With support from its network of retailers and marketers, including Illinois-based Graham Enterprise, CITGO is the MDA’s largest corporate sponsor. To date, the petroleum company has collected more than $250 million to support the nonprofit’s efforts. In the last 20 years, GEI alone has raised more than $4 million.
“Graham Enterprise, Inc. is proud of the close working relationship we’ve built with the Muscular Dystrophy Association over more than 20 years,” Brian D. Wente, senior vice president, GEI, said in a press release. “Our employees and loyal customers have always been passionate about giving back, and this fundraising haul is a testament to the generous spirit of everyone in the GEI family.”
Efforts last year included two paper mobile campaigns in which patrons were encouraged to buy, for $1 each, mobiles that were displayed over six weeks at the 36 Graham C-Stores. In addition, the stores throughout the year encouraged customers to round purchases to the nearest dollar, and contribute the overage. All C-Stores also collected monies through MDA donation buckets.
The funds go to the MDA’s research efforts and programs for patients, families, and caregivers in the neuromuscular community. Specifically, they are intended to support the nonprofit’s research grants, resource center, and Care Center Network, which includes medical institutions globally.
They also support the organization’s Summer Camp, which allows children with neuromuscular diseases, ages 8 to 17, to join summer camps across the U.S. without any cost to their families.
During their stay, the campers take part in activities from swimming and zip-lining to horseback riding and dancing. The children have the opportunity to make friends and learn key life skills. GEI has so far funded more than 1,200 MDA campers. And every year, GEI employees who raise the highest totals attend the camp’s “VIP Day,” allowing them to participate in activities and interact with patients.
Over the years, CITGO’s community fundraising efforts have included events such as golf and bowling tournaments, walk-a-thons, raffles, a river cruise, and auctions. CITGO also has joined in the MDA’s Hollywood-themed Passport to a Cure, MDA Muscle Team, and the MDA Toast to Life, as well as the MDA Shamrocks campaign. More than 20,000 businesses nationwide participated in this St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser in 2019. The just-launched 2020 fundraiser is aiming to raise a record$8 million this year.
GEI is one of the nation’s largest branded distributors. Refining industry leader CITGO has about 3,400 employees nationwide. It transports and markets transportation fuels and other industrial products and supplies.
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