CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Wells Fargo had an early holiday gift for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The bank announced a $500,000 donation to Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education’s School Leadership Fund. The money will be split to support two CMS programs: New Leaders for New Schools and Parent University.“This was an incredible surprise,” said CMS Superintendent Dr. Peter C. Gorman. “This has been a difficult budget year for us, as well as many other local businesses and community agencies. A donation of this magnitude will help us reach more families through Parent University, as well as train new principals to lead high-needs schools.” Wells Fargo bought Charlotte-based Wachovia last year. Wachovia, now a Wells Fargo Company, has been a partner with CMS for years, providing financial assistance as well as volunteers and mentors in schools. The bank provided $250,000 in seed money to launch Parent University in the fall of 2008. “The Wells Fargo Foundation has a major focus on funding public education programs that help drive outstanding student achievement in the classroom,” said Jay Everette, community affairs manager. “We know that effective leadership is critical at the individual school level, so we support the New Leaders for New Schools program. And we know that parents and guardians play a huge role in ensuring the academic success of their children. That is why we continue to fund Parent University. It enhances the connection between teacher, parent or guardian and student with improved academic performance as its end objective.” Parent University was created with the goal of increasing parent involvement in schools and helping parents raise successful children. Since its launch, 14,150 people have participated in courses. In addition, 12,000 parents participated in the fall and spring family fun and information days offered through Parent University. New Leaders for New Schools is a nationally recognized non-profit organization which trains effective educators to become successful principals in high-need schools. New Leaders announced its partnership with CMS in December of 2008. The six-year agreement will bring CMS and New Leaders together to recruit, select, train and support more than 50 highly talented and motivated new principals to lead high-need schools in Charlotte. Wells Fargo announced the donation during its 2009 Spirit of Caring Breakfast. The CMS donation was part of $6 million presented to 15 Charlotte-area nonprofits.