OLYMPIA, WA – You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to do a good deed.
For Juan Rodriguez, sales manager at Mullinax Ford of Olympia, the time came a few weeks ago after he and his family moved into a new house. A UPS driver pulled up to deliver a set of bunk beds and the two men started talking about their families. The driver, Chris Rovito, mentioned his 2-year-old daughter, Lawsyn, who had a rare kidney ailment and told Rodriguez about the organization he and his wife had set up to help families in similar situations.
Rodriguez knew he had to help.
About 10 days later, the dealership was able to present the fledgling nonprofit, Lewis County Renal Alliance, with a check for $10,250, thanks to Rodriguez, his coworkers and a Mullinax Ford corporate donation program. And – great news! – since then, Mullinax employees have donated an additional $3,000.
"One of our company mottos is to be the friendliest people to do business with. Another motto we live by is to participate in our community and strive to make it a better place,” said Zach Dodge, the dealership’s general manager.
“When Chris Rovito delivered a package on his UPS route, he met Juan Rodriguez, one of my sales managers. They began to talk because they are both naturally friendly, genuine people. Once hearing the Rovito family's story, Juan felt compelled to help. Juan approached me about getting Mullinax Ford involved. I wanted to help after hearing the battle these kids go through.
"Within a matter of 10 days, virtually everyone at Mullinax Ford of Olympia wanted to take part in helping L.C. Renal Alliance.”
Rovito and his wife Danielle founded the organization at the end of August, not long after Lawsyn was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). FSGS is a rare disease that affects the kidneys, leaving them scarred and unable to filter blood, which can lead to kidney damage and failure.
FSGS is the leading cause of end-stage kidney failure in children. Treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms and preventing additional scarring.
Both Rovitos were surprised and appreciative when they realized the size of the Mullinax donation, which they originally thought would be $250 from Rodriguez alone.
“The donation Mullinax gave us was so incredibly unexpected,” Danielle Rovito said. “We’re so grateful. This has really pushed us forward.
“When we got the check, we were like, oh my God, we have money to help people!”
Chris Rovito called Rodriguez “the most giving person in the world,” adding that L.C. Renal has
received some $6,000 in additional financial support as a result of the Mullinax donation. The contribution from Mullinax, combined with other direct donations, gives L.C. Renal some $25,000 on hand.
Rovito emphasized that funds will go directly to those in need and can make a big difference in a child’s health and a family’s peace of mind.
L.C. Renal plans to provide grants for genetic testing not covered by insurance, travel and lodging assistance for families to participate in trials and studies, medication expenses not covered by insurance, scholarships for children affected by rare kidney disorders and, when necessary, assistance with funeral expenses.
Making a difference in people’s lives is important to the Mullinax family and the company as a whole. The donation program is a big part of its effort to turn business success into positive impacts on the community.
Mullinax employees are encouraged to participate. The way it works is that dealerships can donate up to $250 a year per employee to charities or nonprofits of the employee’s choosing. Those who sit on a board can donate up to $1,000 annually through the program. Combined, their efforts have helped numerous worthy causes, including Toys for Tots, and Concern for Animals in Olympia, as well as churches, schools, sports groups and a variety of nonprofits across the seven Mullinax Ford locations across the country.
"You can always get involved with different foundations, but how often do you know your donation will be directly impacting kids' livelihoods?” Dodge said. “That is very special to us all here at Mullinax.”
About Mullinax Automotive
A pioneer in one-price, no-haggle auto buying, Mullinax Automotive consists of seven Ford dealerships across the nation -- five in Florida, which makes them the state’s largest Ford retailer, plus one in Mobile, AL, and another in Olympia, WA -- and a Hyundai/Genesis dealership in Clermont, FL.
Frequently honored by Ford for their sales figures and superior customer service, Mullinax dealerships also consistently rank high on the Automotive News list of the top 150 U.S.-based dealership groups.
All Mullinax locations are proud to be part of a family-owned and -operated business that prioritizes a fair and stress-free buying environment.
Visit at MullinaxFord.com for more information.
About L.C. Renal Alliance
L.C. Renal Alliance is a non-profit organization formed by parents of an FSGS child to help other children and families affected by Nephrotic Syndrome, FSGS, and other kidney diseases. Visit LCRenalAlliance.org for more information.