Dealer Doings: Turning Test Drives into School Funds

Oklahoma Dealerships Donate More Than $50,000 with ‘Drive for Education’
by Charles Pannunzio
May/June 2015
Dealer Doings: Turning Test Drives into School Funds
School Spirit
Jim Norton Toyota General Manager Michael Rentschler and his wife, Pamela (center), personally present $5,000 checks to schools at pep rallies or halftime at football or basketball games.
With drastic budget cuts in education, Jim Norton Toyota dealerships in Oklahoma have helped area schools raise more than $50,000 in the past five years.

Through its ongoing “Drive for Education” program, parents and other school supporters take test drives. In exchange, the dealership makes a donation to the school, according to Michael Rentschler, who has overseen the program as general manager of Jim Norton Toyota locations in Lawton and Oklahoma City.

“It is a wonderful way to give back to our communities and our children,” says Rentschler, who is now general manager at Jim Norton Toyota in Tulsa. “Our public schools are constantly looking for fundraising activities to meet the budget restrictions.”

According to the Tulsa World newspaper, Oklahoma has had the deepest cuts in the nation in per-pupil spending since 2008, down 23.6 percent over the past six years. That makes corporate donations all the more important.

When a school expresses interest in the program, Rentschler meets with the principal to go over the details. The usual agreement includes 150 completed test drives for a $5,000 donation. The funds are available to one school each quarter.
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