TOPIC: What charities does your company support and how did you choose them? How has your involvement impacted your business?I rarely deny a request from a charity that’s looking for our support. Many of the donations we make are to help repeat clients we have a relationship with via corporate or special events. I enjoy helping charities by donating limousine packages for raffles or offering my time as well. Some of the charities we support each year include Yellow Ribbon banquets, American Heart Association, Hopping For Heroes, and United Way. We try to do 12-15 events a year as our way of saying thanks to the community around us.
When vetting charities to support, I have a standard procedure that I follow: When we get a call about assisting a local charity whose event is fast approaching and our budget is already set for the year, we ask them to send us information and then resubmit the same request early in the next year; surprisingly, most fail to follow up.
Jim Barnes, President
Jimmy’s Limousine in Cincinnati, Ohio
While we support hundreds of charitable causes in the D.C. metro area, our corporate philanthropy mission has always focused on supporting organizations that help children. This cause is near and dear to my heart because I am truly grateful for being able to be a mother to my five kids. I’m proud to have helped to establish a network of affiliates that support the Make-A-Wish Foundation with transportation services for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Beyond that, we support a wide variety of charities, from March of Dimes to elementary school PTAs—we donate a gift certificate for two seats on any of our public winery or brewery tours to any school that asks. A total of 500 of these certificates are donated to schools, private charities, and corporate events every year. We’ve received so many requests that we’ve set up an online request form to field them.
This kind of exposure keeps our name in front of the general public and generates incredible goodwill and name recognition. We never say no!
Kristina Bouweiri, President & CEO
Reston Limousine in Sterling, Va.
We donate a bus to the Kenosha Chamber of Commerce each year for an event that promotes local businesses. Also, we donate transportation for the Rock the Block charity, which raises money for music programs in our school district. We work with nearby Tremper High School sports teams on “stuff a bus” campaigns to transport toys and canned foods for homeless shelters. Giving back to the community is important to me, as I grew up in a poor, single-parent home in a gang- and drug-infested area. I will never forget my roots.
Kevin Doublin, Owner
Big K Limo in Kenosha, Wis.
Since our inception, our goal has been to grow our network through grassroots and strategic partnerships. One of many charities we support is One for the Kids, which supports Special Children’s Charities of Chicago, the fundraising arm of Special Olympics Chicago. Through One for the Kids, we have sponsored golf outings and provided services for its annual silent auction and dinner. We have built business relationships through several supporters—more specifically, one of their board members—and this relationship has increased our leisure and corporate customer bases. Providing reciprocal business and support to all partners has proven to be a successful mission at Signature.
Kevin Duff, President
Signature Transportation Group in Chicago, Ill.
As our company has more than doubled in size in the past three years, we have realized the need for growing our corporate social responsibility footprint in the community.
In the past 12 months alone, we have supported Clean the World, Give Kids the World, Coalition of the Homeless, and Feed the Children. Most of these organizations reached out to us directly or indirectly (through existing clients) to participate in special events, and we have developed relationships with each of them over time. These charitable commitments have helped maintain our positive brand image in the local market while also benefiting the honorable causes that they represent. As the company continues to grow, we hope to establish a corporate social responsibility plan and dedicate a sizable budget to give more structure to our charitable contributions and community outreach.
Sami Elotmani, VP of Operations
Destination MCO in Orlando, Fla.
Like most companies, we get many requests for charitable contributions. However, we need to pick and choose those that we wish to support, generally selecting charities in conjunction with our clients and affiliate partners, such as Habitat for Humanity, Lupus Foundation of PA, The Wheelchair Foundation, and many others. Individually and locally, we support education foundations, not-for-profit theater production companies, youth rugby programs, and more. It is important to give back, and by doing so through our clients, it enhances our already strong relationships and helps promote our good name in the community.
Jon Epstein, President
Royal Coachman Worldwide in Denville, N.J.
Our company has always been committed to supporting our local community, and our charity of choice is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Annually, we do more than 80 trips for these deserving families, and I can say that our team is delighted to share in this joy! In addition, we provide donations to fundraising auctions, with a primary focus on children’s and animal-related charities. Each charity is vetted to ensure they have 501(c) status. Ultimately, we benefit because our mission statement includes going the extra mile for our community, and we honor this core value. It also demonstrates our local commitment to our team and customers.
Kim Garner, President/Owner
BEST Transportation of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo.
Boston Chauffeur is a supporter of the Independence Fund, which is a charity that provides high-tech wheelchairs to veterans who have lost limbs in combat. I have a good friend who did three tours in Vietnam, and also have friends who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. We began donating to them two years ago when reports were coming out about the poor quality of medical care at VA hospitals. I was impressed that all money raised by the Independence Fund goes to the vets, specifically for their wheelchairs.
Mark Kini, Owner
Boston Chauffeur in Beverly, Mass.
