RENO, Nev. — Back in 1984, when Tom Dolan became the sole owner of Reno Toyota, he wanted to lead a company that focused on much more than selling cars.
Simply put, Dolan, a University of Nevada, Reno graduate, was driven to give back to the community that gave him his education, his new business and a place for his family to call home.
More than 30 years later, Dolan Auto Group — winners of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Best in Business “Most Philanthropic: Community Give-Back” award — hasn’t slowed down its philanthropic drive.
Tom Dolan’s eldest son, Ryan Dolan, current CEO of Dolan Auto Group, saw how important community involvement was to his father from the moment he started learning the ropes of the business some 17 years ago upon graduating from Arizona State University.
“This has been a mission of my father for years, ever since he took over the store,” Ryan Dolan, seated behind his office desk at Dolan Toyota on Kietzke Lane in Reno, said with a smile. “He always wanted to give back to the community, and he’s always challenged my brother (Brady Dolan, the company’s general manager) and I to continue that legacy and to continue giving back. And just continue in keeping the community strong.”
In doing so, Dolan Auto Group does everything from sponsoring special events to supporting children’s education. The latter, Dolan said, is a special point of emphasis for the Reno-based company.
In fact, as part of its annual Dolan Class Project, the auto group rewards $60,000 to 12 area schools — with four elementary, four middle and four high school classrooms receiving $5,000 apiece — that organized and executed a community outreach program.
In other words, Dolan Auto Group strives to forge future philanthropists.
“It’s just important that all aspects of the community strive to get better, and we focus a lot of ours on children and education, and teaching them to give back,” Dolan said. “We want people coming back here and hopefully some day giving back to the community and being successful in life. Hopefully we can instill that mindset in the next generation.”
Additionally, Dolan Auto Group gives to a host of charities, including the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center, the Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and the St. Vincent’s Programs, the Ronald McDonald House, and the High Fives Foundation, among others.
“All of them are centered in the community and we’d like to make sure that the money that we give stays in Washoe County and the surrounding areas,” Dolan said. “We want to give back to the community because it’s done so much for us. We believe in it, we were born and raised here as kids, my dad went to the University of Nevada (Reno), which got us here, and we know how important a strong community is. Not only for our family, but for a business — it makes a community what it is.”
Dolan feels harnessing that charitable attitude is especially important now as Reno, and Northern Nevada as a whole, continues to grow, what with tech giants like Tesla, Switch, Apple and Google planting their flags in the Biggest Little City.
“It’s growing very fast right now, which is scary for some, I think,” Dolan said. “But I think certain businesses and certain leaders in this community can keep that small-town feel, which will be very beneficial for us.”
Pausing, Dolan added: “I think people stay grounded in Northern Nevada; it’s a nice place to grow.”