Corporate Culture of Giving Back Spreads to Franchisees

Six-year-old Corporate Program Provides an Opportunity to Raise Money for Local Charities

October 07, 2009 // Franchising.com // Middletown, CT – Wireless Zone, the nation's largest exclusive carrier and retailer of Verizon Wireless products and services, has been quietly providing grants to worthy public and private charities since 2003 through a program called the Wireless Foundation for Giving. The Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving, started after years of supporting research into Neurofibromatosis (NF), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), as well as United Hospice of Rockland County, and was created as a way for the franchise corporation, franchisees, employees and friends to give back to the more than 300 communities they serve in a meaningful and effective manner.

During 2009, the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving, has made over $137,000 in grants to 48 unique charities throughout the nation. While many companies are cutting back on charitable contributions in the current economic environment, Wireless Zone franchisees continue to find worthy local charities to support with donations that are matched by Automotive Technologies, Inc., the franchisor.

In the month of August, the Wireless Zone Foundation for Giving made grants totaling over $32,000, as follows:

Autism Speaks, New England Chapter $9,655.50

Childrens Tumor Foundation $7,407.75

Center for Infant & Child Loss (SIDS Research) $3,010.25

Pennsylvania Tourette Syndrome Association $3,372.50

Hospice of Rockland County $2,443.08

National Multiple Sclerosis Society / Alleghany District Chapter $2,579.50

Hunter's Hope Foundation $3,456.50

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital $220.00

Susan Suhr, Chief Administrative Officer at the corporate headquarters of ATI (Automotive Technologies INC.), the parent company of Wireless Zone, has created a culture of giving back at the corporate office. Because Susan is a breast cancer survivor she has devoted her time and creative energy to develop a unique inter-office fundraising campaign to raise money for the local chapter of the Komen for the Cure charity. Over the past five years she has helped raise nearly $11,000 for the charity to help fund research, support and activities to find a cure.

"In 2004, when I started the fundraising at the office we raised nearly $500. This year we raised nearly $5,000. By using creative and fun ways for people in the office to contribute we have increased the donations by ten times," said Suhr.

Anne Morris, Executive Director of the Hartford Affiliate of Komen for the Cure, says that Susan has used unique techniques to make her inter-office charity drive work.

For instance, donations were made by ATI employees, both directly and through purchase of pink York Peppermint Patties which were sold throughout the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month). In consideration of making a minimum $5 donation, employees were allowed to wear denim and pink during the company's October 17th day of celebration.

Franchisees across the nation have taken their cue from the corporate culture of giving back by supporting local charities in their community to make a difference. Christopher Jourdan, owner of four Wireless Zone stores in the Evansville, IN area, has even created his own program called "Give Back Day" to raise money one day a month for organizations that need help. In July, Jourdan and his 25 employees volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and have expanded their efforts to other local organizations such as the Warrick County Humane Society as well as area families in need. Wireless Zone gives $20 of every phone transaction to the selected organization during Give Back Day. But it's not just about the money.

"The monetary contributions are good, of course, but we really strive to create awareness in the community and make a difference at a local level," said Jourdan.

ABOUT WIRELESS ZONE

Founded in 1988 as "The Car Phone Store", Wireless Zone has become the nation's largest independent wireless retail franchisor and was ranked the #1 franchise in its category by Entrepreneur magazine. Every store is independently owned and operated, exclusively offering Verizon Wireless products and services. Wireless Zone has plans to expand throughout the U.S., creating promising opportunities for entrepreneurs. Wireless Zone is a division of Automotive Technologies, Inc.

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