Though employees at all 11 of the Friendship Family of Dealerships' stores contribute to the fund, a small committee at the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram of Bristol store handles requests from employees at that specific location.
The Friendship Family Fund is part of the dealership's efforts to support employees in various facets of their lives.
"It's not just a place to work, it's a way of life," says General Manager Tom Hall. "It's a culture where we care about our community."
Friendship Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram of Bristol ranks No. 1 in this year's Automotive News ranking of the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For. It also was No. 1 among medium-sized dealerships, defined as those with 50 to 99 employees.
Part of the dealership's culture is an emphasis on healthy living and physical well being. Tobacco use is banned on the grounds of the dealership, and Friendship offers to cover half the cost of a gym membership for employees. Williams, who has been with Friendship for about a year, says she was able to afford to join the local YMCA because of the dealership's contribution.
Dealer Principal Mitch Walters is in the process of developing a program that will help defer the costs for employees to form activity groups outside of work. He says he imagines there might be groups to go skiing, play tennis or go running.
"You could have a salesman and a technician and a parts guy and an office person that could all be in the ski club, and that's good to build teamwork," Walters says.
The dealership's emphasis on employees' lives outside of work extends beyond physical fitness. Friendship, for instance, provides tickets as often as possible to concerts or NASCAR races. The Bristol Motor Speedway is a NASCAR short track. The dealership also recognizes top performing employees with cash rewards or weekend getaways.
But the annual highlights for Friendship employees are the dealership's Christmas party, at which every employee and family member in attendance gets a gift, and the summer picnic.