I give to several charities on behalf of the company. Most notably, we support the American Heart Association, along with Chicago’s Transportation Group, in memory of my late husband and to honor our employee, Erica Schor, who had a heart transplant over a year ago. We are also involved in breast cancer charities in support of friends and a current employee who are all battling the disease. The company also donates to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in memory of a neighbor whose daughter died from complications of the disease, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in honor of a friend who has the disease. Additionally, I give to several local organizations that my current clients are involved with.
Terrin Lange, President
Chicago North Shore Limousine Service in Chicago, Ill.
We have two charities that we support. One is Instituto Grão de Areia (The Grain of Sand Institute), which is a non-government, nonprofit organization that believes in the value of music as a form of social inclusion. They use donations to both keep poor children off the streets and show the power that music has to educate and create great people. Another charity we support is Institute EDO, a foundation that gives at-risk teens the opportunity to earn work experience in the tourism industry. This is a unique charity that has impressed us with their work, and we have some business acquaintances who work with them.
We are pleased to be able to help others without thinking about future benefits.
Robson Maciel, Commercial Director
Chauffeur Services Brazil in Sao Paulo, Brazil
At Leros, we’ve created a culture of giving back to those who are less fortunate. We deal with many different charities in a variety of ways and encourage our employees to get involved with charities that mean something to them. Often, we donate our services to a silent/live auction, but in some cases we use the charity as a team-building activity, such as March of Dimes walks or American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Getting involved is a great way to meet business leaders in your community, as most of these charities honor successful people.
Jeff Nyikos, President
Leros Point to Point in Valhalla, N.Y.
Our charitable giving is based on the premise of “helping families be successful.” We, as a family company, believe in the strength and importance of family, which comes in so many varieties. When there is a family unit, there is strength. When there is strength, there is growth. When there is growth, there is success.
One of our favorite local charities is Bridge of Hope, a small, church-based organization that helps single mothers and their children get out of bad situations and move in a forward direction with their lives. Our involvement with them started about four years ago, when we received an email from their organization. One of the mothers who was graduating from the program needed transportation to and from work for a three-week period, until her car was ready for her. We knew right then and there that this was a perfect opportunity for us to help this particular family on their path to success. There was no money out of pocket, but we drove her to and from work for those three weeks. She simply needed that “little bit” of help, and was well on her way to self-reliance. Since then, we’ve contributed financially and donate a gourmet wine dinner (with professional chef) for 10 with limousine service in our home every year at their annual gala.
Tracy Salinger, General Manager
Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.
We support a plethora of charities both monetarily and with our time. In the past year, we have supported close to 40 charities. As a bladder cancer survivor, one that is especially close to my heart is the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, for which I serve on the Advisory Board. I am also proud to be a founder and board member of the Limo Patriot Ride, an annual industry motorcycle ride that benefits the Semper Fi Fund.
Each quarter, we report our charitable donations to the employees, so they can get a sense that they’re involved with something greater than the bottom line. ESS has been blessed with substantial growth over the years and we enjoy giving back because it is satisfying, fulfilling, and perpetuates some goodwill that others will embrace and pay forward.
Ron Stein, Owner
Exclusive Sedan Service in North Hollywood, Calif.
Alliance Against Intoxicated Drivers (AAIM) is a charity we support for a personal reason. Our affiliate manager’s son was killed by a drunk driver, so this charity is close to our heart since they have supported her and her other children through this tragedy. We have also collected pet food and supplies for the Animal House Shelter in Huntley, Ill., where many of us have adopted our pets.
We also donate rides and tours to different charities for their auctions. These charities support educational activities, music in schools, and Alzheimer research. We also buy our Christmas cards each year from Kenny’s Cards in Minneapolis; they not only feature great Chicago landmarks and skylines, but also are designed by children with special needs, and the profits go to programs to help them lead more independent lives.
Brian Whitaker, Vice President
Chicagoland Transportation Solutions in Barrington, Ill.
Philanthropic contribution is one of AmyExpress’ missions. Since the company was founded in 2008, we have participated in a one-to-one subsidy program initiated by China Education Association of Hong Kong University’s Student Union that helps underprivileged students pursue their secondary and tertiary education. We participate in this program simply because of my personal association with Hong Kong University as an alumna and my trust in the Student Union’s social responsibility commitment. AmyExpress has also taken part in a TEACHFORCHINA charity event earlier this year and will consider making regular donations to some of the charities that focus on education in China. We don’t take the business impact into consideration when we participate in any charity program; rather, AmyExpress is committed to being a socially responsible corporation.
Amy Yan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner
AmyExpress in Kowloon, Hong Kong
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions since debuting this interactive section—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
Have you wondered how others in the industry have tackled a concern you’re currently facing, handled a delicate issue, implemented a certain policy, or do you simply want to propose a topic for our consideration?
Send an email to email@example.com and you just might see your query answered in a future issue. We look forward to your input!