When floodwater ravaged parts of Baton Rouge, La., in August, NADA President Peter Welch and Annette Sykora, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Chari-table Foundation, wasted no time traveling to the affected area to gauge the needs of dealership employees. Through the foundation's Emergency Relief Fund, $685,000 has been distributed to 560 employees.
The Emergency Relief Fund was established in 1992 to help dealership employees after emergencies and natural disasters. Since then, the fund has delivered more than $5 million to 8,700 employees in need.
It's one of the many ways the foundation provides assistance in communities where dealership employees live and work. Bob Mallon, a former NADA president and Ford dealer from Tacoma, Wash., is credited with the foundation's formation. While heading a special committee for NADA in 1974, he became acutely aware of the many charitable initiatives undertaken by dealers around the country.
"They were doing all these wonderful things but not getting any national recognition for it," Mallon said. "NADA was certainly big enough to get a foundation going."
So in 1975, NADA petitioned the IRS for the foundation to receive 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Since then, the foundation has donated more than $13 million to educational, health care and emergency relief programs across the country.