The Subaru Love Promise in Action
Subaru believes in making the world a better place one act at a time. That’s why we, along with our retailers, commit to the Subaru Love Promise, our ongoing pledge to support the communities in which we live and work.
Throughout the year, we receive letters from owners about the impacts Subaru retailers have on their communities. From those letters, we select retailers each month to be spotlighted for their efforts and, from those, a Retailer of the Year is chosen. Subaru of America, Inc. then gives $10,000 to the Retailer of the Year to help further their charitable initiatives.
Our retailers support a wide array of important causes, from raising funds for medical research to assisting veterans to combating poverty.
Second Annual Love Promise Retailer of the Year
Salute to Veterans
Rob Paddor, president of Evanston Subaru, isn’t a veteran, but he gained a new appreciation for the military following 9/11. As a result, he began supporting the USO of Illinois with larger and larger events at its main outposts in the state’s major airports, at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and at the Rock Island Arsenal, run by the army. Today, he sits on the board of directors of the USO of Illinois.
Demonstrating true zeal for his cause, Paddor also has become passionate about Ride 2 Recovery, which provides adapted bicycles to veterans with disabilities. In addition to riding thousands of miles for the organization, managing a number of its events and joining it as an ambassador, he recently donated $25,000. It’s one more way he can support the ongoing work of those who defend our country.
First Annual Love Promise Retailer of the Year
Anchors of Health
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Over the past decade, Concordville Subaru has channeled more than $250,000 to programs at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s a cause that’s close to co-owner Peter Lustgarten’s heart, as both of his daughters received treatment at the hospital.
Quarterly, the retailer runs a promotion that donates $100 to the hospital for every car sold. These donations, in turn, have delivered funds for an autism program, a new wing and a neonatal intensive care family resource center. It’s worth noting that both of Lustgarten’s daughters are now happy, healthy elementary schoolers.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve donated more than $82 million to causes we care about, and our employees have volunteered more than 28,000 hours.
Monthly Love Promise Winners
Dewey Griffin Subaru
Parents love to give their children gifts, but not all can afford to do so. The Community Toy Store in Bellingham, Washington, provides such parents the joy of shopping for their children, offering new toys at approximately 75-90 percent off of retail price.
When the Community Toy Store invited area businesses to contribute, Dewey Griffin Subaru filled three Forester vehicles with more than $4,000 in gifts. “This gives [parents] the respect of doing something for their kids,” says Tanya McKinney, marketing manager of Dewey Griffin Subaru.
Asheville, North Carolina
Seven-year-old Olivia Landreth’s only wish was to ride a school bus. It’s an everyday event for most children, but for Olivia, who was recovering last year from her second heart transplant, it was a slice of life denied. Olivia’s wish touched Tony Pelle, owner of Prestige Subaru.
Pelle figured that if anyone could outfit a small bus to chauffeur Olivia to school, it was Prestige Subaru. He found a bus, customized its interior with hardwood floors, overstuffed benches, an entertainment center and a library, and delivered it for her birthday. The bus now serves as a mobile home away from home where Olivia can conduct therapies and study while on the road to and from medical appointments.
Subaru is passionate about the environment, so it was fitting when Carter Subaru decided to plant a tree each time a car is taken on a test-drive and three when a car is sold.
Since the initiative with preservationist nonprofit Mountains to Sound Greenway began in 2007, almost 140,000 trees have been planted and $1.4 million has been donated by Carter. “Partnering with Subaru has given them a way to reach a broader audience,” says Jennifer Moran, executive manager at Carter Subaru.
Bob Rohrman Subaru
Every child should be able to play outside, but even this simple idea can be challenging for kids living in shelters. With help from Bob Rohrman Subaru, however, many such children are getting a safer place to run, slide and swing.
The retailer raised more than $20,000 to build a playground at the recently expanded Lafayette YWCA Domestic Violence Emergency Shelter. “It gives the kids some peace of mind,” says Ryan VanScoyoc, general manager of Bob Rohrman Subaru. “They can still be kids. The fence and playground were the final touch to the renovation [of the shelter].”
