NADA Charitable Foundation Aids Dealership Employees Devastated by Tornado

David Westcott — June 2013

COMMENTARY
   David Westcott
Westcott
2013 NADA Chairman
When communities need sponsorship and monetary support, they often turn to their local auto dealers. But when auto dealers and their employees need support during their time of need, where can they turn?

It is difficult to calculate the devastation after a violent storm like the EF5 tornado that struck Oklahoma on May 20, but NADA’s Charitable Foundation has done the math on what it takes to be there for victims of natural disasters: immediate aid.

Just two days after the tornado wreaked havoc in the nation’s heartland, NADA mobilized and contacted dealership employees located in the disaster areas. Through the Emergency Relief Fund, NADA began distributing checks to employees who have been hit the hardest and are undergoing the difficult process of re-building their homes and lives.

The day after the tornado, Peter Hodges, president of the Metro Auto Dealers Association of Oklahoma City, was in his neighborhood distributing checks to dealership employees. Along with checks, he provided information about the financial assistance available through the NADA Foundation.

Twenty-four people were killed and more than 230 were injured by the massive twister. Nearly 70 dealership employees suffered either total loss of their homes or major damages as the twister—with peak winds at 210 mph—destroyed entire blocks, demolished houses and caused widespread power outages.

Since the relief fund was established in 1992, it has served as an invaluable resource for dealers and their employees during a natural disaster or man-made crisis. The fund is also currently providing aid to dealership employees affected by the recent explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant.

After the initial tornado in Oklahoma, NADA, our state association partners and individual dealers rallied together in a matter of days. Donations poured in from New York to Arizona, from Virginia to Ohio. Among many others, the Oklahoma Automobile Dealers Association contributed $25,000 to the Foundation.

As of May 31, $36,500 has been distributed to 26 dealership employees, and $7,850 has been distributed to seven employees in West, Texas. This assistance provides immediate aid so that people are able to buy food and clothing, stay at a hotel or begin to re-build their homes.

Last October, after Hurricane Sandy—the deadliest hurricane of 2012 and second-costliest in U.S. history—devastated the Northeast, more than $500,000 was distributed to 700 dealership employees. To date, the Emergency Relief Fund has provided more than $5.4 million to nearly 8,500 employees during times of crisis.

NADA will continue to work with the state and metro dealer associations to ensure that dealership employees receive the financial assistance they need and deserve. Employees can apply directly to NADA for emergency aid or dealers can apply on behalf of their employees. 

The NADA Foundation was established in 1975 and serves as the philanthropic arm of our association.

Funds contributed by new-car and -truck dealers—buttressed by our invaluable franchise system—meet the financial needs of schools, emergency disaster relief and other community service programs. This is all made possible by our dealers who are committed to their communities and the people who live in them. 

Along with emergency relief, we at NADA send our thoughts, support and solidarity to all the dealers, employees and families affected by this tragedy.

For more information about the NADA Foundation visit www.nada.org/charitablefoundation.

Click here to apply for assistance. Click here to donate.

Dave Westcott
NADA Chairman