CES Global CFO Runs to Raise Over $17,000 for Make-A-Wish®

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City Electric Supply (CES) employees strive to impact their communities across the U.S. They provide customers with more than great service and the material they need. Employees often go above and beyond in other ways — sometimes through a favorite hobby.

CES Global Chief Financial Officer Phil Flaherty recently did just that. He successfully raised over $17,000 for Make-A-Wish® by completing a half-marathon during the 50th BMW Dallas Marathon Festival. 

City Electric Supply Branches Motivate Flaherty to Give Back

Flaherty’s inspiration to make a difference came from CES itself.

“I’ve attended some of the Make-A-Wish events at the branches, and I was always impressed with how they got their customers involved,” said Flaherty. “The great example the branches were setting got me thinking about what I could do for this important cause.”

Fortunately, he realized he already had a template for success. Around 2014, Flaherty ran a half-marathon in honor of his stepmother, who passed from bone cancer. He raised approximately 10,000 Canadian dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Flaherty set a new goal, challenging himself to run another half-marathon and raise funds again. He began by reaching out to close contacts throughout the industry. He emailed co-workers, vendors, and many more who he regularly works with across the industry.

Many reactions were quick and enthusiastic. Within five minutes, one responded to Flaherty with a generous donation of $1,000.

“I started with a goal of just $5,000 but had to increase the target amount a few times as I continued contacting people. It was a pleasant surprise to raise that much in such a short period.”

From Raising to Running, Flaherty Finishes Strong for Make-A-Wish

While Flaherty already regularly runs miles at a time, he pushed himself further with an 8-week crash training program. After months of training and fundraising, he only had one more hurdle.

“I was actually quite ill leading up to the marathon. I had a bad cough and wasn’t sleeping well or feeling great. The day of, if I hadn’t had the sponsorships to encourage me and people hadn’t had confidence in me, I wouldn’t have done it.”

And though the race started easy, the difficulty grew.

“At mile eight, I thought I should have done a full marathon. At mile eleven, I wondered, ‘What the heck was I thinking?’”

However, there was much more to enjoy that kept him going strong. Flaherty said the weather was beautiful, he toured new parts of Dallas, Texas, and seemingly everyone around him ran for another important cause.

Finally, at 13.1 miles, Flaherty crossed the finish line and secured his largest fundraising total to date, over $17,000.

“The joy certainly outweighed the effort. It was a privilege to participate, and I want to thank everyone who supported and believed in me.”

“We are so proud of Phil for taking on this challenge and fulfilling this amazing goal he set for himself,” said Paul Lambert, President of runDallas. “Stories like this are why we love putting on this festival every year. It’s about bringing people together and supporting the community.”

The nonprofit organization runDallas hosts year-round events. The largest of these is the BMW Dallas Marathon Festival, which has donated more than $4 million to Scottish Rite for Children since 1997. Events during this recent festival included full, half, and ultra-marathons; 5K and 10K challenges; kids races; and more.

Next Steps to a New Fundraising Goal and Why It Matters

Flaherty joined CES in 1988 and worked his way up to become Global CFO in the last year. Throughout his career, he’s lived in Britain, Canada, and now the U.S. He says the company’s positive culture and potential for employees to thrive attracts the very best people.

Together, those people have raised over $400,000 for Make-A-Wish since the beginning of the partnership with CES in 2020.

The success of Flaherty’s half-marathon encourages him to continue with an annual fundraiser. He’s even considering a full marathon or a Tough Mudder obstacle course to make it more fun and exciting for his donors.

“When we sponsor a cause like Make-A-Wish, it has a big impact on the lives of children affected by serious illness and their families,” said Flaherty. “I feel I have an obligation to help. Everyone can have an influence, and the more people help, the more other people will want to.”

And Flaherty shared heartfelt advice for anyone who wants to make a difference.

“The truth is, we’re all very busy. It takes some commitment, but once you commit, you’ll follow through and be glad you did. It always feels better to give than receive, so I hope I can give back five or ten times more next race.”

The CES partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation was made possible by its social impact program, CES Cares. CES is a proud national partner of Make-A-Wish and supports its goal of granting life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses.

Are you a CES employee who would like to help in raising money for Make-A-Wish? Email CESCares@cityelectricsupply.com today.

Want to donate directly to Make-A-Wish? Visit donate.cityelectricsupplymarketing.com. Your contribution will help impact a local Make-A-Wish chapter near you.

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