Reciprocity Road, an industry buying group, has kicked off its BrandGood Giveback Contest by selecting the first recipient of its philanthropic initiative. BrandGood empowers employees at Reciprocity companies to support the nonprofit causes they care about. Each quarter, BrandGood Ambassadors from each Reciprocity Road distributorship evaluate submissions of stories and photos by their fellow “Roadies” and choose one to receive $500 for the cause it represents.

For the first quarter contest, 10 submissions were considered. The winning selection, Autism Speaks, was submitted from Cathy Dorazio of Zagwear. The 501c3 nonprofit organization will be presented with a $500 check.

“The BrandGood Ambassadors are the big-hearted doers of the community work Reciprocity Road is committed to supporting,” says Danny Rosin, CAS, of Brand Fuel, a member of Reciprocity Road. “It is such a powerful feeling to watch what would typically be a scenario with companies competing, become a team effort with a focus on using our collective distributor businesses/brands as a force for good. We hope the cause-related work we are doing, such as 1.5 percent of all rebates going to nonprofits, will inspire the rest of the industry to introduce similar efforts. I’m reminded of the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'”

Speaking on what the gift means to her and Autism Speaks, Dorazio says, “This gift brings me joy knowing that it will go towards a cause to help families in need manage the disability, offering support, strategies, resources, education, research and much more. I was recently asked by a new friend if my son has autism. I honestly couldn’t answer the question. Technically, the answer is ‘yes,’ but I see AJ, my son, as making tremendous strides and becoming an active member of our community. It means the world to me to give other parents hope to know that, with early autism intervention, anything is possible.”

Dorazio specifically requested the money go towards the organization’s family services initiative, Autism Speaks Care Program, which focuses on helping with therapy services and catastrophic life events geared towards underprivileged families. The grant program helps families cover costs associated with the critical expenses related to the well-being of their family member with autism on a case-by-case basis.

“I think the BrandGood Initiative is a great way to get involved on so many levels by incorporating what we do best in our careers, while aiming to bring awareness to grander causes,” says Dorazio. “It gives us an opportunity to feel good about what we do daily knowing that we have the power to not only provide excellent service to our clients but to also give back to our communities.”

Jena Schneider, senior director of field development at Autism Speaks, says, “Autism Speaks is grateful for Zagwear and Reciprocity Road’s support. This donation will help Autism Speaks to enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.”