Los Angeles County schools received $1.1 million from a customer donation program sponsored by the Vons grocery store chain, it was announced today.
Vons has an "eScrip'' program, which allows its customers to direct a percentage of their purchases to schools of their choice when they use their Vons or Pavilions Club Card.
It also has a `"10% Back to Schools'' program that allows schools to earn 10 percent of the sale price of more than 2,500 items at any Vons or Pavilions store during a certain period.
Donations for the year 2009 came out to $1.1 million overall, and Vons officials presented a symbolic check this month to the Los Angeles County Board of Education.
"This fundraising has helped at a time when districts across the state are facing unprecedented cuts,'' said county Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darline Robles, who announced her retirement this week.
Schools can earn up to $25,000 annually through the Vons programs. The top-earning school in the country last year was Chaparral Elementary in the Claremont Unified School District, which raised more than $15,000.
"It made all the difference for us,'' said the school's principal, Lori Kearns. "Without the funding, we would not have been able to take our students on as many field trips, provide a quality music and art program, or purchase technology equipment and even basic supplies.
Stevenson Ranch Elementary and South Pasadena Middle School each raised more than $14,000, while Roosevelt Elementary in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District raised more than $12,000.
"Education is the key ingredient for success,'' said Carlos Illingworth, Vons' manager for public affairs and government relations.
He estimated Vons donated $5.3 million to schools across Southern California last year. Aside from the "eScrip'' and the "10% Back to Schools'' program, it also donated gift cards and products to local schools and youth organizations.