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Gearing up a game room, GM Financial-style

GM Financial team members pitch in on a game room makeover for the Ronald McDonald house of Fort Worth.

Asset Remarketing, 2014, GM Financial

In October, members of GM Financial's Specialty Areas group came together to help the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth. Established in 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, finding and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. There are currently 322 Ronald McDonald Houses operating in 52 countries, including one just minutes away from GM Financial's headquarters in downtown Fort Worth. "We'd just recently opened our new expansion," said Angie Gallaway, director of major gifts for the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth. "Part of that expansion included a new game room, and at the time the room didn’t have a theme or décor."

But that soon changed once Dan Heinrich, senior vice president of Remarketing Solutions, and Brandi Sanchez, vice president of Specialty Areas Strategic Initiatives, entered the picture. Both Heinrich and Sanchez are very involved with Ronald McDonald House; Heinrich used to sit on the organization's board, and Sanchez is a current board member.

"Once Dan and Brandi saw the room, it was they who approached us about the possibility of decorating it with a theme," Gallaway continued.

And in true GM Financial fashion, there was only one decorating direction to go – a car theme.

Heinrich got started by reaching out to vendors and auction partners, asking for items that can be used to outfit the room.

"These guys really came through for us," Heinrich said. Auto auctions from around the country sent in license plates from all 50 states, along with other car-related items, and in October, members of the Specialty Areas team spent an entire day transforming the game room.

The event ended up being a much bigger undertaking than initially estimated, Heinrich said. "As eager as we were to get in there and get it all done, it took us all day," he noted. "In addition to our team members, we also had some vendors and professionals volunteer their time, which proved to be absolutely necessary. These professionals' knowledge and skills were a tremendous help."

And in the end, the hard work was well worth the effort.

"The room is fantastic – beyond our wildest expectations and imaginations," Gallaway commented. "Every time we have tours we always make a point to highlight the game room because it looks so wonderful. Children are already enjoying the space, and we're extremely grateful for GM Financial and everything they’ve done to help us."

Even as he worked on it, Heinrich said he didn't expect it to turn out as it did. "It's so amazing, above my expectations," he said. "One of the best things about GM Financial is that it's a company that allows us to take time and give back. Our team members used community service hours to help out with this project, and it's great to be able to say that the company supported it."

"It was a great opportunity for all of us," said Jon Matthews, senior vice president of Specialty Areas. "We have some new leaders in our group, and it was a great opportunity to get to know one another better and learn how to work together on something we don't usually do in our day-to-day jobs. It was also great to see how generous our vendor partners are, and how they stepped up and wanted to help us do a very nice thing for these kids and families. It makes you feel really good that people are willing to take the time and do what they can to help others when they need it."