Published: Jul 08, 2010 7:58 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 08, 2010 4:55 PM EDT

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis.– Kohl’s Department Stores has announced a contest to give half a million dollars to 20 schools each this year, a total of $10 million, in recognition of the company’s 10th anniversary of its Kohl’s Cares philanthropic program that supports children’s health and education.

As kids are getting ready for the new school year, Kohl’s wants to inspire students and school supporters to dream big about what their favorite kindergarten to 12th grade school could do with half a million dollars - whether it’s starting an art program, creating a new computer lab or saving a music program.  Through September 3, 2010, visit to tell us what your school could do with the funding, cast your votes, get more information and view the Official Rules.   “At Kohl’s we are excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Kohl’s Cares philanthropic program by giving back to the communities that we serve. As kids and parents think about the new school year, we want everyone to dream big about how half a million dollars could impact their favorite school,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.  “We believe that when communities thrive so does business.  We feel so strongly about this program and the positive effect it could have that we have made it the cornerstone of the company’s Back-to-School campaign.”   The $10 million donation comes from the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program, which sells special merchandise, including plush toys and books, and donates 100 percent of the net profit to benefit children’s health and education initiatives nationwide.  Over the past 10 years, the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program has raised more than $150 million for children’s initiatives. This contest is the latest illustration of the company’s commitment to kids.   During the contest, Kohl’s Facebook fans, currently more than one million strong, can vote for public or private schools that serve K-12 students by visiting Fans can submit their ideas for what the school could do with half a million dollars. A winning school must have a least one submission about how the funds might be used.  Fans can also vote up to 20 times for their favorite elementary, middle or high schools during this time, with a maximum of five votes for any individual school. The top 20 vote-getting schools, that meet contest criteria as outlined in the Official Rules and have school officials provide information on how the school will use the money to support educational programs or initiatives, will win $500,000 each.  Winning schools will be announced in late September.   This program is the heart of the company’s Back-to-School campaign and will be supported by national advertising, direct mail, digital marketing, public relations and more. Components of the campaign include:

  • Online/Digital components:  Coinciding with the program launch, the contest will be supported with Facebook advertising and e-mails to Kohl’s customers.
  • In-store presentation: Starting today, Kohl’s customers will see the contest promoted in Kohl’s stores nationwide through store signage, receipt messaging and more. 
  • Television advertising: National and Hispanic brand spots will begin airing in July and run through the end of August.
  • Print advertising: Inclusion of the contest in Kohl’s print advertising will start in mid-July and run throughout the voting period.
  • Direct mail: Kohl’s will reach customers directly through various direct mail pieces starting today and continuing through mid-August.

 Kohl’s is committed to giving back to the communities it serves.  In addition to the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program that supports this contest, Kohl’s philanthropic programs include, a scholarship program that has awarded more than $2.2 million in scholarships and prizes and will donate an additional $410,000 to kids this year, Kohl’s associate volunteer program that donated more than $10 million to nonprofits nationwide last year alone, and a fundraising gift card program.   See Official Rules at for all program and prizing details.