by Sandra Yeyati
Charles Maund Toyota’s philanthropic projects are a good-hearted, consistent team effort. They take up a cause, put out their donation boxes in the service area where customers and employees can drop their contributions, publicize the cause in their advertising and on their website, and talk about it with their customers. When the donation drive is over, the company matches the funds they’ve raised and moves on to the next project. It’s not just money they raise; their efforts also raise awareness for people and animals in need, and the groups that seek to help them.
This year, Charles Maund Toyota has already finished their drive for the Safe Place women’s shelter, in Austin. They participated in the Susan G. Komen walk for breast cancer and held their annual Doggie Rescue Meet and Greet, where local rescue organizations brought dogs that needed good homes, and the public was invited to meet and adopt them.
There’s still work to be done for other organizations the dealership supports, including the Dell Children’s Hospital, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Red Cross Fire Relief, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Heart Gift. For Christmas, the dealership will hold a toy drive for the Toys for Tots program, which distributes gifts to children whose families cannot afford them. Two causes that are close to General Manager/ Managing Partner Jim DiMeo’s heart, because they affect his daughter, are the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and organ transplants for children. The dealership hopes to educate the public about the need for organ and tissue donors to save and improve the lives of children and eliminate lengthy transplant waiting lists.
Customer Relations Manager Cathy Peters commends DiMeo’s leadership. “I’m very impressed with Jim—his attitude and his personal philosophy about life and giving back, personally and in business. You don’t just take and take, you give and you give,” she says. When companies give back to their communities, they also create the kind of goodwill that prompts consumers to buy their products. Since DiMeo joined the dealership two years ago, sales have tripled.
Other efforts have helped both the community and the dealership’s bottom line. Take for instance, diversity. Under DiMeo’s leadership in the last two years, half of Charles Maund Toyota’s workforce is now female, and they have reached out to the Hispanic community in several meaningful ways. They are working closely with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and hired bilingual employees for their sales, service and financing departments. They advertise in Spanish with the help of a marketing firm that is well versed in this market, and are actively educating the immigrant population about the necessary paperwork they will need to purchase a car legally.
As they identify and understand the needs of the Hispanic community, the dealership is responding with solutions. Toyota is already the best-selling automotive brand among Hispanics in the U.S., and the dealership’s efforts are going a long way to increase their visibility with that segment of the community.
Charles Maund Toyota is the only family-owned Toyota dealership in Austin. This is a big advantage over other dealerships, because they can make decisions for customers and for the community right on the spot. The Maund family has owned auto dealerships here since 1957, and they acquired the Toyota franchise in 1993. Austin is being served by one if its own—a family that grew up here and whose legacy is here.
DiMeo and his management team value this idea of family; it informs the dealership’s business and philanthropic aspirations. As Peters puts it, “We have over 200 families here—each employee represents a family—and what happens here, the way we do business, affects families.”
Location: 8400 Research Blvd. For more information, call 866-797-4354 or visit CharlesMaundToyota.com.
Sandra Yeyati is the editor of Natural Awakenings Austin.