ABCO CEO Michael Senter (pictured here during a 2006 Make-A-Wish Foundation Gala), who serves as vice chairman of the board of directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York, first proposed the cause-marketing concept to Luxaire distributors and executives.

MILWAUKEE - During the past month, Luxaire brand manager Mary Mocarski has logged a number of hours traveling around the country, but not in an effort to sell heating and air conditioning equipment. Instead, she is joining members of her senior leadership team at Luxaire distributor locations, personally thanking distributors for their support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The timing of Mocarski’s visits coincides with the 10-year anniversary of Luxaire’s sponsorship of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. To date, this sponsorship has resulted in donations totaling more than $2 million to one of the world’s leading children’s charities - enough to grant the wishes of more than 295 children with life-threatening medical conditions across the country.

“The longevity and success of the Luxaire program represents an incredible achievement,” said Kathy Forshey, vice president, corporate alliances, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. “The program also exemplifies the types of quality national sponsorships we strive to implement at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

For Mocarski, the relationship between the Luxaire brand of Johnson Controls and the Make-A-Wish Foundation is personal. “It’s a big reason I like my job as much as I do,” she commented.

“Because of this relationship, I know I’m not just moving equipment. I’m giving something back to children and families that appreciate it, putting smiles on their faces and mine.”

As she meets with distributors, Mocarski is presenting them with a specially designed kit that includes a plaque honoring their support, lapel pin featuring the 10th anniversary logo, Make-A-Wish®-branded apparel, and a Flip™ Video Camcorder.

In 2009, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma’s Wish ball themed “Magic Carpet Ride” event attracted 250 guests and event featured a live auction that raised more than $15,000 for the local chapter.

“We’re asking distributors to help us develop promotional content and materials for our sponsorship by using the Flip Cam to capture their experiences and opinions regarding our relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Mocarski explained. “Our goal is to grow our contributions to the Make-A-Wish organization and get everyone involved and excited about the work Luxaire distributors and dealers are doing.

“In the meantime, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize the support our distributors have already shown for the Make-A-Wish program. Many of them have gone above and beyond the commitment Luxaire made, finding creative ways to put their own stamp on the program, share their enthusiasm and make significant contributions to their local Make-A-Wish chapters.”

Six-year-old Izabel donned headphones for the 12-hour 96.3 WDVD “Day of Wishes” Radiothon, held at the Detroit radio station during which Calverley Supply Company Inc. helped raise $22,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.


ABCO HVACR Supply + Solutions is one Luxaire distributor whose support of the program is incredible. An active participant in the Luxaire/Make-A-Wish program since its inception, the Long Island City, N.Y.-based distributor has helped to raise more than $1 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

ABCO CEO Michael Senter, who serves as vice chairman of the board of directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York, first proposed the cause-marketing concept to Luxaire distributors and executives during a Luxaire Distributors Advisory Council meeting in 2001.

“HVAC dealers are among the most trusted and welcome contractors in anyone’s home, providing comfort and the assurance that the air we breathe is safe,” Senter explained. “In many cases, they’re also active in their communities, participating in PTAs, youth sports and charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Make-A-Wish program underscores who we are in our communities, rather than what we do, and deepens the understanding, trust, and appreciation among consumers for their neighbors and fellow community members, who also happen to be HVAC dealers.”

According to Senter, ABCO also benefits from the Make-A-Wish relationship. “As a Luxaire distributor, the association with the Make-A-Wish Foundation has created a greater sense of community within the ABCO organization. It has also given us a broader sense of corporate purpose as we seek to help enrich the lives of children facing life-threatening medical conditions by helping to deliver the magic and joy of a wish fulfilled.”

Speaking to the duration of the relationship, Senter added, “The length and consistency of our involvement has helped enhance our credibility among contractors, who now see us as caring, thoughtful community members, just as their customers view Luxaire dealers as thoughtful, generous, and caring members of their communities because of their involvement and association with the Make-A-Wish program.”

But Senter is quick to add, “We never would want a contractor or a consumer to purchase Luxaire air conditioning or heating products merely because we support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We want them to purchase the equipment because of its quality and because of the quality of the Luxaire dealer installing and servicing the equipment. However, we do believe that the association with the Make-A-Wish Foundation will make the consumer feel better about that decision. This association certainly makes us and our network of Luxaire dealers feel better about our association with Luxaire and Johnson Controls.”

Quitman Moon, regional sales manager with Luxaire distributor Solar Supply Inc., expressed similar sentiments when he talked about his experience with the Make-A-Wish program. “The support we give to the program impacts everybody in a positive way,” he said. “Obviously the wish kids feel good, but I can assure you that the people here at Solar Supply feel five times better when they become part of a child’s wish. And that can’t help but make us feel good about Solar Supply and Luxaire.”

Like ABCO, Solar Supply has supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation since Luxaire announced its sponsorship. And Moon has taken a personal interest in every wish the distributor has helped to grant, from the little girl 10 years ago who asked to meet her favorite country music star, to the young boy who just returned from a trip to Hawaii, where he experienced his wish to visit Pearl Harbor.

Bill Geldon, marketing director, Milwaukee Stove & Furnace Supply Co., joined Nicholas, his mother, and volunteers from Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin to review the details of Nicholas’ wish - a four-day, all-expenses-paid shopping excursion to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

The distributor raised much of the money for these and other wishes through a variety of fund- raising activities, including golf tournaments, motorcycle rides, and skeet shooting contests. Proceeds from these events also enable Solar Supply to invite Make-A-Wish children and their families to Houston Astros baseball games.

The 2011 baseball season represents the seventh year that Solar Supply has hosted wish children and their families at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. The baseball experience includes tickets to a game, food and drink money, and additional funds to cover a trip to the souvenir shop.

“The goal is to create an evening of fun that won’t cost the family anything,” said Moon. “We just want everyone to enjoy the game and everything that comes with it. If we’re lucky enough to put a smile on their faces, well, then we put one on ours as well. I think I get almost as much enjoyment out of watching the people from Solar Supply interact with the children as I do watching the children enjoy the game.”

When asked why his company participates in the Make-A-Wish sponsorship year after year, Moon was quick to reply. “The HVAC business is a great business to be in. I absolutely love my job. But in the end, all we’re really doing is keeping our customers comfortable - warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Adding the Make-A-Wish component to what we do makes all the difference in the world because now we’re doing so much more. We’re making a difference in the lives of children who need and appreciate what we and the Make-A-Wish Foundation can do for them, and that’s wonderful!”

Mocarski agrees. “Granting the simple wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition has inspired Luxaire distributors, dealers, and customers since Luxaire first became a sponsor of the Foundation in 2001.”

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Publication date:04/11/2011