Drawing from a 40-year tradition of “giving back to the industry,” SEMA has established the SEMA Cares Committee. The new group will be charged with identifying and creating additional opportunities for its members to enrich the lives of children nationwide.
“SEMA members have a long history of giving back to our communities by assisting children and families who require a helping hand,” said Joel Ayres, who will be serving as the SEMA Cares Committee Chairman. “The SEMA Cares Committee will allow us to be even more effective, as we work as a collective group and pool our resources.”
For nearly two decades, SEMA members have been actively donating money to support charitable causes and the association has held various fundraisers. In recent years, SEMA and its members have raised money to benefit organizations such as Childhelp, whose mission is to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction Gang Camp, an organization that enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.
Just last year, SEMA introduced a new component into its popular Installation Banquet, which now consists of an evening gala celebration and fundraiser. Among the goals of the SEMA Cares Committee will be to establish an even higher goal of charitable activity by creating new opportunities for SEMA members to give back through more events and to identify new charities to support.
The SEMA Cares Committee will be chaired by Ayres, a former SEMA Board member and national marketing director of the Leer Division, Truck Accessories Group (TAG) Inc. Ayres also is the former liaison to the Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (TORA) Select Committee and chairs the committee to establish a permanent SEMA Hall of Fame and History exhibit. His passion for childrens' charities goes back two decades when he founded Big Brothers of Northeastern Indiana and became the first chairman of the board at just 21 years old. Since then, he has volunteered for numerous other childrens' charities including: Sacramento Sutter Hospital Child Care Unit and Heartgallery.
In additional to the philanthropic efforts supported by SEMA Cares, the association also provides assistance to students studying for careers in the industry through the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the association provides support to at-risk employees and families through the Aftermarket Foundation.