Cancer touches nearly everybody in some way. Doug Kinney, owner of Overland Park Mazda, figures a half dozen of his employees are receiving some type of treatment from the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
As part of Mazda’s national charity event Drive for Good, the five Mazda dealerships in Kansas City decided the money they raised would go to a local charity.
During the Greater Kansas City International Auto Show March 4-8 at Bartle Hall, the Mazda dealerships in Kansas City presented a check of $25,970 to the KU Cancer Center. The money given to the KU Cancer Center was from the money raised by the five Mazda dealerships and matched by Mazda nationally.
Kinney owns two of the Mazda stores. The other Mazda dealers participating were Lee’s Summit Mazda, Northtowne Mazda and Tumminia Mazda.
“We as a Mazda Group, we were trying to figure out a charity that was impactful to the Kansas City market that was not only recognizable but makes a difference,” Kinney said. “There were probably three or four on our short list, and KU Cancer Center won out.”
Nationally, the Drive for Good event was enormously successful. It ran from Nov. 21, 2014, through Jan. 2, 2015. For every new Mazda vehicle purchased during this period, Mazda donated $150 to one of four national, or 44 local, charities, with the choice of the charity being left up to the customer.
Nationally, Mazda donated $4,937,850 to select charities as a result of the Drive for Good event, a 79.4 percent increase over 2014.
“We could not have asked for better results from this year’s Mazda Drive for Good event,” Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, said in a press release. “The growth seen in monetary donations and volunteer service hours are a welcomed increase. It allows Mazda’s employees, dealers and business partners to lend a helping hand and participate in constructive and engaging ways, helping their community throughout the year.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, American Red Cross, American Heart Association and Mazda Foundation were the four national charities Mazda selected.
“KU and its Cancer Center are very impactful to the Kansas City Community,” Kinney said. “There are going to be 6,800 new cases that they will process this year at the Cancer Center. About 10 years ago, they were doing about 300. They have had a significant growth.”
Kinney said it is important for the Mazda dealerships to give back to the community. Many times, money and services they donate go unnoticed.
“What the public sees is they buy a car from us and they have to write a big check for it,” Kinney said. “They don’t realize we contribute a lot back, and we try to be as supportive as possible. At the end of the day, not only do we sell cars to the community, we are part of the community. We are also in the business of good customer relations.
“The perception is we are always trying to take and don’t give. Quite frankly, if the public knew how much money is given by dealers to charities across the country, they would probably be amazed.”
If you have a story you would like to see in Making a Difference, email David Boyce at Drive@ksctar.com