|A Teco 28TI/UPH/BPS/PO tire changer—donated by Robert Donato, president of SICE USA, Ltd.—raised $5,000 at auction for the SEMA Cares charity foundation.|
"We had never donated in the past; I guess we’re picking up where someone else left off," said Robert Donato, president of SICE USA Ltd. Recently, Donato's company made an incredibly generous donation to the SEMA Cares foundation, contributing a Teco 28TI/UPH/BPS/PO tire changer valued at more than $10,500 for an eBay auction. Shipped direct from Italy and prominently displayed at the 2010 SEMA Show, the machine included a pneumatic bead assistant to handle tough tire/wheel combinations, including low-profile and run-flat applications.
The project actually started as a response to a deeply moving speech by "Overhaulin'" host and specialty-equipment celebrity Chip Foose, concerning the tragic loss of his youngest sister due to Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. After hearing the presentation, Donato handed his business card to Foose and asked how to go about making a donation to a charity dedicated to children.
Donato was ultimately introduced to the SEMA Cares charity foundation, a special committee within SEMA that donates 100% of its proceeds to support Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. Childhelp is a non-profit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. Victory Junction Gang Camp is a facility dedicated to enriching the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences. For Donato, this was exactly where he was looking to make a contribution.
"We thought the charities involved were worthwhile," explained Donato. "Chip’s sister was a child when she died, and this went to children’s charities." Small businesses, such as Donato's SICE USA, often don't have the resources to privately vet charities to ensure their legitimacy. In this case, however, SEMA Cares has done the research to ensure that 100% of all donations will be used to directly benefit children in need.
"The charities are going to have some good results from our participation, and I feel good about it," said Donato. "And that’s important. If somebody else wants to feel good like I do, here’s the way."
Driving home that point, Donato's auction raised $5,000 for SEMA Cares and Donato couldn't be happier about the funds raised or the exposure generated by the auction. For specialty-equipment industry businesses such as SICE USA, partnering with SEMA Cares helped turn their desire to donate into a substantial check going out to help children that desperately need assistance.
For any specialty-equipment business in a position to help SEMA Cares with its campaign to raise money for Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp, Donato offers the following call to action, "Any of us that are out here with the ability to help, ought to be doing it. If you can pick up some of that slack, now’s a good time."
To learn more about SEMA Cares and the annual fundraising activities the committee sponsors, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.