Culver's Restaurants Teams with "Bronze the Fonz" Project

With funding secure, project turns to benefit a Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee literacy program

January 30, 2008 // Franchising.com // MILWAUKEE – With funding for the bronze life-like statue of Henry Winkler as his iconic TV character Fonzie, from the hit series "Happy Days" now secure, the project is moving into a new community benefit direction thanks to an innovative and fun promotion at all Milwaukee-area Culver's restaurants.

At a Milwaukee news conference today at the Culver's restaurant in the Shops at Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, attended by Winkler, Culver's co-founder Craig Culver, announced that for a limited time, starting Feb. 1, Culver's will donate $1 for every Turtle Sundae ordered at its 41 Milwaukee area restaurants to SPARK (Spheres of Proud Achievement in Reading for Kids.)

The goal is to raise $10,000 which will be presented to the Boys & Girls Clubs and UW-Milwaukee at the statue dedication, tentatively set for late summer or early fall in Milwaukee.

SPARK is a program coordinated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The program operates in grades K-3 at six Milwaukee school sites, including four public schools, a parochial school and a charter school. The focus is on supporting reading achievement through key "spheres" determined through research to be important to student success: school, community and family.

Winkler was in Milwaukee to deliver a keynote address to the 87th State Education Conference. John Ashley, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB), a sponsor of the convention, participated in the announcement and said SPARK's mission aligns with the WASB's focus on leadership because the organization provides an example of citizen, community and business support for student achievement.

"We'd like to thank the Wisconsin Association of School Boards for bringing SPARK to our attention," said Craig Culver. "While the Culver's restaurant concept embodies the fun 'happy days' of good times and good food, it's extra special that we can support the crucial work SPARK and the Boys and Girls Clubs are doing to improve student achievement through developing proficient reading skills."

Patricia Marcus, director of the two-year-old SPARK program said, "We're so pleased that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards paired us with Culver's to raise the needed funds to support our program and help raise the literacy level among our Milwaukee children. Mr. Winkler's advocacy for children and affection for Milwaukee makes this even more special."

Winkler, who has used his childhood learning challenges as a basis of his series of best-selling children's books entitled, "Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Underachiever," expressed his delight in learning about the new direction of the bronze the Fonz project. "What a wonderful idea to have the bronze raise money to help others," said Winkler, a staunch advocate for children's issues. "It gives the project a meaning, a depth that makes me proud."

In addition to the Culver's promotion, while supplies last, $10 for every bronze the Fonz t-shirt sold at www.bronzethefonz.com will also go to SPARK.

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