Tom Harris was a successful businessman, but he was never interested in just being remembered for building the Harris Auto Group or Tom Harris Cellular.
“He was a big family guy, and always focused on giving back,” says Sam Bahre, Regional Manager for Tom Harris Cellular and member of the Fund for Families Committee. “Philanthropy has always been at the centre of the organization, and we’ve continued to celebrate that legacy.”
Harris passed away unexpectedly in 2017, but the Fund for Families is still going strong, with a continued focus on children from families in need. In 2018 the committee reached out to the YMCA and asked them a simple question: what’s your biggest challenge?
“They told us that about 1000 kids had signed up for camp, but only about 700 had funding. That meant 300 kids weren’t going to be able to go. So the Fund for Families Committee said, ‘How about we save the day?’” Bahre says.
That year employees of Tom Harris Cellular across the province raised funds with barbecues, bottle drives and even ‘Fly for Families,’ where eight employees in three cities raised over $10,000 by going skydiving. Their efforts, combined with contributions from customers and corporate sponsors, meant that all 300 of those kids got to go to camp.
Move for Families this summer
The Funds for Families Committee kept in contact with the YMCA, YWCA and other local nonprofits throughout the pandemic, and has continued to ask what these charities need most. Summer camps and other events may or may not happen, depending on current health protocols, but all of these charities have contingency plans in place for virtual programming. What the pandemic has hurt more, is their local fundraising efforts. So Tom Harris Cellular is stepping up.
“Throughout the pandemic our movements have been restricted, so we chose the theme ‘Move for Families’ to inspire people to get moving again,” Bahre says. “We’re committed to raising $50,000 this year, with the effort of at least 100 employees.”
Tom Harris Cellular shops will be hosting fun movement challenges throughout the summer, including pushup, biking, jump rope and TikTok dance challenges. Employee groups will also organize creative grassroots fundraisers like bottle drives and garage sales.
“We’ve divided the company into five teams with captains and cheer squads and will be running fun challenges all summer for employees, friends, families and customers. We’re a pretty competitive, youthful company, so it should be lots of fun!” Bahre says. “I’m feeling confident we’ll be able to reach our goal of $50,000.”
Help BC youth get moving this summer by contributing to the Move for Families campaign at tomharris.com/fundforfamilies! Keep an eye on the Tom Harris Cellular Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find out about fun challenges happening in your area throughout July and August.