In Washoe County, local companies find value in giving to nonprofits

Total giving to charitable organizations was $373.25 billion in inflation adjusted dollars for 2015 up from $358.38 in 2014, according the website, Last year was the sixth straight year that giving has increased in record-setting fashion.

While those figures may be lofty, companies have found a variety of ways to not only give monetary donations, but also to assist nonprofits in other ways.

In Washoe County alone, several companies are giving back to the community.

Mena Spodobalski, who owns and operates Evoke Fitness with her husband Rob, has found several ways to give to local nonprofits.

The company provides support for many area youth groups, including the Reno chapter of Koinonia Family Services, a nonprofit that assists abused and neglected children of all ages. The Spodobalskis provide free physical education classes for youth within the program because, she says, many of the children don’t have access to public education and regular physical activity.

Evoke provides activities such as yoga or boot camp, where they not only have physical activity, but learn life skills.

“A lot of people have told me they see a lot of transformations in the kids, both physically and emotionally,” Mena Spodobalski said.

Evoke also sponsors other charities, including a “Breast Cancer 2 Bikini” fitness program and event for women recovering from breast cancer treatments.

Spodobalski adds that Evoke often get solicitations from many nonprofits. While they try to help out whenever they can, Spodobalski says with their limited time and resources, they sometimes have to be choosy.

“We try to get things done more in the small places that are in desperate need,” she said.

The Dolan Auto Group, founded by Tom Dolan and now run by his sons Brady and Ryan Dolan, has long prided itself on giving back to the community, as a part of its organization.

“We believe in giving back to the community that has been so good us,” said Brady Dolan, who serves as general manager.

The elder Dolan has served on various nonprofit such as board s for Catholic Communities and the Ronald McDonald House.

The Dolans also have other programs including a donation program where area schools of all levels can be nominated and voted for a donation via social media such as Facebook or Instagram.

Brady Dolan says giving back to schools is a big part of its company’s charitable contributions, particular those for children.

“My mom was a special education teacher, so that’s one area where we’ve been most involved,” Brady Dolan said.

The company receives many inquiries from nonprofits, and try to give as much as possible.

All told, Dolan Auto Group donated about $2 million to local organizations in 2015 alone.

Some of the top contributions Dolan has made include:

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada-St. Vincent’s Dining Room-$50,000 (2015-2016)

Bishop Manogue Catholic High School-$30,000 (2015-2016)

High Fives Foundation $20,000 (2015-2016)

Washoe County School District- about $155,000 (2013-present)

Ronald McDonald $30,000 (2015-2016)

Save the Pyramid $30,000 (2016)

American Heart Association $10,000 (2015-2016)

Drone America, an unmanned systems firm based Reno, has practically made community service a part of its business model. The company, headed by president and CEO, Mike Richards, has used its drone systems for various nonprofit organizations, such as search and rescue operations, as well as anti-poaching and environmental organizations.

“We are involved in search and rescue, disaster relief, wildlife monitoring and investing our time in the community and bring in great people to work with us,” Richards said. “We do (search and rescue) not only to help people, but to understand the capabilities of the machines themselves.”

Richards said the company is trying to get funding and human resources together to use drones as a benefit for search and rescue operations, including searching for Alzheimer’s patients.

Matt Clafton, who serves as vice president and general manager for Alston Construction, says the company donates its time to various charities, including the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation.

“Our goal is to give support for children and their families during some challenging times,” Clafton said.

While he is particularly passionate about children’s charities, he also is involved in youth sports. Clafton, a former linebacker on the football team at the University of Nevada, Reno, feels sports teach many core values that can be translated to life situations.

He adds that the company encourages its employees to get involved with charitable organization.

Spodobalski, who has eight personal trainers at Evoke Fitness, all of whom are independent contractors, asks for there assistance sometimes a charitable cause. Many companies feel it is a great way to boost morale within an organization.

Employee morale is cited as one of the big benefits of giving to charity for businesses. In an July 2013 article by the site, mentioned other long-term benefits of giving such as a boost to public relations, reputation and of course profit. The site adds the a positive perception influences branding and eventually purchasing from consumers.


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