Over the past nine years, Keffer Hyundai in Charlotte, North Carolina, has given 12 new Hyundais to teachers who work in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district. For 2015, the dealership plans to give away two new Hyundais to winners of the Keffer Teacher Award.
"Many of our customers are involved in the school district in one way or another," says Melanie Murrill, community outreach manager for the dealership. "They may work there, or have a student in the system. There are so many incredible teachers in in our community that deserve, we believe, a little something extra for their efforts and impact on the city."
Students, parents or other teachers nominate teachers for the award. They supply a brief story of the good things the teacher does for students. At the end of the contest, the dealership winnows down the entrants to three or four finalists.
There was "no way" the dealership could pick one teacher as best of the best, Murrill says. Instead, the dealership places the finalists' names in a hat and then draws one.
The winners of the Keffer Teachers Award receive a prepaid, one-year lease from Keffer Hyundai. In the past, the dealership has given teachers a Hyundai Sonata. Recently, though, the dealership has left vehicle selection up to the winner. Last spring, for example, the winning teacher picked out a Hyundai Santa Fe as the vehicle that best fit her lifestyle.
2015 marks the eighth year that Burlington Cars in Vermont has given away a new car to an academically excellent high school student, through its Burlington Cars Drive for Excellence contest. Burlington Hyundai and Burlington Subaru participate in the giveaway.
The dealer group contest encourages local high school students to get the best grades they can, and rewards those high marks by using them as entries. Each "A" that a student submits earns the student two contest entries. Each "B" results in one entry, and then there is a random drawing.
High school juniors and seniors are eligible to enter, and the winner gets a choice of either a new Hyundai Elantra or Subaru Impreza.
In 2014's giveaway, more than 550 students from nearly 75 high schools entered the contest. The winner, high school junior Andrew Levite, chose the Subaru Impreza.
The two dealerships, which sit next to each other, began the program after hearing of another dealer in a different part of the country doing something similar.
"We want to reward our local high school students for working hard," says Steve Kelson, general manager at Burlington Subaru.