Ever wonder why Mom and Pop stores sell wildly unrelated products side by side, like umbrellas and sunglasses, or Halloween candy and screwdrivers? Customers probably would never buy these items on the same shopping trip, right?
According to a global IBM survey of chief executives, creativity is the most sought-after trait in leaders today. In these times of disruptive innovations, creative thinking is especially crucial for the rise and continued success of start-up to stalwart companies.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-based Cato Corporation, one of the Citizen's "Lake Norman 24" stocks (see chart this page), recently announced the establishment of a $300,000 endowment for teachers and professionals working in select United Way-funded agencies to receive professional development and hands-on training to more effectively serve at-risk children.
The Cato Endowment for Education and Training includes an initial $300,000 gift to the United Way Legacy Foundation to establish a permanently endowed fund for use by United Way.
The fund is designated to provide professional development and training for employees of agencies associated with United Way who provide services in early learning and K-12 afterschool and summer academic support programs. Over the past year, United Way has launched a pilot initiative for children and youth focused on "Collective Impact." Sixteen United Way funded agencies that directly support academic achievement have been involved in the work since September 2011.
The overarching goal of the Collective Impact model is to increase the graduation rate of the more than 23,000 at-risk children served by these agencies. Benchmark goals in the areas of early learning, academics and enrichment have been set for children from pre-K to age 18. The goals are focused on areas such as early literacy, kindergarten readiness, being on grade level in reading and math by third grade, successful middle school and high school transitions, parent engagement, school attendance and more.
"We are thrilled that the Cato Corporation has established this fund to support our work in Collective Impact in children and youth," says Jane McIntyre, executive director of United Way of Central Carolinas. "The teachers and support staff who work in these funded agencies are on the front lines supporting our children every day. This training will better equip them to help students with homework, engage parents in their program and understand how to support the whole child."
As a result of the endowment, nearly $10,000 will be available each year to United Way to support professional development.
The Cato Corporation operates more than 1,300 specialty apparel and accessory stores in 31 states. The company has been headquartered in Charlotte since its founding in 1946. For many years, Cato has been actively involved in supporting education through scholarships, grants and endowments at institutions throughout the Carolinas as well as organizations involved in human services and the arts and sciences.
"We strongly believe that education, from early childhood to higher education, is critical to the economic growth and success of any community," says John Cato, chairman, president and CEO. "We're pleased to be able to create this endowment that will offer quality training and support for teachers in early childcare, after school and summer programs with proven academic results. We value the work that United Way is doing, and we're excited to be part of this initiative focused on our most precious resource, our children."
Based on data from the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association (CRRA) reports that residential real estate sales ended the year on a positive note. Closings in December 2012 (2,339) were up 23.4 percent compared to December 2011, when closings totaled 1,896.
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