Franchise Philanthropy September/October 2017

Franchising Gives Back: I Wish To…

For the team at Clintar Landscape Management, giving back to the community has always been an important part of the job, and a defining value for the company since it opened for business in 1973.

“It’s embedded in our culture,” says Terry Nicholson, Clintar’s Vice President of Operations. “So many of our franchisees give back because that’s the way things have always been done here.”

The commercial and corporate landscape business is not just known for its impeccable year-round maintenance services. For more than 40 years, Clintar franchisees across the country have made it a habit to get involved in the towns and cities where they reside, and encouragement from head office is a big reason why.

“Whether it’s volunteering time or sponsoring sports teams or various hospital foundations, we ask employees to participate any way they can,” Nicholson says.

And while upper management never shies away from supporting franchise partners who give back locally, Clintar’s President and CEO Steve Sinodinos was eager to get employees contributing to a national cause when he joined the company in 2015.

“When Steve came on board, he was already aware of wish granting by Make-A-Wish Canada,” says Kimberly Khoury, Clintar’s Client Service Director. “Once we learned more about the Foundation and the amazing work they were doing for children and their families, it just made sense for us here at Clintar to get involved. Plus, with Make-A-Wish operating across Canada, it provides an opportunity to reach more franchisees across the Clintar franchise system, so we can support with as many wishes as possible.”

A world-renowned charity, Make-A-Wish famously grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. “Our goal is to create joy during a time of incredible stress,” says Chris Pon, Vice President of National Alliances and Brand at Make-A-Wish Canada. “We want to give hope to children and their families.”

And hope is exactly what children feel after one of their wishes is granted. The Foundation recently conducted a study with former wish children who are now healthy adults, and the results were astounding. Just over 70 per cent of respondents said they believe their wish contributed to saving their lives, while 97 per cent said their wish improved their mental health at the time.

Pon says wishes usually fall into one of four categories: I wish to go, I wish to have, I wish to meet, or I wish to be. When a wish is granted, the organization “makes it unique, personal, and free from any financial obligation on the part of the families.”

Make-A-Wish officially came to Canada in 1983 after three years operating stateside. In the 34 years since, more than 6,800 Canadian wishes have been granted, and Make-A-Wish chapters have opened across the country, from the Yukon to Nova Scotia.

Since partnering with the Foundation in 2016, Nicholson and Khoury say they have seen widespread franchise support. “Our franchisees don’t just donate money, they show their support at their locations.”

Pon says simple acts that bring awareness to the organization don’t go unnoticed by Make-A-Wish Canada. “Each franchisee has the opportunity to be the voice of Make-A-Wish in their community, and every contribution makes a difference,” he says. “Supporters like Clintar make our mission possible.”

Clintar uses a combination of customer, employee, and franchise engagement to contribute to Make-A-Wish. And while donations are raised in various ways, it’s Clintar’s 50/50 raffle that has been the most popular initiative team members have gotten behind. Half the money raised for the company-wide raffle draw goes towards granting a wish, with corporate matching the total amount before names are drawn.

In addition to monetary contributions, Nicholson and Khoury are quick to recognize the franchisees and their employees who get involved simply by donating their time volunteering with Make-A-Wish. Franchise partners have even been known to use their professional services to redesign backyards for Make-A-Wish children who wished to have an accessible playground in their backyard.

For the time being, Clintar is moving full steam ahead with its Make-A-Wish partnership, and has committed to supporting the charity for the foreseeable future. “It’s all about giving,” Khoury says. “Helping families that are struggling, and supporting them is important to all of us here at Clintar!”

By Kristin Di Tommaso

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