With widespread devastation across the country in 2017, it’s no surprise that many from across the automotive aftermarket stepped up to offer a helping hand. Corporate donations alone for hurricane relief in 2017 is estimated at more than $300 million. The Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief fund had raised nearly $18 million as of the beginning of November. Here’s how a few of our industry partners have helped.
Shops Pitching In
The Driven Brands Charitable Foundation, parent company of Take 5 Oil Change, Pro Oil, Econo Lube N’ Tune and Meineke Car Care Centers, partnered with the retail brands of Driven Brands Inc. to help raise funds for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief through the American Red Cross.
“Our thoughts are with our franchisees, their staffs and families in the storm zones and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods and who are now facing a lengthy clean-up and restoration,” said Noah Pollack, executive vice president and general counsel for Driven Brands in a September press statement.
Franchisees, employees, vendor partners and customers were encouraged to visit the Driven Brands Charitable Foundation site or any of the participating brand websites to donate. Proceeds benefitted the American Red Cross relief efforts in both regions affected by the hurricanes.
Grease Monkey Garage
One Pennsylvania shop pitched in when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Grease Monkey Garage in Swoyersville packed its shop with supplies — so much so that employees were not able to work on vehicles for several days. Instead, they had another focus.
“We’re collecting medical supplies, triage stuff, feminine products, hygiene products,” Heath Rusinko said in a pahomepage.com article.
Pahomepage.com reported that Grease Monkey employees helped fill more than a half dozen trailers that took donations to Texas.
Mighty Auto Parts
Rob Gilbreath, general manager of Mighty Auto Parts in Dothan, Alabama, drove a truck full of donations down to Florida on September 18, 2017, to bring supplies to hurricane-devastated areas.
He encouraged his community to help, asking for donations of bottled water, canned goods, pet food, cleaning supplies, diapers and baby wipes — some of the most-needed items.
Gilbreath is a former resident of Jacksonville and Tampa, wtvy.com reported, and said he knows all too well the destruction a major hurricane can leave behind.
“It’s sad to watch others go through devastation and just stand back and not do anything about it,” Gilbreath told wtvy.com. “And I just think it’s our obligation to step in and help when we can.”
Corporate Donations Soared
BP and the BP Foundation donated $750,000 to assist with hurricane relief efforts. The contribution was split equally among the Red Cross, the Community Foundation of Greater Houston and the United Way of Greater Houston.
The company also matched employee contributions.
Chevron contributed $500,000 from the Chevron Global Community Fund to the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts for the wildfires in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
“Chevron, like others in California, wants to help with the response to these devastating wildfires,” said Mike Wirth, Chevron’s vice chairman and executive vice president. “Our heartfelt thoughts are with the people affected by the fires, including the brave firefighters working so hard over the holidays to contain them.”
Chevron, based in California for more than a century, makes it a priority to provide support to the communities where it operates. Chevron will match any qualifying donations to wildfire relief efforts made by its employees and retirees.
The contribution from the Chevron Global Community Fund follows a similar donation in October for California wildfire relief efforts in Northern California.
In addition to its wildfire relief efforts, Chevron donated $1 million back in August to the American Red Cross to aid in hurricane relief efforts.
ConocoPhillips made a $1 million donation to the Red Cross. Employees and retirees in the US can request to have their personal contributions matched.
Phillips 66 contributed $1 million to the Red Cross. The company also matched employee contributions up to $15,000 per person.
Exxon Mobil donated $500,000 to Red Cross organizations along the US Gulf Coast to aid with hurricane relief efforts. The company also contributed $500,000 to the United Way of Greater Houston.
Royal Purple Raceway, site of the annual NHRA SpringNationals, suspended all drag racing activities from September through December 2017 to help in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Located in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Royal Purple Raceway became a temporary storage facility for cars, trucks, boats and construction equipment, dragzine.com reported.
“Some things transcend racing and when you see half of our city under water, you obviously have to prioritize your energies and resources,” vice president and general manager of Royal Purple Raceway, Seth Angel, told dragzine.com back in September. “Our focus and priority over the next few months will be on helping our community rebuild and get back on its feet. There are literally tens of thousands of vehicles all around Southeast Texas that are completely flooded out and inoperable. We have 400 acres here capable of storing a large quantity of vehicles, and we collectively made the decision to do what we could to help. Additionally, Royal Purple Raceway is making a $10,000 commitment to the American Red Cross.”
