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Importance of Community Drives Giving

Apr 19, 2023 | Newsletter

When you walk into any large space at Williams Toyota in Elmira, it is hard to miss what Vice President Dalton Williams calls “the guiding light we revisit daily.”

It’s a poster-sized list of what Dalton refers to as the Playbook — a set of rules the company, as well as other businesses run by the Williams family, use as a guide for how they work and live.

And it is not a coincidence that the list is topped by community.

Community is what informs the philanthropic spirit. Dalton says it comes from his grandparents and continues through the family and its business operations.

“Giving is always within us and our spirit, dating back to when the companies were started by my grandparents in 1956,” Dalton adds. “As a collective in the family and the businesses, we think about what we can do.

That generosity extends to approximately 250 groups and organizations, including the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Through Williams Toyota and Dandy Mini-Marts, Williams-owned businesses are helping to fund two of the Food Bank’s strategic projects.

Dalton sees the missions of the companies as perfectly aligned with those of the Food Bank.

“The Food Bank does a fantastic job of supporting a huge need,” he says. “During COVID, we got inspired around hearing about the millions of pounds of food distributed and thought, we’ve got to get behind this.

One program, in particular, fits Williams’ mission as well.

“The BackPack Program strikes a chord,” Dalton says. “Fundamentally, we support a lot of youth initiatives. Our mission is to inspire the next generation, and it’s a lot harder to be inspired when you’re worried about your next meal.”

Dalton is mainly inspired by the giving spirit of his employees.

“We hear people who could work anywhere say they want to work for us to be part of a giving organization,” he adds. “We love that. We give without an expectation to receive. So many of our people volunteer and give in other ways.

“For all of us, it’s not just cutting checks but also inspiring the community. It’s powerful when you know that anything you give will help so much.”