Over 40 Hyundai dealerships from coast-to-coast have answered the call to address youth homelessness, donating over $100,000 to 360ºkids in support of the organization’s ninth annual 360ºExperience fundraiser in Newmarket, Ontario.
During the event, participants spend a winter’s night outside experiencing the realities youth face every day on the streets, with all proceeds going to 360ºkids’ support programming for at-risk and homeless youth. 360ºkids’ vision is that every child has access to a safe home, and its mission is to help youth overcome crisis, and transition to a state of safety and stability. For the past two years, Hyundai Canada has worked closely with the organization in various charitable capacities to support local communities.
The 360ºExperience is 360ºkids’ signature fundraising event and this year’s goal was to raise $150,000. Due to COVID-19, the event took place both virtually and in-person on March 3, with virtual participants each raising a minimum of $100 and in-person participants each raising a minimum of $2,000 to participate. This year, Hyundai dealerships from across the country came together to donate over $100,000 in support of this impactful initiative. Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada, and Kirk Merrett, director of human resources, were also among the 360ºExperience in-person participants. Merrett is on the Board of Directors for 360ºkids, having been involved with the organization for the past two years.
“Giving back to our communities is paramount for us at Go Auto, and as we look towards the next generation, we are specifically focused on organizations supporting children and youth,” said Duncan Cochrane, senior vice president, marketing and software at Go Auto. “Don Romano and Kirk Merrett raising awareness about youth homelessness is an initiative that mirrors our own core values, and so we are pleased to play a part and help combat this terrible issue.”
“I am so proud of the efforts of our dealers in making this fundraising initiative a success,” said Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Canada. “360ºkids does important work that is truly life changing for the youth they serve. We are thrilled to be making this donation and humbled to be supporting an organization that creates such a tangible impact for youth in Canada.”
Each year, 360ºkids serves anywhere from 1,488 – 3,500 youth from the York Region municipalities through a variety of programs. On any given night, there are over 300 youth in York Region without a safe place to sleep, an issue that has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organization helps kids in crisis with housing, employment, food security, counselling, education support and more, giving youth the skills and resources to stand on their own two feet.
“360°kids is extremely grateful for the unbelievable support of this year’s 360°Experience by Team Hyundai Canada. They’ve done what no other organization has with this event, in terms of engagement and fundraising – a model for other organizations to follow to address such an important and often overlooked issue of youth homelessness,” said Clovis Grant, CEO of 360°kids.” I am very thankful to Hyundai Canada for helping to shed light on this need and right this wrong in our community. For a young person, being on the streets means loneliness, fear, stress, anxiety and many dreams unfulfilled. Funds raised through the 360°Experience helps 360°kids bring hope to these young people by providing them with critical supports, to help them know that their lives really do matter.”