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Online funding program boosts Sonoma County schools

Sonoma County schools, which a quarter-century ago helped pioneer paper scrip fundraising with major retailers, now have started joining a new online service that raises money from electronic vouchers linked to local businesses.

Santa Rosa-based iiiTTT this fall began offering online vouchers for local restaurants, tire stores and other merchants. When the voucher is purchased, a portion of the amount goes to a designated school or other charity.

Already four school districts, one private school and more than 75 businesses have joined the company's program, said iiiTTT CEO Matt Stearn, formerly an owner in the Driven Raceway go-kart tracks in Rohnert Park and Fairfield. The schools typically receive between 3 and 5 percent of the price of each voucher.

A business owner and a school administrator both said the program provides a sensible way for proceeds from business sales to help finance school programs.

"Finally somebody has come up with something that is easy for the consumer, easy for the business," said Les McLea, co-owner of McLea's Tire & Automotive service. The company's five locations all accept the vouchers.

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