Buy Local Santa Monica is celebrating 2015 as another successful year for the economic development program with $45 million generated for the local community.

The Santa Monica Buy Local program is a partnership between local businesses and the

City that encourages shoppers to spend money within city limits, particularly at mom and pop stores.

Any business located in Santa Monica is eligible to join the program but organizers say their priority is to support locally owned, independent businesses. Members receive marketing and promotional support, discounted advertising rates, exhibitor opportunities and event discounts.

Jennifer Taylor, Buy Local Santa Monica Committee Chair and an Economic Development Administrator with the City of Santa Monica said the program benefits the community through partnerships with local non-profits.

“Purchases made at Santa Monica businesses this year raised $7.5 million for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, helping to fund teachers, the Samohi college counselor, textbooks and summer school. This funding was generated by Measure Y proceeds,” she said.

By encouraging shoppers to buy local, Taylor said the program helps keep money circulating within the local economy. According to Buy Local, as much as $7 of every $10 spent at a local store stays within the area through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

According to Taylor, 154 businesses joined Buy Local this year to bring their total to over 800 participating businesses. Santa Monica residents own about 50 percent and the businesses employ about 40,000 people.

In 2015 the program organized several events. Their annual Most Loved program allows residents to vote on their favorite businesses (The Daily Press publishes the Most Loved results annually), the organization partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to host the Wellbeing Festival and Buy Local Marketplace in September and Buy Local, Give Local Week raised $6,782.03 (and 60 jars of peanut butter donations) in support of local charity partners. Their holiday events included several sidewalk sales and holiday events to encourage local gift purchases and they helped advertise local New Year’s Eve parties to help locals stay close to home while celebrating.

Taylor said local purchases raised $45 million for the Santa Monica community and that money helped fund a variety of services.

“Buying local really does make a difference,” said Taylor. “Thank you to everyone for supporting our Santa Monica businesses and our community. Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2016.”

For more info on the Buy Local Santa Monica campaign, participating businesses and community partners, visit www.BuyLocalSM.com.

editor@www.smdp.com