Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors of events like the GRACE Gala and Drive Into the Night, and all other GRACE events and activities throughout the year. The generosity of these community-minded businesses and individuals is an inspiration to GRACE staff who strive to make all those who support GRACE proud of the way GRACE uses their funds to help others.

Classic Chevrolet owners Tom Durant and his wife Susan are the perfect example of a community-minded business owners. They ask their employees to support the community through charitable work, and the employees have responded by making the Classic Employee Charity Fund a personal and professional goal.

At their annual holiday luncheon this week Classic presented $40,000 to GRACE, and similar gifts to 6 Stones Mission Network, the Angel Fund of Trinity High School, Christ Haven, the Clubhouse for Special Needs and Neuro Assistance, Community Storehouse, Food for the Soul, RISE, and V.A.S.T. Community Outreach.

“Over the past few years, it’s been a sheer pleasure to see how our employees have so fully embraced the spirit of giving back to our community,” said Susan Durant. In fact it was Susan’s idea that led to the formation of the Charity Fund.

Tom and I felt the money raised by Classic employees should be given to the charity of our employees’ choice,” said Susan. A committee of Classic employees selects the charity beneficiaries each year, and recruits key vendors, volunteers and other employees to help raise the funds.

Funds are raised through the individual gifts of Classic employees and boosted by the revenues from events such as the Steve Thompson Classic Golf Tournament in October and the Classic Chili Cook-Off in November.

Classic’s commitment to GRACE and to the community is part of a corporate culture that recognizes goals and develops ways to meet those goals.

Ken Thompson of the Thompson Group at Classic Chevrolet explains, “We encourage our employees to push themselves to achieve both our company goals and our own personal goals as well. Giving back to the community has become incredibly meaningful and fulfilling for everyone [at Classic].”

It is that type of dedication and generosity that comes directly from the top: Susan and Tom generously match dollar-for-dollar all of the funds raised throughout the year by their employees.

“This is all about the employees’ efforts,” said Tom. “It was through their hard work that the money was raised. Our match is a way to say ‘thank you’.”

Our thanks to all Classic employees and, especially, Susan and Tom for their wise leadership and generous vision.