Dealership’s Employee-Led Community Outreach Program Continues Amid the Pandemic

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A combination of cash donations and free television ads help raise the awareness of the missions of local nonprofit organizations.

Dealership's Employee-Led Community Outreach Program Continues Amid the Pandemic

On a Mission
Sandy Brekke of the St. Clare Health Mission receives Toyota of La Crosse’s donation, as represented by (left to right) John Pochanayon, Ryan Lorenz, Sean Green and Kylie McCauley.

Since launching the Toyota of La Crosse Cares program in 2017, the dealership has donated thousands of dollars on a quarterly basis to multiple nonprofits that serve the western Wisconsin city as well as the surrounding communities they call home. But, truth be told, the impact of that outreach often goes well beyond money.
 
Take, for instance, Toyota of La Crosse’s support of the St. Clare Health Mission in 2019, which included a cash donation as well as a television ad calling attention to the free clinic’s support for people without health insurance. The mother of an adolescent, who was struggling to walk, saw that ad and took her child to the mission’s emergency room.
 

Home Visit
Sean Green enjoys breakfast with two clients of La Crescent Neighbors in Action.

“They found that a tumor was causing the problem,” says Sean Green, president and general manager of Toyota of La Crosse. “If they had not done emergency surgery, this child could have died. I wish you could have seen the facial expressions on our employees when I shared this with them. It truly was something special.”
 
Perhaps that’s why the dealership has continued to prioritize the program, even amid the pandemic.
 
In June 2020, it put up $5,000 — and tapped the Toyota Dealer Match program to increase the giving to $7,500 — to the benefit of two organizations: La Crescent Neighbors in Action and the La Crescent Food Shelf. The first helps people who otherwise might not be able to stay in their homes. The second provides free food to those who are struggling to make ends meet, a more common circumstance in the wake of COVID-19.
 
Meanwhile, Green believes the program boosts the morale of his workforce, perhaps even more than the people they are hoping to help.
 
“Management as well as frontline staff play a role in choosing the beneficiaries,” he says. “We have a committee of employees who meet and do that four times a year. This community has been so good to us. We take great pride in doing what we can to return the favor.”
 

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