ST. MARYS - Stoltz Family Dealerships is again conducting a voter-driven giveaway to area charities this year, and the company is also increasing the amount of money to be donated.
In celebration of the automobile sales and service company's 26 years of doing business with the region’s communities, Stoltz plans to give away $26,000. Last year, it gave $25,000 in celebration of 25 years of service.
Co-owner Steve Stoltz said last year's contest proved to be "very popular."
"And it's more popular this year because last year people didn't know about it as much. So since they didn't know about it, a lot of people didn't understand, they didn't want to come in and vote," Stoltz said.
He said residents may stop in at one of the five Stoltz Family Dealerships locations in Elk, Clearfield, and Potter counties to cast a ballot for their favorite local charity; each voter may vote once at each dealership location. Any nonprofit organization with a current 501 (c) (3) status in the counties in which Stoltz has locations is eligible to get a vote, and those who receive the most votes will receive a portion of the funds. Voting ends on Aug. 15. The funds will be distributed to the winning charities sometime in September.
Stoltz said last year's winners from Elk County were Crystal Fire Department, Dickinson Center, Inc., Oak Manor, Literacy Express, Elk County Humane Society, the now-defunct Letters from Home, LIFT (Life and Independence for Today), and CAPSEA (Citizens Against Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse). He said members of his family-owned business feel strongly about the communities they serve and understand the important role area charitable organizations play in sustaining those communities.
"It was about two years ago that all those places in Pennsylvania got all those cutbacks-- the libraries and everybody that was getting money from the state, it seemed like they were getting less. I know CAPSEA, they had a big cutback in the amount of money they were getting from the state. LIFT had a big cutback," Stoltz said. "And anybody on that list, they've all had cutbacks in the last few years as far as government funding that they get. So $1,000 means a lot to them. And if you talk to some of the people who got the money last year, for some of the small places especially, that's a big boost for them."
He said company officials and employees thought the best way to distribute the funds was to "let the people decide, rather than us decide."
"It just made sense. We figure $1,000 is enough that it can really help somebody. If you give somebody $1,000, that's a big boost for their organization," he said.
Pick up a copy of the Saturday, July 28, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.