. The Staples “Youth Social Entrepreneur” Competition, created on Ashoka’s Changemakers’ platform, asked young people around the world to showcase how their projects are leading positive change and making an impact within their communities.

Emma Clippinger and Emily Morell are co-founders of Gardens for Health International, which provides nutritional support and economic empowerment to HIV-positive individuals throughout Rwanda. This organization simultaneously targets malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and poverty. They were chosen out of five finalists selected from more than 100 entries received from the U.S. and France for their outstanding impact, innovation and commitment to serving their community. As the overall global winners, Emma and Emily will receive $5,000 worth of Staples products to help run their entrepreneurial Venture. The suite of products includes a laptop, digital camera, printer and essential office supplies.

Finalists were selected by an elite panel of judges, including Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Hannah Teter, U.S. Olympic gold-medal winning snowboarder; Gilles Daniel, vice president of MTV France; Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Danone; and Kyle Freas, grand prize winner of the 2007 “Youth Social Entrepreneur” Competition.

All five finalists were flown to Boston, MA, to be recognized during today’s special ceremony led by Mike Miles, president and chief operations officer of Staples, Inc., and spent the day meeting with top Staples executives.

“This competition gives young people from around the world a chance to demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit in service to their communities,” said Miles. “Youth Venture provides support to young entrepreneurs like these who are developing projects that will have a positive, lasting impact on the world.”

“We received hundreds of entries for this year’s Staples ‘Youth Social Entrepreneur’ Competition from young entrepreneurs from all over the world who are making positive change in the world,” said Bill Drayton, chief executive officer and chairman of Ashoka. “We hope their stories and Ventures will inspire youth everywhere to take part in the global movement of young changemakers who are taking initiative and creating Ventures that contribute to social change.”

Youth Venture is an Ashoka initiative that is catalyzing and investing in a movement of young changemakers all over the world who are taking action by identifying problems and creating Ventures to create positive change in their communities. Staples began its support of Youth Venture in 2006 through Staples Foundation for Learning, a private charitable foundation created by Staples, Inc. Support from Staples Foundation for Learning has helped Ashoka launch the Youth Venture program in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Argentina and Brazil. To date, Staples has contributed $1.5 million to build the capacity, visibility and reach of the Youth Venture program throughout the world.

About Youth Venture

Youth Venture is a global movement of young changemakers. Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people to start their own sustainable social Ventures and connects them into a powerful global network. Collectively, these young changemakers are redefining the youth years as a time of initiative and positive change. For more information, please visit www.genv.net.

About Ashoka

Ashoka is the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs—individuals with innovative and practical ideas for addressing social needs. Working with these social entrepreneurs, Ashoka builds communities of innovators who work collectively to transform society and design new ways for the social sector to become more productive, entrepreneurial and globally integrated. Ashoka's Changemakers is building an "open source" online community that competes to surface the best social solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. To date, Changemakers has attracted more than 3,500 solutions from more than 125 countries. For more information, please visit www.ashoka.org or www.changemakers.net.

About Staples

Staples, the world’s largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With $27 billion in sales, Staples serves businesses of all sizes and consumers in 27 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In July 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express, one of the world’s leading suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.

Multimedia Files:

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Contact:

Staples, Inc.
Joy Errico, 508-253-7957
joy.errico@staples.com
or
For Ashoka’s Youth Venture
Terry Donovan, 508-435-0045
tdonovan@youthventure.org

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