First ARA Foundation joint Community Impact project set for Cleveland

Jun. 06, 2021

The new Community Impact program, a joint effort of the ARA Foundation and The Toro Company Foundation, will launch Wednesday, June 16, at the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio’s Broadway Club in Cleveland. With time slots still available, this project will allow those in the Ohio rental industry not only to give back to their community but also build public awareness and demonstrate the advantages of rental.

This new program involves both foundations partnering with local nonprofit organizations to coordinate community service projects across the country. Four such projects are planned for this year and will involve the collaboration of American Rental Association (ARA) members, ARA state associations, and Toro and Ditch Witch representatives in each of the select locations who will source donations and volunteers to work on the project.

Scott Pevey, senior manager, marketing, Ditch Witch, Perry, Okla., and ARA Associate Member director, presented the original idea to both foundations because he saw this “as a unique opportunity that aligned with the missions of both foundations,” he says.

“Both are nonprofit associations that will be helping other local nonprofit organizations by conducting community enhancement events in each of the 10 ARA regions over the next two years. And both associations are very much alike as they share very similar missions, values and cultures. Another important ingredient in this partnership is the people at the ARA, The Toro Co. and Ditch Witch. Everyone involved at each organization cares about serving the communities in which they live, work and raise their families. The Community Impact program will leverage the talents and resources of these two groups to engage rental members and promote the rental industry through important community-enhancement projects,” he says.

As soon as she heard the idea, Marcy Johnson, ARA Foundation executive director, thought it would be a perfect fit.

“It just seemed to make a lot of sense. Together we can make an even bigger impact to the local communities in which these projects occur,” she says.

Judson McNeil, president, The Toro Company Foundation, agrees. “One of the things that was so exciting about the ARA Foundation and the Toro Company Foundation coming together is that we were going to be able to bring together the assets of who we are as organizations as well as members of ARA and The Toro Co. This project would provide local visibility of members and, ultimately, leave a lasting connection with the nonprofits that we work with,” she says.

The Broadway Club of the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio was identified as an excellent opportunity because it serves so many in the community — an average daily attendance of nearly 800 youth, ages six to 18. It offers robust outdoor and horticulture programs for the youth to engage with and experience nature through a variety of hands-on, interactive and fun program opportunities. It also has a baseball field that is ready to be put in full use once it can be enhanced with the proper equipment from the rental industry and volunteer assistance by those who offer that equipment for rent.

“Because of the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club had been pretty much shut down last year. It needed some TLC to get it back up and running. That is exactly what we plan to do,” Johnson says.

The baseball field is the first project to be tackled. “We are working with a contractor on that because it is too big a project for us to do in a day. The contractor will do the prep work before we get there. We will help refurbish the field, spread the dirt, grade the infield and work on the outfield. We also will work on the children’s garden and clean up some of the landscaping around the building, which the kids will maintain going forward,” Johnson says.

This project “has a need for our compact utility loaders and stand-on skid steers,” McNeil says. “We will be bringing in some units to do grading, leveling and cultivating. While this project has the need for people to operate the equipment to get the job done, there also is a need for volunteers to do everything from pushing a wheelbarrow to digging a hole for planting a plant. We will have opportunities for everyone. All abilities are welcome.”

Board members of the ARA of Ohio immediately jumped on board with this project — even sponsoring lunch for all who take part that day.

“This project seemed like a good fit for our state association and for each of us individually. It will offer great exposure for something that is in line with what our members offer: quality equipment and knowledgeable people,” says Dan Fielitz, president, General Rent-All, Massillon, Ohio, and ARA of Ohio president.

The project also will allow those in the area to see how rental equipment can be utilized to help the community. “One of the main themes we have at General Rent-All is ‘Our role is to HELP.’ This is a great chance to demonstrate our members' familiarity, knowledge and experience with what we carry every day at our local rental yard and show how our equipment can make a positive difference in the lives of our customers and the entire community,” he says.

Those in the Ohio rental industry still have time to take part, either by donating equipment or offering volunteer time that day.

“ARA members have an opportunity to be part of something new and share the values of who they are as people and as members of ARA. They can volunteer and use the assets of their rental stores to make a positive difference to the Boys & Girls Club,” McNeil says.

To volunteer, click here.

For more information, contact April Kleckner, ARA Foundation program manager, at 800-334-2177, ext. 234.

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