Sunday, May 04, 2008

Grants for Programs Improving Your Community Open to the U.S.

MARKHAM VINEYARDS ANNOUNCES MARK OF DISTINCTION GRANTS PROGRAM
A Winery with Deep Community Roots Supports Those Planting Seeds for Positive Change

NAPA VALLEY, CA – April 8, 2008 – Markham Vineyards, a pioneering Napa Valley winery with a proud history of community involvement, today announced a call for applicants for the Mark of Distinction, a program designed to empower individuals to make positive, tangible change across America. This nationwide initiative will award $25,000 grants to individuals to help complete community projects.

Markham is searching for local leaders who are dedicated to improving their neighborhoods, cities or towns. Passionate, inspiring candidates with a project that could make a lasting change in their community can enter at www.MarkhamMarkofDistinction.com. On July 10 finalists and their dream projects will be selected and posted on the Web site. The public will then vote to determine two winners, who will be awarded $25,000 each to make a lasting local change – a “Mark of Distinction” – in their communities.

“Markham Vineyards could not have become the success it is today without the support of the local people,” said Markham Vineyards President and Napa Valley native Bryan Del Bondio. “We are excited to give others the opportunity to give back, and look forward to discovering and supporting exceptional individuals in improving their community through the Mark of Distinction program.”

Mark of Distinction seeks applicants throughout the country and from all walks of life. Any project that would result in a lasting, material community improvement – ranging from park refurbishment to the establishment of a community center to construction of a public pool – is viable. “We’ve all had a moment, in our neighborhood or city, where we’ve seen something that needed work or could be made better and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if?’” Del Bondio said. “Mark of Distinction will empower people who have the leadership, skill and perseverance to turn those ‘what ifs’ into reality.”

The inspiration for the Mark of Distinction can be found in the history of the winery itself. Founded in 1879, Markham Vineyards has achieved great success through an unwavering devotion to the Napa Valley community, in which it has deep roots. Markham owns more than 230 acres of Napa Valley vineyards and purchases grapes from established local growers, many of whom have worked with the winery for years – including Ted Laurent, grandson of Markham winery founder Jean Laurent.

Markham Vineyards regularly gives back at local and national levels. It has long been a supporter of the Northern California-based Milagro Foundation, and of the renowned Napa Valley Vintners’ annual auction. Around the country, Markham has supported the Catch 22 Foundation, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund and the Chicago Lighthouse for the blind. To continue in the tradition of community involvement, this spring, a portion of proceeds from each Markham wine purchase will be donated to Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.

Markham Vineyards offers a diverse range of award-winning varietals, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Merlot and Petite Syrah. For more information about the winery, please visit www.markhamvineyards.com.

CONTACT: Jessica Elker, Marina Maher Communications, 212-485-6842, jelker at mahercomm dot com or Amy Grosheider, Marina Maher Communications, 212-485-6895, agrosheider at mahercomm dot com

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