By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Faced with recession and severe budget cuts to Texas public schools last year of roughly $5.4 billion, Kelli Tharp, director of community services for Greenville Independent School District, helped create an advertising campaign that has managed to raise more than $60,000 since its inception in May.
“David Carter (chief financial officer for Greenville ISD) and I were trying to come up with ways to earn money for the district because of the cuts,” she said. “It was a middle of the night brainstorming idea.”
Before Tharp could begin to implement the idea, she had to put a positive image of GISD on the map.
“I started the Spread the Red two years ago to try to unify the district,” she said. “And we tried to put a more positive image on the district.”
According to Tharp, once she had gone on the offensive with the strategy, she was able to begin reaching out to businesses to raise funds.
“Off of that was when we sterted getting the businesses to be involved in a mutually beneficial partnership,” she said, adding that businesses would be able to advertize with the school, and feel comfortable knowing the advertising money spent would go directly to the school.
With more than 20 businesses in Greenville have participated in the program, including Alliance Bank, Southwest Auto Mall and Magic Bubble, Tharp said she is overwhelmed with the support the program has received.
“I still have people coming off the street, buing Spread the Red T-shirts,” she said. “It’s really overwhelming the amount of support we’ve received. From the smallest of businesses to the largest, they really have stepped up to help in this time of finanical need. The generosity is astounding.”