It’s something Luther Auto has always done, engaged and supported local communities, and that effort now takes a significant turn with the appointment of Matt Oquist as community engagement coordinator.
“He’s here to help us more clearly define the ways we can contribute to our communities and expand the ‘Drive To Serve’ philosophy,” said Luther’s chief financial officer, Barb Hilbert. Oquist was formerly with “Kids Against Hunger” and “Stop Hunger Now,” and served as a key coordinator for Luther Auto’s Drive to Serve food packing events. He also escorted Hilbert and IS Director Brian Kenny on a trip to Haiti to visit food recipients.
Prior to his hunger relief efforts, Oquist was an assistant development director with the Salvation Army, where he witnessed many people in need. Further experience came with Goodwill/Easter Seals. “I worked with people who wanted to change where they were at, not by receiving assistance, but through hard work for their family,” he said. He knows the satisfaction of helping people find employment and dealing with special needs.
Helping people to help themselves
This myriad of experiences has helped Oquist see numerous ways that a for-profit company can help, beyond simply writing a check.
Finding good charitable matches can be a challenge. Some general managers at Luther stores are receiving three to five calls a day with requests for money, explains Oquist. “For the GMs who are getting many requests, we can give them a plan of action and help them find the right partners that may not be calling for money.” When a dealership decides to respond to a request, he urges store leaders to reach out to him.
Part of Oquist’s duties involve coordination of the finer details with charity efforts and events. He can provide the logos, advertisements for programs and other specific needs. He is also part of the planning for the upcoming food packing event, as well. A large focus this year will be collecting food donations for Luther’s local communities. It is scheduled for February 21 to 23.