Because Giving Feels Good

SEMA News—May 2011

    —Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

SEMA’s mission, in a nutshell, is to help our members’ businesses succeed and prosper. As a rule, we focus on those things that benefit members directly, in a tangible way. At the same time, there are some SEMA activities outside of that strict definition—certain causes and programs that we find worthy because they are a way of helping our own.

One important charitable resource for our industry comes through the Aftermarket Foundation. SEMA has for years made annual contributions to help build the Aftermarket Foundation endowment. For more than 50 years, the Foundation has supported many aftermarket veterans on a long- or short-term basis, assisting individuals and families of the automotive aftermarket industry who have fallen on hard times due to an unexpected death, catastrophic illness or
financial hardship.

One example would be the Aftermarket Foundation’s contribution to assist SEMA member Dorian Comeau, who now deals with a challenging life following an industry-related car accident that left him a quadriplegic about a year ago. The Foundation has been able to assist in providing the specialized equipment that a wheelchair-bound individual requires, including transportation and suitable home facilities. Efforts to raise money to pay these considerable expenses continue. It’s important that SEMA members be aware of the vital resource represented by the Aftermarket Foundation and to contact SEMA with potential cases of individuals in need.

There are other ways we feel we can help. SEMA Cares raises money each year for two children’s charities, Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp. These organizations provide services to abused and neglected children and life-changing experiences to special-needs and chronically ill children. Obviously, building customized vehicles is something our industry does better than any other. Recently, we were thrilled to see the WD-40/SEMA Cares Mustang sold at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Show and Auction. The 2011 Ford Mustang GT received an online bid of $100,000 and generated another $125,000 in donations from others who wanted to support the effort. It was a huge stand-up moment for the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

A number of companies pitched in to build the SEMA Cares Mustang, including Street Scene Equipment, Paxton Superchargers, Stillen/AP Racing Brakes, MagnaFlow, Forgeline, Advanced Clutch Technology, Katzkin Leather, Hotchkis, Polk Audio, California Pony Car, Nitto Tire, PPG, Grant and GTR. These companies have the satisfaction of knowing that they teamed up to generate the largest single contribution to SEMA Cares to date.

Or consider the Pinewood Drag Races, which happen every year at the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser. Those who have participated in the past know the Pinewood Drags as a fun way to raise money for a good cause. Please visit here to find out how to get involved. We hope even more members will participate this year, but if not, we want everyone to know that SEMA appreciates every donation to any of these charities, no matter how small.

Our support for the Aftermarket Foundation and SEMA Cares activities are part of what we do as a trade organization—something we do because we are a community. Taking care of those in need makes communities stronger. Through these activities, we are leveraging the kinds of skills and connections SEMA members are rich in to benefit the right causes.

We do it because our members agree that giving back is the best part of being successful. We do it to help take care of our own. And we do it because it feels good to give.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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