Yeshiva Beth Yehudah’s Annual Family Spring Safety Day

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The Suburban Collection is very involved within our community year-round. We always have an extensive list of sponsored events, volunteering opportunities, and community happenings on our calendar every month. During the summer, we try to make it a point to either host or attend as many outside events as possible.

Earlier this month, we got to spend a few hours outside at Yeshiva Beth Yehudah’s Annual Family Spring Safety Day! This organization promotes the love of learning the Torah, the love of Eretz Yisroel, the values of living out the Torah, and midos tovos, which provides Torah education in accordance with Orthodox Jewish Law, or Halacha. Yeshiva Beth Yehudah also provides excellent education in regards to high standards that are prescribed by the State of Michigan, as well as best practices across the nation.

Every now and then, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah will host an event that is open to its members, as well as to the public. This year, it happened that their Annual Family Spring Safety Day fell on one of the most beautiful days of June so far, and we were able to be a part of it! We promoted some of the outdoor activities that were taking place and also got to bring some vehicles from our dealership along that people had the opportunity to test drive!

At the event, there were also horse and buggy rides, a petting zoo, a face painting stand, music, and a bike-a-thon where they were also giving away free helmet checks. It was so great to see families spending quality time with one another, letting go of all of the stresses of life and being immersed in the present moment with their loved ones.

Below are some of the images that were captured by one of The Suburban Collection’s team members:
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Oakland County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit Vest Support

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The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the entire nation. There are over 1,300 employees that work for Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, all who are rigorously trained to serve and protect the many citizens within their office’s boundaries.

In addition to their 1,300 employees, there is another department within their office that is central to their mission that often doesn’t get the recognition they rightfully deserve. Within the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is a K9 Unit that is comprised of fourteen Dutch Shepherds. These dogs are trained in bomb detection, tracking, property recovery, handler protection, and narcotics detection.

These dogs within the K9 Unit quickly become their handler’s best friends. They assist them with tasks that human officers are often unable to carry out without assistance. Not only do their services work in making the community a safer space, these dogs are paramount in protecting their human officers in the face of danger.

Some may not realize just how active K9 Units are within a sheriff’s office. The K9 Unit within the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office responds to around 1,900 requests every year. Not only do they have their own responsibilities to carry out within their specific department, but they are also on call to any police agency within the Oakland County boundaries who require the assistance of a K9 Unit.

Because of how active their K9 unit is, The Suburban Collection and I wanted to extend our thanks to the officers and their four-legged companions for dedicating their lives to protecting our community. To show our gratitude, we presented one of their dogs, Paco, with a new bulletproof vest to help protect him as he serves the citizens of Oakland County!

Paco was joined by his handler, Deputy Garrison, Diago, another K9 Officer, and his handler, Deputy White. Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who oversees the entire Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, was also in attendance as he watched Paco accept his new bulletproof vest.

We were so honored to be able to support an organization that selflessly supports the community day in and day out. Here are some pictures from the event:

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Birmingham School District Teacher Of The Year

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A truly passionate teacher will dedicate their lives to their profession. To these teachers, influencing as many students as possible is their priority. Every year, they await their new class of eager students and work hard to ensure that they are providing them with the best education possible, molding their lesson plans and activities to meet the needs of each individual student.

For years now, The Suburban Collection has been awarding teachers who have made an impact within their community and have been nominated as “Teacher Of The Year” with a new car lease of their choosing – a contribution that we are more than happy to make in order to show how grateful we are for all of their hard work throughout the year for being so committed to better serving their students.

We are so proud to award a new car lease to Nancy Kocsis as the Birmingham School District Teacher Of The Year. Nancy has been a part of the Birmingham School District family for 41 years now, serving both her students and her colleagues. Nancy is the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Advisor for the entire school district, which demands a significant amount of responsibility and devotion.

Adamm Davis the GSM Suburban Imports of Troy was there to present Nancy with her title and prize, which she will pick out at a later date!

As always, it was so rewarding to see the look of complete shock and gratitude on her face when she was officially recognized for all the work she has done every single day for the past 41 years. Here she is being recognized as Birmingham School District’s Teacher Of The Year:

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From The Suburban Collection and myself, we just want to thank Nancy again for all that she has done for the Birmingham School District! Both her students and colleagues were extremely proud to honor her with this prize; a group of her closest colleagues came together in order to support her in person by being there when she was awarded with her title and certificate for a new car!

