If you walk into Hendrick Toyota Scion on any work day, you are going to see employees dressed in black or dark grey slacks and a blue, button-front shirt or blue sweater. It is the Hendrick way.
“We are strict with our uniforms,” said Christina Rose, marketing director. “Our dealership has always been business professional clothing.”
However, don’t be surprised if you see some employees in jeans at the Merriam dealership on any Friday this year.
It is for a good cause. A $5 donation by an employee at Hendrick Toyota Scion gets that person the right to wear jeans, typically on a Friday or at special events.
The year-long program at Hendrick Toyota Scion is called Jeans for a Cause. Each quarter, all the money raised goes to a charity that the employees select.
For the first quarter (January through March), the Love Fund for Children is the dealership’s charity of choice.
Rose said they picked the Love Fund for Children through the Bacchus Foundation.
“The Bacchus Foundation is a young philanthropy organization that gets together and every year they do a series of fundraisers,” Rose said. “This year they selected the Love Fund. We heard about it through Bacchus and decided to get in on that.”
The Love Fund for Children works to ensure children in Kansas City and surrounding communities have the necessities for growing, learning and living. The Love Fund provides solutions for children whose needs are beyond the funding ability of their family or support structure.
The purpose is to alleviate some of the concern, expense and worry a family faces when experiencing financial difficulty or adapting to the demands of life with a special needs child. They work through certified, third-party youth service professionals to ascertain and validate the needs of each child, review each request individually and allocate vouchers for goods and services to providers.
“All of the proceeds go straight to the Love Fund,” Rose said.
The idea of wearing jeans to help a charity came last year from one of the employees at Hendrick Toyota Scion.
The first time the dealership tried it was last December for Great Plains SPCA, a pet rescue and adoption facility.
“In one month, we raised about $1,200,” Rose said. “We had a customer who saw what we were doing and matched our donation to the SPCA.”
Being able to give back as a collective unit obviously helps morale, Rose said.
Just a little over a month into Jeans for a Cause, Rose sees many of the employees getting behind this charity effort. Rose said she donates $5 each week and wears jeans.
“Everybody seems to be getting into it,” Rose said. “Half the dealership is really excited and donates every single Friday, and the other half does it every few weeks. Almost everybody has been on board. We’ve had a lot of employees and customers donate without wearing jeans, just wanting to be part of the fundraiser.”
Rose said they haven’t decided which charity they will donate to in the second quarter.
“We have a team that gets together, and everybody selects a charity that they are really passionate about,” Rose said. “I know one thing we are passionate about is the Hendrick Marrow Program. It is not set in stone, but I am pretty sure that will be the next one.”
Through the course of the year, Hendrick Toyota Scion, at 9505 W. 67th St., has about 130 to 160 employees.
“At $5 a piece, that money very quickly adds up,” Rose said.
And that doesn’t count some of the customers, who are also donating. And when they do, they get a button like the ones the employees wear.
“We have posters around the dealership to announce what we are doing,” Rose said. “We have had some donations. I’d say 20 percent of our customers have responded or will ask questions.”
If you have a story you would like to see in Making A Difference, email David Boyce at Drive@ksctar.com