Gifford’s and Travis Mills Foundation Announce Partnership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Travis Mills Foundation
Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream and Travis Mills Foundation Announce Partnership
Gifford’s to Sponsor One of 56 Veteran Families to Stay at the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat, Donate Gallons of Ice Cream, and Host Events to Raise Awareness and Funds for the Foundation’s Mission
SKOWHEGAN, MAINE — May 22, 2017 — Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream and the Travis Mills Foundation announced today a new partnership. Gifford’s has committed to sponsoring one of the 56 Veteran families scheduled to stay at the new Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat located in the historic Belgrade Lakes region of Maine, and is donating more than 60 gallons of ice cream for the families visiting the retreat to enjoy this summer. Gifford’s is also collaborating with the Foundation to raise awareness and funds for its mission at the company’s five family-owned ice cream stands located in Auburn, Bangor, Farmington, Skowhegan and Waterville.
The Travis Mills Foundation was founded in 2013 with the mission to help injured veteran families unite with the land, water, nature and each other to revitalize themselves and to keep moving forward. Its founder, United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, lost both arms and legs in Afghanistan on April 10, 2012, when he was critically injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). During his 19-month recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Mills became passionate about engaging with other injured soldiers and their families and began to formalize his dream of creating a special retreat for them in Maine.
Foundation President and Founder Travis Mills said, “When our vision for the Retreat came into focus, we knew we wanted to involve as many local, Maine companies as we could. We are extremely excited that Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream – one of Maine’s iconic brands – has decided to support our organization, and it was thrilling to learn about their passion for our work.”
New Company-Wide Process for Philanthropy Selection
Two years ago, Gifford’s created a new company-wide process for choosing the causes it would support to ensure the entire Gifford’s family, comprised of 44 employees and family leadership members, were passionate about the company’s philanthropic initiatives. Gifford’s now utilizes a voting system to select the annual causes the company will support. Causes selected may receive donations of ice cream, employee volunteer hours, and in some cases, financial support. In December, the company gathered to vote on the causes it would support for 2017. Veterans initiatives, and the Travis Mills Foundation, received the highest number of votes.
“Selecting our charitable focus in this way helps to ensure we are supporting what the entire Gifford’s family is passionate about,” said Lindsay Skilling, fifth generation ice cream maker and CEO of Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream. “When we heard what Travis was doing we knew we wanted to get involved. The entire Gifford’s family is honored to support Travis Mills and the work of his foundation. We hope all of the visiting families enjoy their stay in Maine.”
As part of the partnership, Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream is also sponsoring the Miles for Mills 5K in Augusta on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017. On June 25, 2017, Gifford’s ice cream will be offered to more than 500 invited guests at the grand opening of the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat. Gifford’s is also asking its customers to get involved and has made collection bins available at its five family-owned ice cream stands so that its customers can make individual contributions along with them.
“We do not allow our guests to tip our ice cream stand scoopers, so we thought providing them the opportunity to donate to the Travis Mills Foundation would be a wonderful way for our customers to show their appreciation for our stand family while also helping a powerful cause,” noted Skilling.
Celebrating 30 Years in Bangor in July
Skilling also shared that Travis Mills will be the company’s guest at the 30th anniversary celebration of its Bangor ice cream stand on July 13, 2017. As part of the celebration, Gifford’s is giving away 30 signed copies of Mills’ book, Tough as They Come. Mills will also be available for photos with stand visitors. “July is the month when we celebrate our country’s independence and what better way to do that than with one of our country’s heroes,” noted Skilling. July is also National Ice Cream Month and stand visitors can expect to enjoy some fun items inspired by the Mills’ family favorite flavors, which are Moose Tracks (Travis), Mint Chocolate Chip (Kelsey) and Cotton Candy (Chloe), as well as original recipes from when the Bangor stand first opened.
Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat
The Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat becomes fully operational on July 3, 2017, when it welcomes its first guests. The retreat, formerly the estate of cosmetics pioneer Elizabeth Arden, was originally built in 1929, and is situated on Watson Pond Road in the historic Belgrade Lakes region of Maine. Since the Foundation purchased the estate in 2015, Mills and his team have been raising the necessary funds, almost $3 million, to transform the iconic celebrity retreat and grounds into a paradise for injured veterans and their families. Everything about the retreat is designed to accommodate all types of wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices.
Mills concluded: “We have created a truly special place for our guests – a place for revitalization and building positive family memories while enjoying all that Maine has to offer. Every detail is important and having delicious Gifford’s ice cream available for our families to enjoy is simply one more special touch to let them know how much we care.”
About Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream
Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream, world-class ice cream from a small town in Maine, is a fifth-generation, family-owned company that sources its fresh milk and cream exclusively from independent family farms, and uses antique Cherry Burrell freezers to slow churn the most delicious, creamiest ice cream possible. The company has earned numerous international and national “First Place” and “World’s Best” awards for its premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet. Gifford’s sells its ice cream from Maine to North Carolina and in select states as far west as Illinois. In Maine, Gifford’s has five famous ice cream stands. For more information visit www.giffordsicecream.com. Follow Gifford’s Ice Cream on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.