Gleaners Community Food Bank Women’s Power Breakfast

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Within southeast Michigan’s community, there are people who are hungry and malnourished, unaware of when their next meal will be, often going days without the nutrition that their bodies so desperately need. This includes families, neighbors, and could even be friends.

Hunger is a pressing and threatening issue that affects people across the country, but even more severely on a global scale. While it is important that we do our due diligence and work together to provide food to those in need, I am grateful for organizations like Gleaners Community Food Bank who work to focus their efforts on specific areas.

Gleaners Community Food Bank (GCFB) has been dedicated to ending hunger in southeast Michigan for over 40 years now. They have made a tremendous impact within our local community, providing meals to individuals and families who don’t have the financial stability or means to acquire the nourishment they need. You can read more about the specific events that GCFB is involved in, as well as their stories of philanthropy, online.

A small team from The Suburban Collection was chosen to attend the Gleaners Community Food Bank Women’s Power Breakfast last month, alongside 700 other men and women from the community. Below are two images captured from the event of the women who have made this all possible. It is through their leadership that the GCFB is able to raise over 39 million pounds of food annually to nourish those in need.

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The food that is collected throughout the year is distributed throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Washtenaw Counties, where Gleaners Community Food Bank is able to provide 89,000 meals every single day to individuals and families who need it the most.

It was an honor to be included in an event where these women were recognized for their commitment to making their community a better place to live; their selfless mentalities toward other individuals are a refreshing mindset that showcases a sincere dedication to working towards making sure that everyone has access to the basic necessities that they need and deserve.

Waterford School District Teacher Of The Year

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With a job as demanding as teaching, seeing a teacher give their all day in and day out really emphasizes just how much they are dedicated to their job. When it comes to teaching, a truly passionate and committed teacher puts in the time and effort necessary in order to do the best for their students.

Nichole Rinehart is one of these passionate and committed teachers! She is a teacher at Grayson Elementary School where she works with over 50 fourth and fifth graders. If it isn’t evident by her relationships with her colleagues that Nichole is a respected and cherished part of her teaching community, it should be clear once people see just how beloved she is by her students.

Nichole loves what she does because there is not a day that goes by where she doesn’t feel rewarded by her students. She says, “I get rewarded when someone understands something that they’ve struggled with. I get rewarded when they’re having fun learning. I get rewarded when they make me laugh.”

After reading through all the comments that people wrote about Nichole after they nominated her, we knew that we found our Waterford School District Teacher Of The Year in Nichole Rinehart. On April 13th, Nichole was presented with her award in front of her colleagues and students, as well as her husband, Jeff, her parents, and her three sons. Suburban Ford of Waterford Sales Manager John Duley was there to represent The Suburban Collection in giving Nichole her prize. As you can see in the pictures below, Nichole was ecstatic as she was recognized for all of the time, energy, and dedication that she puts into her students and her job.

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Immediately after the ceremony, Nichole and her family were taken to Suburban Ford of Waterford, where Nichole picked out her new car: a 2017 Ford Mustang! She is so happy with the new addition to her home.

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We are so honored for the opportunity to recognize these teachers for all that they do for the development of our children. We t want to extend our congratulations to Nichole once again for being an outstanding teacher!

The 10th Annual Suburban Collection Blood Drive

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For the past 10 years, The Suburban Collection has partnered with the American Red Cross by sponsoring a blood drive open to our employees and the public in an attempt to collect blood to be used for those in critical need.

We have had amazing participation in the past, but decided to extend the drive his year to two days. Extending the drive by one day increased the amount of blood we were able to donate by over 39 percent – 138 more units than we collected in 2016!

Over these two days, eleven of our dealerships served as donation locations where both employees and the general public could help in our philanthropic efforts. To make things even more fun, those who attempted to donate, were entered to win some amazing prizes. Five won an early sign-up bonus of $100, three won a 50” HD TV, two won a Fitbit Charge 2, one person won an Apple TV, and one won an Amazon Tap for donating! Everyone who participated was given an insulated tumbler.

We’re so grateful to all of those who came out for our event. They really helped to make a difference in our community. Contributions totaled up to 488 life-saving units of blood, which was able to benefit around 1,464 people who were at a critical moment in their life.

So, to all of our employees, our friends, and our families who gave up some of their free time to do something that will have an impact on someone else, we thank you. As the years pass, we have only seen more people make it a point to come out and volunteer their resources – this year is no exception.

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Because we have had such a promising event in 2017, we can’t wait to see what is in store for next year’s event! We look forward to seeing the familiar faces of this year and previous years, as well as all of the new people we will be able to meet as you spread the word of this event around.

