Day-to-day operations are always a challenge for nonprofits, and for the Halifax Humane Society, serving more than 25,000 animals annually can be “ruff.”
But for several years now, Subaru of Daytona has been the shelter’s best friend––supporting the organization with in-kind and financial contributions and leveraging that support to create advertising campaigns and sales events that engender feel-good sentiments among customers.
“We’re all dog lovers here,” says Larry Kelly Jr., general manager of Subaru of Daytona. “It just made sense for us to partner up with the humane society, considering the overall picture. It not only works for us as our branding, but it’s who we are personally, our passion.”
The Halifax Humane Society is an open-door animal – cats, birds, dogs and more – shelter; approximately 350 animals are housed in kennels and cages per day and they are usually full.
Barry KuKes, community outreach director for the humane society, says Subaru of Daytona has helped out tremendously during the past nine-or-so years they’ve been working together.
“The partnership not only goes along with their overall mission of kindness to animals, but it supports us in a big way,” he notes, including financially with donations and in-kind services and by making folks aware of the shelter through commercials and other promotions at the dealership.
Other support includes help with special events like the Fur Ball as well as the Mutt Strutt on the beach, which KuKes says raised $40,000 at the 2021 event. There are also frequent adoption events, during which animals are placed in pop-up kennels at the dealership and Subaru of Daytona pays the $100 fee for folks to take a pet home.
In addition, the dealership hosts a page on their website with information about the humane society, how folks can adopt and how folks can help out with donations, talents and time.
Kelly says the partnership was on full display when Subaru of Daytona celebrated their grand opening of their new dealership facility on Nov. 23, 2019.
For four hours, activities including food and games were augmented with furry friends available for adoption. A rescue golden retriever, portrayed in Subaru commercials, even made an appearance.
Also, KuKes says, the new dealership is closer than facilities were before.
“Now people who come to the adoption events at the dealership can just walk down the street and come to the shelter to see more animals,” he says.
The efforts have led to the dealership being awarded the 2021 Subaru Love Promise Customer and Community Commitment Award, which is a part of the company’s social responsibility effort. Part of the recognition came for Subaru of Daytona’s engagement with the automakers Subaru Loves Pet initiative, in place since 2008.
Kelly says in order for a partnership to be successful, true interest must be shared in the cause a group is supporting.
“We’re all animal lovers. Animal welfare is something we are all into. Many at the dealership are animal owners, dog owners and owners of shelter dogs,” he says.
In his household, that includes a Chihuahua mix named Thor, a rat terrier/Jack Russell mix named Izzy, a pit bull-and-something-mix named Busch, and a silver Lab named Gracie.
“It’s a win-win for both of us and the public,” KuKes says. “We’ve got the car lovers and the dog lovers. We’re working together on our goals and aspirations.”