Community Impact Awards: Charles Barker Automotive
By Susan Haas
1877 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach
Number of Employees: 18+
In addition to earning a reputation as one of the most successful automobile dealerships in Coastal Virginia, Charles Barker and its employees are committed to giving back to the community that has served them so well. This is best demonstrated with their nonprofit organization, Champions for Kids. The organization, founded in 1994, gives back to the community by facilitating and hosting fundraising events throughout the year designed to benefit children throughout Coastal Virginia. Charles Barker Champions for Kids is committed to the belief that the future of our community is dependent on the physical, emotional and educational wellbeing of our youth. Their mission is to raise funds in support of community programs, education and scholarships for local youth.
Barker is also co-founder of “An Achievable Dream,” a K–5 school for underprivileged children whose families are socially and economically challenged. “Our mission is to provide not just academic skills but also social skills,” Barker says. “Some of these children live 2 miles from the beach yet have never seen the ocean. Our goal is to help them, along with their families, and use these schools as a platform and springboard to prepare children for a bright future.”
Charles Barker employees share in the company’s “giving back” philosophy and dedicate their time and resources to volunteerism, providing immeasurable support to the success of community programs. Understanding that there is strength in numbers, employees and their teams are permitted—and encouraged—to work on various charitable projects during normal work schedules. Barker is quick to credit his mentors and employees on the foundation’s success. “I remember one of my earliest mentors, Josh Darden, a pillar within the community, whose motto was, “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit, as long as the goal is accomplished. I share in that philosophy as well,” Barker says. “It takes a village, not just one person. I am extremely proud of the efforts of my employees toward this foundation. Their commitment, dedication and ‘whatever it takes’ mentality to make a difference in the lives of our children and their families is something I admire every day. They’re the backbone of this foundation that makes it possible for us to truly change lives.”
Additionally, Charles Barker employees pledge a portion of their pay each year to the foundation, which does not charge administration fees. Therefore, all proceeds go toward programs in the areas of counseling for teens, drug and alcohol awareness, educational scholarships and community mentorship programs. Their company goal and mission are to resource and assist the many local organizations dedicated to making a deep and sustaining difference in the lives of our children.
To our company, community impact looks like proper funding and personal commitment to ensure that every Hampton Roads child and their families have a safe place to live, healthy nutrition, quality health services and worthwhile education with mentoring to become healthy and successful adults.