If You Can’t Give Your Money, Give Your Time

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One of the most common misconceptions about charitable giving is that the term “giving” implies a financial contribution. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Of course, financial contributions can make a tremendous difference for a cause, whether that’s helping individuals directly in need or by donating to an organization that will, in turn, help those in need through more substantial means. But not all of us have the budget to freely give of our finances to fund the endless demand of charities that give back. Never view helping charities as a competition; you will always feel inadequate if that is your approach to giving back. Just as charities need money to thrive, they also demand a volunteering of time, which is something that anyone can afford to give.

In a previous blog, I discussed 3 ways that you can give back at no cost to you, but I wanted to expand on this topic further because there are so many other options available to you if you have a strict financial budget. Here are an additional 3 ways that you can make a difference by just volunteering your time or resources:

Donate Your Clothing

We all eventually grow out of our clothing. Seasonal trends change and we replace what we have with updated styles, sizes fluctuate and we can no longer wear some of our favorite pieces, and sometimes there are outfits that get lost in our closets that we don’t touch for years. Dedicate an afternoon to sorting through your closet and filling bags with clothes you don’t wear anymore. Not only will you benefit from less clutter, but you are giving those who have little financial stability an opportunity to get clothing to wear that they can pick up for free or at a discounted rate.

Volunteer For A Local Charity Event

We all live productive lives, but we often fill parts of our days with activities just to have something to put on our schedules. Seek out charity events that are happening locally and sign up! You can skip a morning session at the gym or an afternoon coffee trip for an event that holds more significance. These events range in size and the necessary tasks will vary depending on the specifics of the event, but do your research and find something where you can use your skills to give back.

Become An Organ Donor

Only 42% of the population in the United States are registered organ donors. Your part in this is simple and requires such a small time commitment, but its impact is outstanding! After you pass away, your organs will live on inside an individual whose ailment is affecting their way of life. You can literally become a lifesaver.

Charity is not about how much you can give, it’s about your passion to make a difference. Your contributions are no lesser just because you can’t contribute money. In fact, giving of your time is equally as important because it fills the gaps that money can’t touch.

3 Strategies To Foster Employee Giving

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Last week, I wrote a blog that spoke to how 2017 is predicted to be a generous year for charity. There are many reasons for this, but the increased philanthropic spirit on the individual, foundation, and corporation levels are what will truly drive a new year focused on giving back.

For this blog, I wanted to take the corporation’s role in charity and explore in more detail how companies can make more of a difference. First, it is important to clarify that at the heart of a company’s charitable efforts is their employees. Without employees selflessly giving their money, time, and resources, a corporation would not be able to give back as much. The more engaged and involved employees are, the more businesses can do on a local or global level.

There is an increased push to get employees to act on their generosity during the holidays, which is great, but it’s not enough. Charitable actions should be a focus year-round. Here are three ways that you can encourage an increase in employee giving throughout the year:

1. Make it about money, time, and resources.

Not everyone is the same, which means that not everyone will want to give in the same way. Companies fail to recognize this and create an employee giving program that is centered around only one of those three categories, which decreases the amount of employee involvement.

Some individuals may have more room in their budgets to be generous with their money but others may not and, therefore, may want to exercise their goodwill by volunteering their time or giving other resources in order to help those in need.

The methods of giving could also vary depending on generational preferences. Older generations may feel more compelled to stay behind the scenes and write a check for a foundation. Younger generations, specifically millennials, are more about experiences, so they may be more likely to contribute if it involves being more hands-on and active.

2. Put a spotlight on what your employees are doing to make a difference.

If an individual is supporting an event, organization, or foundation that is important to them, they are going to want to be vocal about it. Currently, around 30% of companies encourage their employees to post updates or videos that highlight their philanthropy. As this catches on, I hope more and more companies begin to encourage their employees to do this!

The Walmart Foundation is actually a great representation of this and how it can be successful. They want their employees to be active on social media and share what they are doing to give back. They have even created an account on Twitter that serves as a platform to share these stories.

3. High-impact giving with low cost.

As technology advances, it is making giving back quicker and easier than ever before. The process of giving back should be as efficient, but corporations often struggle with how to do this effectively while also practically administering their campaigns. The solution is to find a balance in managing high-impact activities with low-cost technology. Corporate philanthropy software, such as CyberGrants, may be a great thing for your company to look into. You can pick out an organization to support and employees can choose to donate either their money or time in support of the organization through the software.

