Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Racine's Mitchell Middle School among top schools in Kohls Cares $500,000 contest

Racine's Mitchell Middle School is a month away from winning $500,000.

Mitchell is competing with schools across the country in the "Kohls Cares" contest on Facebook. Kohls is giving away a half-million dollars to the Top 20 vote-getting schools. Mitchell is now in 15th place with about a 500-vote margin over the 21st-placed school.

You can see the leaderboard here.

It goes without saying that a $500,000 corporate award would be a major help to Mitchell. The school was built in 1937 as a WPA project. It's last renovation was in 1974.

The Kohls Cares contest is a real opportunity for Racine to support its aging school system. No other Racine schools are near the Top 20 and likely won't have enough time to rally support. It'd be smarter if all of the city's schools could get behind Mitchell and vote to bring a free $500,000 into Racine Unified.

Kim Wendt, a science teacher at Mitchell, is organizing the Kohls Cares push. She was the lead teacher behind last spring's successful effort to win $50,000 from Pepsi to renovate Mitchell's science classrooms.

Here's how you vote in the Kohls Cares contest:

1. The contest is being run through Facebook, so you need a Facebook account. If you don't have an account, it's easy to create one and vote.

2. Once you're signed into Facebook, go to this address to vote:

You can also simply search for "Kohls Cares" and then "Mitchell Middle."

3. All Facebook users are entitled to 20 votes, but can only use five of those votes on any one school. On Mitchell's voting page, click "Cast a Vote" five times.

4. Post a status message encouraging all of your friends to vote. The competition will get heated as the deadline for the $500,000 approaches. The more people you can get the vote, the better.

That's all there is to it. It takes no more than 10 minutes and can make a big impact. The leading school has about 10,000 votes at the moment. We should easily be able to find 2,000 Racine Facebookers to vote five times to support our city's public schools. They certainly could use the help.

As an aside, my wife got to thinking morning about the growing need for a full-time coordinator to help Racine organizations and schools run for these types of grants. Corporations are increasingly turning to contests to award money. With intense competition it takes a well-coordinated effort to rise to the top of the pack. Wendt is proving, again, that Racine is capable of competing nationally for these dollars. Maybe the city, school district, RCEDC, RAMAC, Leadership Racine, YPR, etc. could look at how to bring in money for our nonprofits by rallying the community.


  1. I am confused. The Pepsi refresh web site says
    "This project finished in the top 10 in April, 2010
    Kim Wendt a teacher at Mitchell Middle School was awarded $50K!"

  2. OK. I wasn't paying attention. This is another contest in which Mitchell Middle school is entered. I just voted.