Newly announced nominees for the 2015 TIME Dealer of the Year award include people who help the homeless, motivate low-income youth and inspire employees to partake in do-good projects.

Fifty-five U.S. auto dealers are in the running for the award. Now in its 46th year, it recognizes successful dealers who also demonstrate long-standing charitable and civic service.

“The dealers nominated for this award are dedicated business owners, auto lovers, and most importantly, champions for their local communities, with a willingness to give back on a grand scale,” says Tim Russi, president of Auto Finance for Ally Financial, exclusive sponsor of the program.

A ceremony honoring the nominees and announcing the winner will take place on

Jan. 23 at the annual National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention in San Francisco.

Ally will contribute $10,000 to the worthy cause of the winner’s choice, as well as $5,000 to charities that each of the three regional finalists pick. Ally also will donate $1,000 to charities selected by all nominees.

An Ally-NADA survey indicates more than 70% of U.S. dealers increased their charitable giving in 2014 compared with 2013. About 90% of dealers support community service and local organizations.

Here are samplings of nominees and their efforts:

  • Doniphan Moore of Don Moore Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac in Owensboro, KY, helps the homeless. He and his dealership regularly spend time at local shelters serving food, checking in residents, cleaning beds and spending late nights listening to their stories. A dealership coffee shop donates proceeds to the shelters.
  • Raymond Palacios of Bravo Cadillac in El Paso, TX, worked with CommUNITY en Acción to develop the Young Achievers Forum. It reaches out to youth from low-income neighborhoods and provides them inspiration, motivation and education.
  • Glen Tillary of Tillery Chevrolet GMC in Moriarty, NM, has flown more than 30 missions with Angel Flight, a volunteer pilot organization that arranges free air transportation for any legitimate, charitable or medically related need.
  • Dwayne Hawkins of Crown Jaguar in St. Petersburg, FL, brought together more than 500 employees and customers to pack over 103,000 meals for needy families.
  • Roger Back Jr. of Mossy of Mississippi in Picayune, MS, is a major sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s local Relay for Life. With nearly 100% participation from its employees, the dealership is the event’s top fundraiser each year.

A list of all nominees is at: https://www.ally.com/learn/allydealerheroes/#!/nominees

Past winners have included Jeff Teague of El Dorado, AR, Michael Alford of Jacksonville, NC, and Mike Shaw of Denver.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com