The Gresham Ford Philosophy
Owner and General Manager, Bess Wills is not your typical Car Dealer.
Every business has a beginning, and this is where you talk about yours. People want to know what opportunity you saw or how your passion led to the creation of something new. Talk about your roots–people wanna know you have some. When Bess Wills took over operations at Gresham Ford in 2003, she was amazed at the warmth of the people and the eagerness with which the local community accepted an “outsider” from California.
Bess fell in love with the people of the city and began a crusade to help improve lives in her new home. She soon realized the needs were much greater than one person could impact so she started Contribute to the Community as a catalyst to inspire others to get involved.
Bess began devoting entire weeks of radio and print advertising to champion specific charities she recognized as being particularly effective at meeting basic human needs. By soliciting contributions in her ads and offering to make a donation in the customer’s name to the charity of their choice ($100 for each new or used vehicle sold, and 10% on all service work, parts and labor), more than a million dollars has been raised for hundreds of charities!
The employees of Gresham Ford banded together and started donating a portion of their pay to a fund to help individuals and organizations the employees choose. The employee fund has helped pay for such things as medical expenses for children with cancer and vehicle repairs for a family struggling to make a fresh start after being homeless.
Other business owners in the city saw the impact she was having and started offering similar donation programs.
Charities Helped by the Contribute to the Community Program
Abundant Grace Fellowship
Abundant Life Church
Adventist Medical Foundation
American Cancer Society
Ascension Lutheran Church
American Diabetes Association
American Legion Post #150
Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Barlow Equestrian Team
Bethany House Inc
Beyond the Reef
Camas Church of the Nazarene
Cascade Locks Community Church
Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts
Grace Community Church
Christian Lutheran International
Christ the Vine Lutheran Church
Clinton Street Bible Chapel
Columbia Christian School
Conservative Christian Fellowship
Covenant Hood River
Cross Creek Bible Church
Crossroads Christian School
Crossroads Community Church
Damascus Community Church
DFW New Beginnings
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
East County Church of Christ
East Hill Church
Filipino Outreach International, Inc
Every week Gresham Ford is actively involved in events such as collecting cell phones so soldiers overseas can talk with their families, concerts to raise funds for mammogram screenings for women who can’t afford them, and a recent food drive that raised more than 700,000 pounds of food to feed families recently unemployed.
Annually, Gresham Ford contributes around 3,000 man-hours helping people.