Shell & Joey Logano
Shell made an initial $1 million donation to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund. Joey Logano, one of Shell’s sponsored NASCAR drivers, also made a $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross and opened a donation portal through the Joey Logano Foundation to collect funds on behalf of the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, NBC Sports reported.
Shell went with a Red Cross-inspired red-and-white look on Logano’s car in the regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway in hopes to draw more attention to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, according to NBC Sports.
“Our roots run extremely deep in Houston, and we are committed to doing our part to help the city move on in the aftermath of Harvey,” said Bruce Culpepper, Shell US President, in a statement to NBC Sports. “Shell employs nearly 20,000 people in the US, and nearly half of them are being directly impacted by Harvey.”
“Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast have suffered a disaster of historic size — one that is going to take months if not years of recovery,” Logano said in a statement to NBC Sports back in September. “In the last couple of days, we have seen sports icons and organizations step up for Texas and the Gulf Coast. With our strong ties to Shell and the community, we wanted to rally the passionate NASCAR base for this cause, as well.”
Total made a $250,000 donation to the American Red Cross to assist in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region.
“Our hearts go out to those affected by this unprecedented natural disaster. We remain committed to helping rebuild the communities where we do business. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Red Cross. Our donation of $250,000 will provide assistance to those in our community who have been hardest hit by Harvey,” said Christophe Gerondeau, US country representative and CEO of Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc.
With operations all long the Texas Gulf Coast, Total is also supporting its employees who have been affected by the storm.
Helping Others Every Day
Few companies are built on the basis of helping others. One of these companies is Throttle Muscle.
Throttle Muscle was started by Jiffy Lube operator Sean Porcher after he had the chance to have dinner with Abbey Umali, the National Goodwill Ambassador for MDA. Porcher and his partners created Throttle Muscle with an intention to do everything they could to help Umali and the others who lived with one of thousands of muscle diseases.
“Abbey touched our hearts. From her humor to her grace, our entire team was touched beyond words,” Porcher said. “I knew that what I could accomplish in my 41 Jiffy Lube stores was not enough. I wanted to do more. I wanted to give more. This would become a mission for me and my life!”
Throttle Muscle has gained steady market share over the last few years, proving that being charitable in your business can actually help drive customers. Here’s some advice from Porcher on how to do just that!
“For a moment, let’s look at something that is the easiest to analyze: giving in a time of tragedy or need,” Porcher said. “One of my first true experiences with a charitable giving event was following the September 11th attack on America. I don’t need to spend time talking about the despair we all felt or the vulnerability we felt as a Nation. I remember sitting in a manager’s meeting and discussing some ideas with the team. As a company, at the time, we could have just sent a check to the Red Cross and had the feeling we contributed to a cause. The more we talked about it though, the more it occurred to me that my team, my managers, my employees and my customers all wanted to do something. Not everyone can afford to mail in a check or make a sizeable donation. So, we embarked on this all-encompassing endeavor to create a fundraiser for the 9-11 Red Cross Fund, where employees who chose to participate contributed their time, our suppliers contributed product, we supplied the facility and our customers came in and got their services for whatever they wanted to pay. 100-percent of that payment went to the Red Cross.
“The lasting impact of that type of event is immeasurable. However, charitable giving goes far beyond specific fundraising events. The goal should be no different, though: engage employees and customers in the giving experience. The success of any charity drive, or charity program, is in the engagement of employees and their ability to communicate the program to the end customer. The more buy-in at the team level, the more successful the program will be. We’ve all been to the checkout stand at the local super market when the checker asks, ‘Want to donate a dollar to xyz charity?’ Most consumers would say, ‘no, not today.’ But imagine if that checker was more engaged and asked, ‘I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we are trying to raise $X for xyz charity, and we can really use your help, could you spare a dollar today to help us make a difference?’ That level of engagement makes a big impact.
“It is a proven fact that consumers will pay more for a product or service when the purchase of that product benefits a charity. I encourage you to find ways to engage your employees and customers in a way that benefits both the charity and your business. After all, the more successful your business, the more you can benefit the charity.”