A significant change took place for Dave Olson several years ago when he toured Children's Hospital Central California. “I’ve been asked the reason we do this,” he said from the podium in the Guilds’ Hall of Fame. “You can’t come into this Hospital without feeling like you have to do something. You have to give something back.” As president and chief executive officer of Ocat, Inc – and with the help of his and others’ Taco Bell stores from south of Sacramento to Bakersfield – Olson has indeed given back, more than $1.1 million since he took that tour.
“All of this works because of our customers and the managers,” he said regarding the success of this year’s Circle Campaign. Through most of August and into September, 95 Taco Bell stores in Central California sold paper circles for one dollar a piece and hung them on the restaurants’ walls. “I learned five years ago there’s only one way to raise money, you have to ask,” said Olson. “And when you’re raising one dollar at a time, you just keep asking and asking and asking.”
In addition to owning a Taco Bell franchise, Olson is a member of the Children's Hospital Central California Board of Trustees. He has quite a reputation for his generous ways. The annual Circle Campaign has grown from a $21,250 contribution in 2005 to nearly a quarter of a million raised in 2010. In addition to the Circle Campaign, Olson hosts a golf tournament every May to benefit the Hospital. Jim Meinert, vice president of philanthropy for Children’s foundation, introduced Olson as a man who “is so generous, cares so much and works so hard for others.”
Olson was quick to introduce and thank the other store owners and managers in attendance and said, “None of us consider this work. We consider this something we need to do to give back to the community.”
When Olson presented the check for $227,628 – raised one dollar at a time over a five week period – he said it came with a promise. “We’re going to do everything we can to raise $300,000 next year.”
Children's Hospital thanks the 95 Central California Taco Bell stores that made this year’s campaign such an enormous success. Gifts like these truly make a make a difference to the Valley’s kids. Anyone interested in a tour like the one Dave Olson experienced should contact the foundation at (559) 353-7100.