You don’t have to be a corporate giant in order to make a difference. Anything that you can do or donate to help support an event, organization, or foundation that is doing good on a local or global level will help make an impact. Use these tactics in your company to get your employees more involved in the new year! Not only will you be supporting those in need, but it will also help to foster a healthier, more close-knit community within your workplace.

Philanthropic Giving In 2017

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The holidays are a time of giving. The philanthropic spirit that emerges during this time of year also often lingers well into the new year, typically bringing an increase in charitable giving with it. Whether the time of year is responsible for an fluctuation that is only temporary is insignificant, there is nothing more pleasing than seeing people take an interest in helping those in need.

The statistics of giving in 2016 can actually point to what philanthropic giving is predicted to look like in 2017. Broken down into various “groups,” these are the philanthropic patterns that are anticipated for this coming year:

Individuals

Not only is individual giving expected to rise in 2017, it is supposed to do so quite significantly – by around 3.8%! Why the sudden boost of generosity? In 2016, individuals experienced an average growth in personal income and an above average growth in household and nonprofit net worth. With more money attributed to them, there is reason to believe that the amount they give to charity will be higher in 2017.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to give back, I urge you to find an organization that holds meaning to you and consider giving back to them in any way you can! Many wrongly assume that money is the only form of charity that actually matters, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are other ways that you can give your time and resources to make a difference.

Foundations

2016 had already seen an increase in foundation giving, but that’s expected to rise to 6.4% in the new year! As more and more individuals start giving back – or begin to increase the amount that they do give – it is only going to increase a foundation’s philanthropic giving as well.

Corporations

Compared to the other avenues, corporations make up about 5% of charitable giving. This number may not seem very significant, but many people would be surprised to know that this percentage has surged over the past few years. Businesses are starting to take responsibility for their lack of giving in the past, realizing that they can make more of an impact than one individual could, so they are creating ways to get more engaged. For example, some companies are incentivizing the process by inspiring their employees to donate, promising to match whatever they give. Instead of focusing on money, some other companies use their time by organizing large groups to volunteer out in the community.

Have you noticed a pattern within these three different categories? Yes, philanthropic giving is clearly predicted to be on the rise, but it is because of you. Not only are individuals being more charitable on their own, but they are giving more to foundations and getting more involved within their companies. Giving more to foundations allows that particular foundation to give more on their end and getting more involved within your company allows your company to make more of a difference. So if you want to do something extra this year, find out ways that you can get involved! At the heart of philanthropic giving is your generosity.

Charity Spotlight: Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children

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There are a number of charities throughout the country that focus on helping veterans, as well as several that focus on helping children. The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children is unique in that it focuses on both. This Michigan-based nonprofit functions as a living memorial to America’s veterans. It helps military and veteran families get through difficult times.

It is not only veterans who need help but also their families, who have felt the effects of warfare. In 1925, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children was founded as a place where families left behind by war could go to help keep the family intact.

Veteran families can face a number of challenges from post-traumatic stress, to rehabilitation from battlefield injuries to high unemployment. As the world changes, the needs that families of veterans possess have changed over the years, but one thing that has remained consistent is the National Home’s dedication to fixing those issues. Over the years, the National Home has evolved over the years to ensure that it meets the needs of veteran families.

The VFW National Home for Children fosters a peaceful healing community in a rural small-town environment. In this community, 42 single-family homes are arranged onto tree-lined streets. Those who live in these homes have access to the National Home’s facilities such as the library, the gym, the Day Care Center and the playgrounds. There is also a fishing pond, hiking trail, computer and science labs, and more. The VFW National Home for Children functions in a way similar to a town. This is evident not only in its sense of community but in its infrastructure. The National Home has its own water wells, water treatment facility and sewage system. It also provides phone and Internet service to all of its residents.

The organization may emphasize children in its name, but the organization also knows that having a family member who is or has been in the military can take a toll on the whole family. The National Home has opened its community to families of active-duty military personnel, veterans and descendants of members of the VFA and its Auxiliary. The reason the descendents of members are allowed to join the community is that the National Home knows the the effects of war can last for generations. The family members who live in the National Home can be one or both parents with one or more children.

From the emotional wounds to the fractures in family ties to the financial stress, war can take a big toll on a family. The community fostered by the National Home can allow these families to get back on their feet in a number of ways. Families can find stability and security during a deployment, they can keep the family whole, and they can recover from crises. The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children is an incredible nonprofit that makes a big difference in the lives of military and veteran families.