By Richard Eisenberg
These days, the average teacher spends more than $1,500 out of her own pocket to buy classroom materials -- a stat that the fast-food chain Sonic viewed as a call to action. This September, the company debuted the Limeades for Learning program, its largest philanthropic campaign ever. Customers who bought Sonic's signature limeade and other drinks that month were directed to limeadesforlearning.com where they could vote for their favorite teacher's classroom project. After the votes were tallied, Sonic donated over half a million dollars to fund the 1,457 winning teachers' projects across the country. "We want schools to have the resources they need in order to help children reach their full potential," says Nancy Love Robertson, Sonic senior vice president.