Supporting a Cause

"Small enough to do...Large enough to make a difference.” That is one of the dimensions Cinnabon CEO Kat Cole, who spoke during The NATSO Show 2014, suggested we apply when eval­uating which charities to support.

It’s that time of year when we need to re­view charities we’ve each supported in 2014 to evaluate their worthiness of our support in 2015. In evaluating the groups we give to, Charity Navigator and others suggest we ask: “Does the charity actually do those things that it tells you about in its solicita­tions? Does the charity clearly explain what problem it intends to address and how it will do so? Has the charity’s approach been reviewed or written about by an objective third party? Does the charity receive feed­back from its constituents (those people it serves, such as clients, consumers, benefi­ciaries, etc.) and use it to improve the qual­ity of services? And, does the organization have an independent third party formally evaluate their efforts with some regularity (at least every five years) and make those results publically available?”

There are a number of worthy charities out there. For years I’ve thrown my support behind The NATSO Foundation. Every year the foundation provides a variety of programs and products that support those within our industry, including industry research, the McLane/NATSO Founda­tion Travel Center Index and Biz Brief. One of the longest running foundation programs—the Bill Moon Scholarship program—awards industry scholarships to travel plaza employees and their depen­dents each year under. Another important program is the Disaster Relief Fund, which was designed to support people within the truckstop and travel plaza community in need during an emergency, such as Super­storm Sandy. Learn more about the foun­dation and make a contribution at http://

The St. Christopher Truckers Develop­ment and Relief Fund (SCF) is another charity that we at Coffee Cup Travel Plaza supported in 2014 and plan to continue supporting into the future. The St. Chris­topher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF) is a 501(c)(3), truck driver charity that helps drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. The SCF is also working to provide pro­grams that will benefit professional drivers and the trucking industry.

For us, this charity became more person­al. When we became aware of a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based owner-operator friend and customer’s continued medical needs, we contacted SCF. After only three tele­phone conservations with Shannon Carrier of SCF, additional assistance was directed to the customer, helping him meet his imme­diate needs. Furthermore, after reviewing St. Christopher Fund’s recipient testimoni­als and levels of sponsorship available, I feel that SCF is ‘Small enough to do…Large enough to make a difference’ and, if you look at it, I think you will too. For more in­formation on SCF, send a letter to P.O. Box 30763, Knoxville, TN, 37930, call 865- 202-9428, fax to 865-851-8396, or send an email to

As you review the charities you plan to support in the year ahead, I encour­age you to consider supporting these organizations that are doing so much to support our industry and out primary customer base.

Tom Heinz's photo

Tom Heinz

Tom Heinz is President of Heinz, Inc. and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops & Convenience Stores, Inc. Tom’s thirty-seven year business career has been in different segments of the petroleum industry. Tom’s primary business and day job began 31 years ago as co-founder/owner of Coffee Cup Fuel Stops Tom received the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Science in Human Resources, and Master of Business Administration from Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota. Presently, Tom serves on the University of South Dakota Foundation Board of Directors, Vermillion, South Dakota, NATSO Foundation Board of Directors, Alexandria, VA, Dakota Hospital Board of Directors, Vermillion, SD., and is a member of David Nelson Petroleum Marketers 300 Study Group.More
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