From employee to franchisee, Renee Friedman has been a part of the FASTSIGNS family for much of its history. Through seasons of ups and downs as a business owner, Renee, owner of FASTSIGNS® of Orlando – Central, knows what it means to have someone there to help when it is most needed.
“Going through the Recession was challenging and life-altering,” explained Renee. “It took time, but once my center regained momentum and experienced success, I wanted to pay it forward and give back to my community.”
Renee has been donating time, money and signage at no cost or at a reduced cost to various organizations over the years. Currently, Renee and her FASTSIGNS team work with Friends of Down Syndrome, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Central Florida, Jewish Family Services Orlando, Toys for Tots and Orlando Strong.
FASTSIGNS of Orlando – Central sponsors the Friends of Down Syndrome’s Cinderella Ball fundraiser and provides the signs and printed materials for the event, such as banners, posters, table centerpieces, directional signage and event programs. At the first ball held in 2015, over $25,000 was raised; and in 2016, over $105,000 was raised.
“Friends of Down Syndrome is very close to my heart as my 22-year old niece has been a client there for several years. It is an amazing place that not only has excellent academics and vocational training, but an outstanding wellness program. My niece is able to further her education and life skills, and has made lasting friendships.”
Each year, FASTSIGNS of Orlando – Central also sponsors the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, for which they designed the event logo and provide a variety of signage. Renee shares that this organization has extra meaning knowing that prior to meeting him her boyfriend lost his wife to a 4-year battle against breast cancer.
Most recently, FASTSIGNS of Orlando – Central partnered with Orlando Strong after the tragic mass shooting and donated “Orlando Strong” decals so people could show their support for the community. They also provided banners, yard signs and t-shirts.
“The Orlando Strong movement was the small bit of good that came out of the tragedy of the Orlando Pulse Massacre. There was so much sadness that came over all of us in Orlando, it was so palpable. Through that the community wanted to pull together—I could feel it, and I felt I could do something about it.”
At the 2017 FASTSIGNS International, Inc. Annual Convention, Renee received the inaugural Show Us How You Care Award. This award is a part of the FASTSIGNS Cares philanthropic initiative and recognizes FASTSIGNS franchisees who demonstrate significant charitable giving efforts in their communities throughout the year. In conjunction with the award, two $500 donations were made on behalf of FASTSIGNS of Orlando – Central to the American Red Cross of Greater Orlando and the Friends of Down Syndrome.
“Our team is proud to work on the various charitable projects that we provide and make a positive impact. The projects we help produce and the events we volunteer at have also been great team-building exercises. We’re truly honored to be able to support such wonderful charity organizations and hope to inspire others to find ways they can help.”