Ways to Give
By Vahid David Delrahim
Tis the season for giving, or so the saying goes. For me, holiday season or not, the need to give back has never been more evident. Recently, I learned that the last 21 months have deeply impacted charitable giving, in general. Apparently, charities nationwide have faced a significant decline in donors, both large, as in business, and small, as in personal donations.
At Bliss, we share a generous philosophy about giving back to the communities in which we do business. Our team cares about where we focus our energy and time, and I wanted to share some thoughts about what we recently discussed.
We found that one way to contribute meaningfully is to look around closely in your community. It could be that your local fire or police station could use a particular boost.
Every year, we provide the Malibu Fire Station 88, Agoura Hills Fire Station 89 and the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station a catered Thanksgiving dinner. It’s truly a pleasure for us to recognize those who are away from their families so that they can protect us on a national holiday.
Last year, we made a similar gesture to thank first responders who work in hospitals. We enlisted Tuscany restaurant in Agoura Hills to create a beautifully catered lunch for the health care workers at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. A hot meal conveys the warmth and gratitude we feel for those who serve us, and my team loved being able to share.
If you’re looking for ways to give on behalf of your workplace, you can research causes by using a non-profit evaluator such as Charity Navigator, the largest evaluator of charities in the U.S. You can tie-in your company’s values to the charity’s work.
For example, Bliss is an environmentally focused car wash chain, so it makes sense for us to donate a fresh-water well to Wells Bring Hope, each time we open a new car wash. We do so to convey our respect for the earth’s most precious resource, water. The need in Western Africa for wells is dire, and the ability to provide them changes lives exponentially and for generations. It makes us feel fulfilled to give back as our business grows.
If you work for a business that gets lots of customer foot traffic, you can collect items or raise funds. One year, all of our Bliss Car Washes held a Veterans Day fundraising promotion for the Wounded Warrior Project. During our promotion, all eight of our Bliss Car Washes in Southern California collected donations from our customers, and we matched the funds.
Another thing to consider is scale; if you have a team, you can organize a clean-up project somewhere or build a dwelling as done with Habitat for Humanity. My team at Bliss participated in the adopt a meal at The Los Angeles Mission in December. We donated the funds and helped to prepare and serve the meal to those who could use a nice sit-down lunch. We’re also collecting socks, the most requested items, for those in need at all of our locations and deliver them to The Mission, an organization that knows best how to distribute wanted items. These are gestures the team wants to make and enjoys collaborating in.
So, my advice on giving this year is to keep open lines of communication with our employees, customers, neighbors, friends and community members. They’ll help point out where the need is and the quickest way to provide help. Everything matters, no matter how big or small.