Last fall Cheshire voters approved spending millions of dollars in for technology upgrades, but as the first major investment in two decades, that money will only go so far.
Recognizing that reality, Richard Chevrolet general manager Jason Vianese wanted to do something to bring more funding to Cheshire Public Schools for computers and other needed technology in the classroom.
"I have two children in the school district," he said, "and I thought that there's a need there, and there's something we should do about it."
So Vianese turned to Supt. of Schools Greg Florio to see what could be done.
"I called [Florio] and brainstormed with him and said that we would like to do something for technology in the schools," Vianese said. "He told me about the Cheshire Education Foundation and put me in touch with them."
From that was born “Drive for Education,” a six-month fundraising effort that will raise money for special projects in the Cheshire Public Schools.
Beginning Feb. 16 -- Presidents’ Day weekend, traditionally one of the most popular car-buying times for dealers -- Richard Chevrolet will donate $100 to the Cheshire Education Foundation for every car -- new or used -- sold or leased to Cheshire residents or to any employee of the Cheshire Public Schools regardless of where they reside.
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After 37 years in Cheshire, the business has built up a considerable clientele of town residents, Vianese said, so he's hopeful that over the next six months the number of sales made to them will add up to a hefty chunk of change donated to the CEF, especially since there's no cap on the amount of the donation.
"We are always looking for ways to support children," he said.
The foundation was established in 1995 and has since raised money that has gone toward the purchase of computer and science technology and for items such as Smartboards, interactive whiteboards that link to computers.
Money raised also funds "mini-grants" for educational projects and presentations, according to foundation officials, and it offers yearly scholarships.
Incoming Foundation president Jane Leukart welcomed the dealership's offer and generosity.
“We see this as a great partnership between two Cheshire traditions,” she said.“Anything that benefits the education of children in Cheshire is a wonderful opportunity for our foundation. Everyone comes out a winner.”
And hopefully, Leukart said, other businesses will follow suit and find creative ways to contribute to the town's schools as Richard Chevrolet has.