On the Job Training
Sangera Subaru quenched its thirst for java with purpose by teaming up with Covenant Coffee. The roaster is a social enterprise of Covenant Community Services, a nonprofit dedicated to serving foster youth and former foster youth. The mission of the coffee enterprise? To train and prepare teenagers for the workforce, equipping them with the work habits they need for lifelong careers.
To support Covenant Coffee, Sangera Subaru donated an Impreza, enabling former foster youth to work as delivery drivers, practice for driver’s license tests and perform service calls. It would also occasionally pay the teens to run an on-retail-location pop-up coffee shop – and some of the kids were intrigued by more than coffee. “We hope a few of them will work for us,” says Damon Culbertson, general manager. “And the coffee’s really good.”
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Jim Parker, retailer principal of Parker Subaru, realized several years ago that providing an incentive for kids to achieve perfect attendance was a triple win: The kids learned more, the school district received its full allotment of funds based on attendance and the local culture reflected a more celebratory attitude toward education.
We hear fourth graders say they’re going to be in school every day.
At first, he thought about a raffle for a bike and helmet for 10-year-old entrants who had perfect attendance. “Then I thought, why not give a bike and helmet to every kid with perfect attendance?” says Parker. That’s what he has done, with nearly 200 bikes and helmets awarded so far in 2016. “We hear fourth graders say they’re going to be in school every day,” he says.
Driving a Legacy
Emerson, New Jersey
If you lined up Subaru vehicles bumper-to-bumper, how many would it take to stretch a mile? As silly as it sounds, creating a lengthy line of vehicles is a category in Guinness World Records.
Liberty Subaru learned just how tough organizing a line like this is, twice, as it attempted to break the record and raise money to honor Colin Johnston, a co-worker who passed away from Merkel cell carcinoma. “Our goal was to raise awareness of this rare skin cancer,” says Richard DeSilva, owner of Liberty Subaru. While the record wasn’t broken, $14,000 was raised for the Colin M. Johnston Memorial Foundation. Oh, and the number of Subaru vehicles it takes to form a mile-long line? 251.
Wilmington, North Carolina
More than 10 years ago, surfers in Australia discovered a unique therapy for cystic fibrosis – salt water. Immersion in salt water, it turns out, helps rebalance the body chemistry of those with the disease.
When Lee Ann Wright, office manager for Parkway Subaru, learned that her son had cystic fibrosis, her co-workers became involved. A community-wide beachfront event raised $150,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of North Carolina and related programs, pivoting around two local hospitals that have programs specializing in the disease. “A lot of customers who have children with cystic fibrosis have moved to the beach because of salt water,” says Mary Margaret Vann, general manager of Parkway Subaru.
She estimates that Parkway itself has donated about $50,000 to help fight cystic fibrosis. Wright’s son, she notes, is “doing great. He’s a healthy little rascal.”
A Soldier’s Story
AV Subaru normally supports causes that reach many people. Last year, however, it focused much of its energy on one person: Jerral Hancock, a wounded U.S. soldier. On his 21st birthday, when a tank he was driving in Iraq was hit, Hancock was paralyzed, severely burned and ultimately lost his left arm.
As part of a broader community effort, the retailer donated $250 for every car sold to raise $14,314, which, through the Gary Sinise Foundation and Operation All the Way Home Foundation, helped to complete a new handicap-accessible house for the Hancock family. “We haven’t forgotten him,” says Sandy Roybal, marketing manager of AV Subaru. “We check up on him.”
Mike Brown Subaru
Spruce Pine, North Carolina
When Mike Brown left the corporate world to run a rural Subaru retailer, it took him some time to understand the community’s needs. Eventually, he saw that the local economy doesn’t produce jobs as it once did; many families don’t have quite enough for necessities. That was a gap that Brown intended to fill.
Over the past two years, the retailer has given more than $9,000 to a discretionary fund that the local department of social services uses to cover children’s needs. The ongoing effort is more of a philosophy than a specific campaign.
We’re a relatively small store, but we have a big impact. They’re little things, but they make a big difference in a small community.
Teenagers arrive at Diakon Youth Services to transform their lives – to repair bad habits, overcome substance abuse, develop coping skills for emotional disorders and otherwise gain traction with positive direction.
