Last year, Luxaire entered into a three-year partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help “Deliver the Magic of a Wish” to children with life-threatening illnesses in the regions served by Luxaire HVAC equipment distributors and dealers across the United States. Make-A-Wish has a reputation for low administrative costs. A high percentage of the money collected goes directly to the kids and not to program management.
Luxaire is supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation with an annual donation of $250,000, and its distributors and dealers can raise funds to support local Make-A-Wish chapters.
Calverley Supply (www.calverleysupply.com) is the Michigan distributor for Luxaire equipment. It has six locations in the metro Detroit area. Calverley’s employees recently played an integral part of making a wish come true for one local Detroit-area child. Thanks to their involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Luxaire, Calverley made six-year-old Cody Warzecha of Melvindale a happy boy.
Cody’s WishCody is afflicted with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects various nerve tissues. Cody’s wish was to take a Disney cruise with his parents, Dawn and Jeffrey, and his younger brother, Cameron. Calverley, through its sale of Luxaire equipment, was able to donate the $5,200 needed for the trip and sponsor a “welcome back” party at Calverley’s Livonia (Mich.) location.
Jason Calverley, co-owner of the business with his brother Anthony, was a bit apprehensive about arranging such a large welcome home party for Cody.
“Cody was real shy and we didn’t know how he would react to all of the Calverley employees,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if he would physically be OK.”
It took a little coaxing — and a ride in one of the Calverley toy pedal cars — to get Cody to warm up. Michael Calverley, Calverley’s founder and father to Jason and Anthony, is a collector of old pedal cars and the opportunity to drive one around the parts showroom was too good for Cody to pass up.
“Once Cody warmed up, you would have thought there was nothing wrong with him,” said Jim Beltz, Calverley Supply equipment specialist.
“We all left the party pumped up,” said Jason Calverley. “We can’t wait to do something else for Make-A-Wish.”
Looking back, Jason Calverley wishes that more of the company’s 41 Michigan dealers could have shared in the event.
“We didn’t invite a lot of dealers because we didn’t know how overwhelming it would be for the family,” he said. “The parents were very happy. In hindsight, I wish we could have invited all of our dealers.”
Anthony Calverley added, “We weren’t looking to exploit the child. And it was our first experience with an event like this.”
Luxaire filmed the event, which the company plans to include in a future dealer recruitment video to portray the positives of being a Luxaire dealer. Luxaire runs a series of television commercials explaining the Make-A-Wish Foundation program, including the names of local dealers, which adds even more exposure to the successful program. Being part of a large nationally recognized charitable organization is helpful in recruiting new employees, but the ability to gain the local media’s attention is another plus.
Involving The MediaAn advantage of working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation is the instant positive recognition that the organization brings. It gains more attention than a locally sponsored picnic or golf outing, for example — and often involves less work.
“The Make-A-Wish program is already set up and in place,” said Jason Calverley. “It is much harder to set up your own local charity event.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also works with the local media and the Michigan chapter is a very active one, making every effort to get the media involved. Through its efforts, the homecoming party for Cody was featured in the Detroit Free Press.
The Michigan chapter, headed by Jeanette Porter Tarcha, sent out a press release to the local media describing the Disney cruise that Cody and his family took, the time and date of the homecoming party, and information about the Luxaire/Make-A-Wish partnership. As a result, Calverley Supply got a big write-up.
It was win-win for everyone — and brought some misty eyes among party attendees.
“It makes you count your blessings every day,” said Kay Wheater, Calverley sales manager.
Jason Calverley said that he would like to sponsor as many of these events as possible. The average cost of each child’s wish is around $5,000. With the sale of each piece of Luxaire equipment, distributors and dealers can improve the chances of getting a bigger piece of the Luxaire corporate donation into their own state.
The $250,000 donation is the minimum amount donated by Luxaire, and it is distributed through its suppliers in each state, based on the amount of money raised in that region. Thus, there is an added incentive to sell the Luxaire products now. People are helping to bring smiles to the faces of children.
“It’s one thing to go into work and do our job on a day-to-day basis, not getting anything out of it or maybe not enjoying it,” said Jason Calverley. “It’s another thing to go to work and sell every day, knowing you are helping children.”
John Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1294, 248-362-0317 (fax), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication date: 07/28/2003