Businessman expands tutoring program into clothing driveWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Local businessman and philanthropist Ford Cauffiel has found a way to ensure his program, Students for Other Students (SOS), outlives him thanks to a clothing collection drive and a new partner.
“I have been an entrepreneur for 60 years and I’m 83 years old, and when the lights go out I hope to be measured by my contribution to my community, the United States of America and my world friends,” Cauffiel said. “To help children that are falling through the cracks to grow to become productive citizens is my greatest goal and accomplishment. That is why Students for Other Students will be funded beyond my demise.”
Cauffiel founded SOS in 1989 and has been helping elementary and high school students in Ohio and Michigan since then. SOS is a nonprofit, tax deductible organization with 501(c)(3) status.
SOS pays students up to $8 an hour to tutor other students in public schools. Cauffiel said the organization has spent $2 million on tutoring students since its inception with matching funds from participating school districts.
The tutoring usually takes place before or after school in the library or cafeteria and focuses mainly on reading and math. A teacher monitors the program, conducts continuous measurement on the progress of each student and submits a final report at the end of the school year, Cauffiel said.
Since Cauffiel received the prestigious Jefferson Award for the SOS program in February, he said many more schools have requested funding for the program.
“It is easier to make money than it is to ask others for money,” Cauffiel said.
Cauffiel has founded and owns several small companies in Ohio and Illinois that will go into his family trust upon his death, he said.
He recently founded a new company, Philanthropy For Kids (PFK), with half of the profits earmarked to fund the SOS program. PFK will be owned by Thomas Rodriguez, but the proceeds will be split 50-50 between Rodriguez and SOS, Cauffiel said.
PFK will collect unwanted clothing and shoes in special red boxes generally located near grocery stores and gas stations throughout the area. There are nearly 100 red boxes located in Ohio and Michigan.
The clothing and shoes will be collected and brought back to the home base in Toledo where they will be packed and sent to a sorting company. Much of the summer clothing will go to the needy in developing countries in Africa and Central and South America.
Any unusable clothing collected will be ground up, mixed with a resin and molded into heavy floor mats and insulation for cars and trucks. This type of resin, referred to as “shoddy,” creates a sound barrier that virtually eliminates engine and road noise, which is why cars and trucks are much quieter today, Cauffiel said.
Seaway Pattern Manufacturing of Toledo supplies the molds and tooling to automotive companies that make those parts, said Richard Johnson, owner and president of the firm. Johnson and Cauffiel know one another through their businesses.
“We are helping children who are falling through the cracks by giving them the one-on-one attention they need with a proven highly effective and efficient program, providing clothing for needy in developing countries and creating the commercial value of making a sound barrier for cars and trucks using recycled material,” Johnson said.
The partnership came about after Cauffiel spoke with Rodriguez, who was doing some construction work on one of the buildings, about the SOS program. Rodriguez expressed his interest in getting involved and the rest is history.
“I owe everything to [Cauffiel],” Rodriguez said. “We’re just getting started with the program that is changing the lives of kids.”
Rodriguez said the group is looking for sites to place the boxes and is talking to the school districts participating in the program about placing boxes at their schools. Anyone interested in having a box located on their property can contact Rodriguez at email@example.com or go to www.pfkllc.info for more information.
Rodriguez said his son and daughter are working with him on the new venture, so Cauffiel is helping to fund the family business. He has lived and worked in the Toledo community for 25 years.
For more information, visit www.studentsforotherstudents.com.