A Community-Minded Company

By Michele Dalon

When you picture a car dealership, what comes to mind? A silly, dancing inflatable? A pushy salesman in a checkered sports coat eager to make a quick deal? Some dealerships fit this prevailing stereotype that car buyers have come to expect over the years. But as much as any stereotype finds some basis in truth, they don’t define a group as a whole; car dealers are no exception. One auto dealer in New Orleans is changing this narrative by making a positive impact on its community.

From day one, the Ray Brandt Auto Group has encouraged its employees to embrace the value of philanthropy. The importance of giving back is woven throughout the company’s culture. Sure, they care about finding drivers a vehicle they love, but the heart of the Ray Brandt Auto Group is bettering its community. In fact, a portion of every vehicle sold within the Auto Group is put towards charitable causes.

“Giving to those in need is just part of who we are,” says Jessica Brandt, Ray Brandt Auto Group CEO. She continued, “Whether your passion is education, our youth, individuals with special needs, or a specific health or community challenge… it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we get out there and donate our time and talents!”

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For Brandt, engaging in the community means cultivating strategic partnerships—finding local organizations who are driven to meet the communities’ needs. One such organization is Children’s Hospital New Orleans (CHNOLA), the first and largest free-standing, nonprofit children’s hospital in Louisiana. CHNOLA provides care for children from all 64 parishes in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf South, regardless of a family’s ability to pay for treatment.

Brandt has been a significant contributor to many CHNOLA events, including the Light Up the Season Radiothon, 100 Days of Nursing, the Luxury Car Raffle, and their 40th Annual Sugarplum Ball. This year, the Sugarplum Ball alone raised a record-breaking $1 million+ for the hospital.

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“The Sugarplum Ball was a wonderful way for people in our community to come together and give back. The amount of funds raised through the event is a testament to our community’s unwavering support of Children’s Hospital,” said John R. Nickens IV, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “The continued support of our sponsors, like Mrs. Brandt and the Ray Brandt Auto Group, help to ensure that Children’s Hospital can continue to provide the highest level of care for the children and families of the Gulf South who depend on us.”

In addition to sponsoring events and donating funds, Brandt also serves as a member of the LCMC Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees. “We were thrilled to add Mrs. Brandt to our Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Stephen Hales, MD, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Jessica Brandt has served the New Orleans community in business and philanthropic capacities for many years. She brings her expertise and energy to help lead Children’s Hospital in our vital mission to serve the children of Louisiana and the Gulf South.”

Brandt’s belief in the impact of CHNOLA’s work is the driving force behind her support. “From purchasing new life-saving equipment to purchasing preemie diapers for the NICU, CHNOLA is stepping up and getting the job done, and I feel so blessed to work with such an incredible organization,” said Brandt.

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When asked what her motivation is for getting involved in her community, Brandt said, “I believe that it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place. We all have unique talents and gifts; it’s our duty to share those with others. If we all work together, we can make a real difference in our community.”

The next time you need anything automotive, keep the Ray Brandt Auto Group in mind. You’ll be doing business with honest people committed to making a difference in our community, and that’s something we can all feel good about.


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