Why local businesses give to CEF

Chatham Education Foundation interview with Chair Chris Ehrenfeld
February 18, 2016 by Jamie Garett

Chatham County, NC – Since 1993, the Chatham Education Foundation (CEF) has partnered with local residents, businesses and foundations to enhance educational opportunities for Chatham County Public schools and strengthen Chatham County communities through their work. CEF does this by supporting programs that increase teacher effectiveness, raise student achievement and engage the community in public education.

Chris Ehrenfeld, owner of Domicile Realty and Bold Construction, is the Chair of the CEF. Chris places a high value on giving back to his local community, both personally and through his businesses. CEF Director Jaime Detzi recently had the opportunity to speak with Chris about his involvement with CEF.

Jaime Detzi: Why is it important for businesses to engage with the Chatham County Schools through CEF?

Chris Ehrenfeld: CEF provides much needed aid to our public schools. Chatham County students come from a very wide variety of economic backgrounds. In several schools, over 90% of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. These students don’t have the same educational opportunities that many others have – some don’t even have a book at home. Their parents spend every dollar to provide the basic necessities. And a book to read is not as important as putting food on the table.

When businesses support Chatham County Schools through CEF, it gives our schools the opportunity to provide education which helps these children change their lives. With the help of local partners and businesses, CEF can level the playing field and give every Chatham County student access to the same tools and resources.

JD: Over the past couple of years, an increasing number of teachers have left North Carolina. What role can CEF play to help keep teachers in Chatham County?

CE: In any business, if you want to improve, you need to retain your top talent. We have excellent teachers and staff in Chatham County along with the highest teacher retention rate in our region. Our teachers love teaching in Chatham County and we need to continue to show them our support. However, there are limited resources to keep the best people in the field. CEF works hard to provide additional support to help retain our top talent.

JD: What relationship do your businesses have with the schools?

CE: Economic enhancement goes hand in hand with educational advancement. From a business standpoint, our Chatham County Schools are the first step in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. The schools also have innovative partnerships with our local community college (CCCC) to educate and train the young generation to be the workers that businesses need to continue to grow and thrive. By supporting CEF, we’re investing directly into the future of our business and every other Chatham County business.

JD: What are some direct ways that a strong school system impacts local businesses?

CE: One area of impact is attracting new talent to existing businesses. When Chatham County business owners look to attract top employees, they know that quality of life is a very important factor in the recruitment process. Being able to tell potential employees that their children will get an excellent public education when they relocate here is a strong recruitment tool. And being able to recruit great workers strengthens businesses in Chatham County.

JD: Based on your experiences with CEF, what would you say to other local businesses owners who might not yet be involved with CEF?

CE: Our schools have improved dramatically over the last decade, and we want that to continue. In order to maintain that upward ascent, CEF needs to provide more support than ever. Chatham County Schools have exceptional leadership, teachers and staff. CEF needs the support of the business community so we can show our schools that the we are 100% behind them.

JD: What does it mean to you personally to be involved with CEF?

CE: For me, supporting CEF and Chatham County Schools is simply a great way to positively impact kids and families and the community I’m proud to be a part of. And as not only a Chatham County business owner but a Chatham County resident, I’m also looking forward to sending my children to Chatham County Schools, and knowing they’ll be receiving a great education.

About Domicile Realty

Located in Governors Village in Chapel Hill, Chatham County, Domicile Realty is the #1 general brokerage real estate firm in North Chatham County. Domicile specializes in Chapel Hill, North Chatham County and Southwest Durham real estate. Domicile Realty’s sister agency is Governors Club Realty, the exclusive on-site real estate agency for Governors Club in Chapel Hill.

About Bold Construction

Focused on custom homes and upscale commercial spaces, Bold Construction is one of the Triangle’s premier builders. Located in Governors Village in Chapel Hill, Chatham County, Bold Construction’s residential portfolio includes homes in Governors Club, Governors Village, Maida Vale, The Oaks/Chapel Hill Country Club, and other fine neighborhoods. Commercial properties include Rosemary Village, Willow Oak Montessori Charter School, The Commons at Governors Village, Carolina Crossings UNC Psychiatric Unit, and offices at the Bold Building in Governors Village.

Article by: Jaime Detzi

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