By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
You may recall a heartwarming TV commercial from last year’s holiday season where several families and individuals sang a cover of the popular song, Put a Little Love in Your Heart. Towards the end of the commercial it was revealed to be an advertisement for Subaru, with a message of spreading love throughout the local communities of America. The company stated that for every new Subaru sold or leased during the holidays, they would donate $250 to the purchaser’s choice of charity, for a campaign known as the annual Subaru Share the Love event.
Their latest television spotlight showcases that over the past ten years, Subaru donated approximately $140 million through Share the Love, claiming the money raised help protect over one hundred National Parks, rescue over 50,000 animals, deliver over 2 million meals to elders across America and grant 1,800 wishes for youth living with life-threatening illnesses; donating the funds to the National Park Foundation, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Meals on Wheels America and Make-A-Wish Foundation respectively.
In 2013, Subaru afforded each dealership the opportunity to choose a local charity or non-profit as a fifth option for their customers to choose from each year. Out of six hundred and thirty dealerships nationwide, six hundred and twenty-eight participate in the Share the Love event annually, including the friendly crew at Marysville Roy Robinson Subaru.
“We used to do Make-A-Wish, the Washington and Alaska chapter, but this year wanted to do something more local,” says Robb McCalmon, Roy Robinson Subaru General Sales Manager. “The Subaru Share the Love event is a campaign that Subaru does with their retailers starting each November and running through the new year. They allow us to partner with a hometown charity and it hit us last year that the community does so much for us, we want to return that love and show our appreciation. We reached out to some of the elders of the tribe and we discussed where the donation would best benefit the community, and with their guidance, we selected the Tulalip Foundation.”
The Tulalip Foundation is a non-profit organization that’s been dedicated to empowering the wellbeing of the Tulalip reservation and surrounding communities since 2007. The Foundation works with a number of programs to create a brighter future for the tribe; programs that are based on three important values to many tribal families: education, culture and justice.
The organization originally began as a way to raise the remaining million dollars needed to open the Hibulb Cultural Center. Since the museum’s opening, the Foundation has raised money, accepted donations and applied for a number of grants to provide several programs and departments with money for events, incentives and services including the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Parent Committee, Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid, Tulalip TERO Vocational Training Center and the Tulalip Veteran’s Quilt Project. Additionally, the Foundation also hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year such as the Hibulb Cultural Center Salmon Bake and the Foundation’s annual Giving Tuesday event.
“It was a huge surprise that we were selected for the Subaru Share the Love Event,” says Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “We have to give credit to Gus Taylor. He’s a friend of one of the upper management team members at Roy Robinson. They mentioned to him that they were looking for a local charity for the event this year, Gus shared that information with Marjorie James, one of our trustees, and together they got the ball rolling.”
In recent years, the Share the Love event has generated upwards of $40,000 each year at the Marysville dealership, a number that Robb is hoping to match but Nicole and the Foundation isn’t necessarily anticipating, stating she’s happily thankful for whatever amount is raised. Because the final donation remains to be unknown until the end of the event, the Tulalip Foundation Board of Trustees will determine how the donation is distributed once the total is revealed. Robb ensures that his crew is dedicated to working hard this holiday season, with a goal of delivering a ‘big check’ to the foundation. Roy Robinson also created an information kiosk located inside the dealership so people buying or leasing a new car can learn more about the Tulalip Foundation when determining which of the five charities they can select.
“Anybody who wants to buy or lease a new Subaru, we’ll give them the opportunity to donate that $250 towards the Tulalip Foundation,” he says. “It’s an awesome event during the holidays and we’re hoping for a successful season like we’ve seen over the past few years.”
The Tulalip Foundation is assisting with the upcoming Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Christmas Concert & Silent Auction and is also raising funds for the Tulalip Veteran’s Quilt Project by selling hand painted stone pendants, created by Tulalip Artist David Spencer Sr., at the Hibulb Cultural Center gift shop.
“We are so thankful to be selected as the hometown charity for Roy Robinson’s Subaru Share the Love event,” expresses Nicole. “We have a pretty broad umbrella and we now have the opportunity to support even more programs and help a lot of people. We’re excited to partner with a company that has such a large presence in the greater Marysville area and hopefully this will help get our name out there too, because right now we’re still pretty small in terms of a non-profit.”
For more information, please visit Marysville Roy Robinson Subaru or contact the Tulalip Foundation at (360) 716-5400.