Visiting Faulkner Subaru is one step in that new direction. The retailer supports fundraisers for the youth center and goes beyond by inviting residents interested in auto careers to spend a few hours shadowing technicians. In fact, one Diakon youth is back at the retailer as an employee. “He’s so happy to have an opportunity,” says Doug Jones, general manager of Faulkner Subaru. “You get to hang around with certified technicians and you realize, ‘maybe I could do this.’”
Garden of Plenty
Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
Glance once at the garden behind Peninsula Subaru and you may see only rows of green. Look again, however, and you might recognize tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins and all manner of vegetables. First planted in 2009, the Love Garden produces nearly 300 pounds of vegetables annually for the local food bank, which serves 2,000 residents.
“Customers stroll through, and a few help us water, weed and harvest,” says Melania Dionas, a director with the retailer. Located near the bay, the garden also provides a scenic respite for waiting customers and staff on break. “It has turned into a relaxation garden,” says Dionas.
Rhinebeck, New York
Almost by definition, Meals on Wheels operates largely behind closed doors, bringing hot food and warm companionship to the elderly and disabled who can’t shop and cook for themselves. To Patrick Downes, director of marketing for Ruge’s Subaru, the organization seemed like a perfect fit. “It brings daily goodness to people through driving,” he says.
Ruge’s Subaru has donated nearly $10,000 to the local Meals on Wheels, helping it double its reach to 60 recipients. And these days, the program is a little more visible: To raise awareness, Ruge’s Subaru created door-sized magnets for volunteers’ cars, turning their delivery runs into awareness-raising missions.
Man’s Best Friend
Elk Grove Subaru
Elk Grove, California
For military veterans coping with post-traumatic stress, an Alpha K9 dog can be an invaluable companion. Elk Grove Subaru sponsors a dog Olympics to raise money so nearby Alpha K9 can train and donate service dogs to comfort vets with PTSD. So far, the retailer has raised more than $20,000 to train 20 dogs.
“Supporting these dogs is the most moving thing I’ve ever done,” says Elk Grove Subaru General Manager Vince Bloom. One of the first vets who received a dog supported through the program visited the retailer a year later. “He said, ‘This dog saved my life,’” says Bloom.
Subaru of Champaign County
Under-the-radar program Bark & Ride relocates dogs from shelters where they are likely to be euthanized to shelters where they will be placed with adoptive homes, with drivers ferrying dogs from one point to another. Subaru of Champaign County is an overnight waystation for this canine pipeline.
To a large degree, this is accomplished without much fuss. After a day on the road, the dogs just want to run around, get something to eat and have a quiet place to sleep. Subaru of Champaign County even provides the human companions with pizza and a place to sleep. Mission accomplished, the drivers are gone before staff show up the next morning.
While W&L Subaru raises money annually for the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and the corresponding Children’s Miracle Network, one family’s situation was especially dire.
Josiah Viera was born with a rare condition that causes him to age prematurely. Managing his care strained his family’s resources, so W&L Subaru provided the family with a Subaru Outback, facilitating its ability to get to and from medical appointments. Coincidentally, Josiah, now 12, is an avid baseball fan and closely follows the careers of local college players. In spring 2016, W&L Subaru flew him and his father to St. Louis to see one of the boy’s heroes start in his first major league game – a home run for everyone involved!
A kayak on top of a Subaru? While the visual is far from novel, it has special meaning if the vehicle and boat are headed to YMCA Camp Letts, down the road from Annapolis Subaru.
Annapolis Subaru raises money to keep the camp’s zip line zipping, canoes floating, Frisbees® sailing and campers smiling. YMCA Camp Letts says that the support has kept its doors wide open to the hundreds of children it serves annually.
Best in Class
Subaru of Wichita
In addition to supporting a wide array of other causes, Subaru of Wichita is a strong advocate for education. To that end, the retailer found a way to shower local teachers with supplies for their classrooms with AdoptAClassroom.org, an online giving platform that allows teachers to register for classroom supplies and gear.
Subaru of Wichita sponsored eight teachers for $250 each, enabling the educators to buy the supplies they need. “Each was overjoyed,” says Benny Bowden, marketing manager of Subaru of Wichita.
Does your Subaru retailer go above and beyond, provide exceptional service or support causes that are important to you? We’d love to hear about it. Visit subaru.com/love-promise