In 1987, Ken Schnitzer founded Park Place Motorcars on Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas, Texas, on the philosophy that excellence is a mission, and not a destination. 30 years have passed, and Park Place Dealerships has not only expanded to 16 full service dealerships, but we have successfully maintained a ceaseless commitment to client service excellence by providing the first-class treatment that is uniquely associated with the Park Place experience.
As the organization grew, so did the connection to the community in which it lived, and as a result, Park Place Dealerships also expanded their dedicated time and resources for the continuous betterment of their neighbors.
This vision of a thriving community has evolved over the past three decades to now include hundreds of meaningful partnerships and millions of dollars raised to create a positive impact on the local community. Park Place advocates a culture of philanthropy instilled in each member from our top leadership of Ken Schnitzer, Neil Grossman, Jordan Case, and Sherry Miller; to Anam Ali and Liz Shafton who execute all dealer sponsorship and community events, and finally, touching all of our individual members who raise awareness for various efforts around the DFW area each month.
Park Place focuses community efforts on the arts, children’s advocacy, education, and medical research because of the various passions of our leadership team. Most will find that many of the organizations and causes we support, actually touch on more than one of community focal points in an effort to create a more impactful partnership.
Preserving Community Arts and History
Park Place spreads the love to preserve the rich community history and the various traditional and non-traditional artistic initiatives in the DFW area. In the past 30 years, we have had the privilege of sponsoring the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and various community art festivals- like Southlake’s Art in the Square. On a regional level, Park Place and Lexus continue to team up to contribute to the ATT Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas. For over 10 years this regional alliance has served to bring notable performances to the DFW community.
In 2013, Park Place Lexus and Park Place Motorcars donated $25,000 to the Grapevine Historical Society, to move their collection to a new facility, nearly quadrupling the museum’s space. Grapevine, a city in which three of our dealerships, and one more set to open next year, call home- provides a rich history in which Ken Schnitzer is adamant to support: “There is a great history in Grapevine and we are pleased to be a part of preserving it through this donation for the new building.” Park Place’s connection with Grapevine began in 2000 with the opening of the first two dealerships in city.
Touching various musical and visual arts organizations over the years, Park Place is also a major advocate of one of Dallas’ more home-grown ‘natural’ attractions. For close to 10 years, Park Place has supported the renowned Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens through various outlets including concerts and seasonal displays.
Most recently, we have been the exclusive automotive partner of the grand botanic displays found at the Annual Dallas Blooms Festival. Since 1985, Dallas Blooms has been dubbed a spring “must see” in the DFW area, and corporate giving plays an integral role in bringing this world-class explosion of color to life. Park Place places their exceptional vehicles to showcase our continued support of the artistic spring display of one of DFW’s greatest community gems.
Advocating for Action- Supporting the Future Generations
Park Place dealerships is not one to simply say they support a cause, but are advocates of affirmative action and taking a stand to promote the well-being of our community’s most vulnerable and most promising members. From supporting women’s heart health by going Red at supporting dealerships to hosting grand galas and events, Park Place is firm on their stance to improve the lives of those around them.
“We are motivated to pursue change and our community partners have an incredible ability to bring about that positive change,” comments Anam Ali, Community and Events Marketing Strategist. “Supporting causes that directly advocate for action and that effect the most change within our community, is near and dear to the Park Place philanthropic mission.”
The Park Place Dealerships Texas Rangers Triple Play event began in 2002 to advocate for at risk youth supported by the Texas Rangers Foundation. Park Place has been the presenting sponsor of this spectacular show of support since its inception, raising funds for our community where it is most needed. The combined effort of our Community Events team and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, paired with the mutual unwavering commitment to the youth has successfully raised well over $5 million dollars in just 15 years. Dave Evans, Director of Marketing, recounts “It’s been 15 years since Park Place Dealerships and the Texas Rangers developed this fun event to connect fans with players and coaches while raising money to share the love of baseball with area kids.”
Taking a look back at some of the very first events, we cannot help but recognize the staggering increase in community engagement this event, and importantly this cause, has received. In 2003, the night raised more than $100,000- fast forward to 2017, and the community came together to raise an astounding $700,000, which will contribute to the completion of the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy, a safe space for area children to develop a passion for the game. The Foundation itself has given back more than $15 million to children in need, and Park Place is honored to play a part in their mission.
Supporting DFW Educators and Students
We stand behind the DFW education community, ensuring that the future of Dallas, and their exceptional educators, is continually supported and recognized for the commitment to educational excellence. Park Place’s support ranges from direct monetary support and mentorship programs, to gifting a summer in a luxury vehicles and rallying our community around the local football team for the home games.
In the year 2000, Park Place Dealerships piloted a mentorship program for local high school students. This particular program allowed high school students the opportunity to experience an internship that was anything but answering phones and filing papers. In its inaugural year, the “Park Place Mentor Program,” included four area students working in the services department at Park Place Motorcars. The purpose of this program was to break stereotypes surrounding technicians, and further encourage and assist high school seniors who may be considering a career in automotive services.
While this program has evolved, Park Place’s focus on educating our up-and-comers is revitalized through an extensive dealer-wide internship program that continues to offer professional learning opportunities for 25-35 interns each year. Providing not just verbal and monetary support, but ample application-based learning opportunities is part of Park Place’s commitment to sharing our knowledge and making a difference in the surrounding communities.
