Sweeney Presents $32K Donation to United Way

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Staff members of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC presented a $32,800 check to the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley Monday morning, which “far exceeded” expectations, said Bob Hannon, president of United Way.

This is the second time Sweeney selected United Way as a result of its Operation Santa campaign, Hannon said. The money will be used toward United Way’s general campaign and will support after school programs in the Mahoning Valley, he said.

“We have about 900 children in our after-school work, so a lot of the dollars raised here today will go toward that,” Hannon said. “There’s a lot of good nonprofits and charities out there [Sweeney] could pick, so we’re overwhelmed they decided United Way was worthy.”

With the closing of the former General Motors Lordstown plant, it’s important to find more people being creative and willing to step up for United Way, Hannon said. Sweeney choosing the months of November and December to raise money for its Operation Santa campaign makes the donation a “neat gift” because the recipients will be receiving significant dollars, he said.

Operation Santa ties into the dealership’s busiest time of year in November and December, said Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president of Sweeney. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, Sweeney donated $50 from every new Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicle sold to United Way in recognition of the organization’s centennial celebration.

Every year, the staff at Sweeney chooses one or two charities to receive the donations. Past recipients include the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley and The Salvation Army, Blackann said. Since 2013, Sweeney has donated more than $155,000 from Operation Santa to local charities.

“They support us annually with a corporate gift, Alexa and Doug [Sweeney] give personally, their employees give annually,” Hannon said. “They’re there for us all year-round.”

Bobby Stackhouse, partner and general manager, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, and Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president, Sweeney Chevrolet, present the donation to Bob Hannon, president, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, and Stacia Erdos, vice president of strategic planning, United Way.

Over the holiday season, Sweeney ran commercials promoting the campaign, which helped create awareness about United Way and what the organization does in the Mahoning Valley, Hannon said. Apart from Operation Santa, Sweeney supports United Way all year-round, he said.

“We try to make a difference on poverty,” Sweeney Blackann said. “That’s our No. 1 driver for how we select [recipients] and it seems like we always pick one that’s really on the ground trying to make a difference.”

Giving back is an important part of Sweeney’s corporate culture, and the dealership’s staff tries to stay as engaged with the community as much as possible because the community drives them, Sweeney Blackann said. The community has supported Sweeney for 100 years and they feel that sense of responsibility to give back, she said.

Sweeney will open its new Buick GMC store this year and will be celebrating its centennial year in 2020 and 2021.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.