For the past seven years, Park Place Lexus Grapevine and Park Place Motorcars Grapevine have sponsored the Southlake-Carroll Dragons as just one piece of our school district support efforts. Matt Woolsey, General Manager of the Park Place Jaguar Land Rover DFW store is Dragon alum and football fan, so each year the Park Place team joins Dragon fans to tailgate before a home game to ensure the Dragon’s spirit cannot be missed in the Southlake-Carroll community.
We join Carroll ISD on a multitude of other noble missions to promote educational excellence, including 14 years with the Carroll Education Foundation, which creates and distributes resources, such as scholarships, for the students of Carroll ISD. In just 2016, Park Place Lexus Grapevine raffled off a prize valued at $18,000, giving a lucky community member the opportunity to drive a new Lexus, every month for a year.
For years, Park Place expanded their educational giving to support the exceptional teachers of the Carroll, Allen, Grapevine-Colleyville, Plano, and now Mansfield school districts, by awarding annual Teacher of the Year winners with a summer in a Park Place vehicle. Over the years, teachers have been given the opportunity to drive in-style for a summer, a small reward for the years of dedication and passionate service to our community’s families.
In 2012, Matt Woolsey spoke at the Teacher of the Year award ceremony, commenting on his close connection (and now Park Place’s tight-knit relationship) to Carroll ISD and the annual Teacher of the Year program itself: “I looked around the room and saw a few of my son’s teachers, several current teachers that are Park Place clients, my former principal Mr. Willingham, Mr. Lowery (former superintendent), and my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Anders. I let them know how proud I was to be a Dragon, how proud I was to be the parent of a couple of Dragons….” These words ring clearly today as the tradition of educational giving continues, and the 2017 Teacher of the Year winners are winding down their summer in a new Lexus or Mercedes.
In August 2017, Park Place Motorcars Arlington proudly kicked off a new exclusive partnership with Mansfield ISD, gifting two deserving teachers with the opportunity to sport a luxury vehicle for an entire year. Anam Ali spoke to this particular partnership saying, “When we opened the dealership in Arlington, it was clear that we had to extend our support to the surrounding community that welcomed us so warmly back in 2015. We are elated to begin a new partnership with Mansfield ISD as they embark on a new school year, and we are eager to see what we can accomplish together.”
Medical Research and the Fight Against Childhood Cancer
Park Place devotes an exceptional amount of time, money, and support to medical research in the hopes of fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses that affect our community.
For 25 years, Park Place has fervently supported the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children resulting in more than $185,000 in monetary donations. We believe in Scottish Rite Hospital’s mission- they are the best at what they do, and we are proud to partner each year and support their efforts to provide quality care to over 20,000 active patients regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For nine years, Park Place Premier Collection has hosted the Accessible Luxury Event to raise support for a singular purpose, the health and well-being of children. High fashion, luxury products, and the Park Place community come together each year to make the unique event, a success. “Scottish Rite Hospital is a national treasure,” said Neil Grossman, President of Park Place Dealerships. “We are proud to be associated with an organization that gives back so much to our community. Their care for children is unrivaled. We look forward to many more years of working together to serve these children and their families.”
In 40 years, the Cattle Barons Ball has raised more than $60 million towards the pursuit for a cure for cancer. For 20 of those years, Park Place Dealerships has supported these efforts by donating a luxury vehicle to their auction to help increase the evening’s grand total, and supporting the American Cancer society to give cancer the ultimate “the boot.”
While these two causes have garnered our long term support, it is no question that Park Place Dealerships provides the means to spark change in the community, no matter the size (or age) of the cause. Michael Hollis dreamed Bugatti during his fight with Leukemia- and with the leadership of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Park Place Dealerships was able to turn dreams into reality. The seven year- old wanted to experience the Bugatti Veyron for himself and with Butch Leitzinger, a 3x winner of the Rolex 24, by his side this wish is one Michael, his family, and the team at Park Place would never forget.
Looking forward, Park Place Dealerships shows no signs of slowing down, but rather continuing to honor its commitment to giving back to its loyal community for the 30 years to come.
To celebrate 30 years of success, the inaugural Park Place Luxury & and Supercar Showcase will work hand-in-hand with the Four Seasons Club and Resort Dallas Las Colinas to put some of the world’s most exceptional vehicles on display for a purpose- to benefit the children of the Momentous Institute, a 97 year old not-for-profit owned and operated by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. This footprint of this long-standing organization is expansive, touching the lives of more than 6,000 families and children through their therapeutic services team alone. According to Michelle Kinder, Executive Director of the Momentous Institute, “the Momentous School is our furthest upstream effort. 248 kids who are growing up in poverty are receiving an education where social and emotional health is just as prioritized as academics.” Truly far reaching, the Momentous Institute shares their knowledge and their children’s voices with professionals across the country. The future of our community is bright- where hope has been taken away, our newest charitable partner creates a space for families and children to discover that hope once again. “We say around here,” says Kinder, “We hold hope until you can hold hope for yourselves.” Park Place Dealerships is honored to celebrate 30 years of business and giving, by doing our part to further the education and emotional health efforts of the Momentous Institute.
Ken Schnitzer founded Park Place Dealerships 30 years ago with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oak Lawn. Today, Park Place Dealerships employs more than 2,000 people and operates 16 full-service dealerships representing luxury brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Bugatti, McLaren, and Maserati. As we look to the future of Park Place Dealerships, we are honored to serve the communities that have supported our mission for excellence these past 30 years.
For more information on our community events, please visit us at www.parkplace.com/commnunity.