In December 2013, Dot’s Tots Foundation was officially born, launched by RED Capital Group Director Andy Warnock and his wife, Ashley. Two months later, a fellow RED employee received the heartbreaking news that her 16-year-old son, Skylor, was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer—and suddenly the mission of Dot’s Tots became crystal clear.
With no logo or website, Dot’s Tots jumped in wholeheartedly to support the family financially and emotionally. In 2014 alone, the organization—with lots of help from dozens of RED employees—raised $37,000 through donations and a 5k held in support of Skylor.
“While we had ideas of what we thought the organization could be, without Skylor as our first case, I don’t know if we’d be where we are today as a foundation,” Andy says. He credits much of the foundation’s success to the backing of RED employees, who helped them get off the ground.
These days, Dot’s Tots—which is named after Andy’s late grandmother and lifelong educator, Dorotha—works in various ways to fulfill its purpose of offering support to families providing foster care, children with debilitating diseases or injuries, and teenagers who are pursuing a college education. A few examples: offering scholarships for college-bound high school seniors, raising money for a service dog for a set of twins with autism, and providing luggage to foster children so they wouldn’t have to lug their belongings around in a garbage bag.
On top of that, Dot’s Tots hosts fundraising events throughout the year, such as golf outings, a 5k, and restaurant tours and tastings. And at every event the nonprofit has held, at least one—usually more—RED employee has volunteered to help out, a point of pride for Andy.
On Dec. 10, the organization will be hosting its third annual holiday party at the Hilliard Ray Patch YMCA, complete with face painters, balloon twisters, a magician, Santa and more—and volunteers can help with things like setting up the stations and helping to tear them down.
“Before starting Dot’s Tots, we knew there were people that needed help, but we didn’t necessarily know the number or the proximity in our community of people who were struggling with things,” Andy says.
And while there are countless moments with the organization that stand out, Andy recalls one instance in particular that helped reinforce to him the work that Dot’s Tots is doing is worthwhile. A few months ago, he had lunch with Skylor, who recently passed away. The teenager was so appreciative of the foundation’s support, and said to Andy, “You know, I consider you family.”
“I don’t know if we ever drew it up that way when we started the foundation, but it certainly hits home that what we’re doing
The impact also extends to Andy’s two sons—Cason, age 5, and Palmer, age 3—who Andy says have been exposed to living life outside of themselves.
A family man, Andy began his career at RED in 2005 as an intern and now works as a loan originator. When he’s not coaching his sons’ sports team or traveling with his wife, you might find the former Ohio Wesleyan University basketball player brushing up on his sport. Andy grew up in Delaware, Ohio, a town he says was full of giving residents who helped raise him.
“I think the saying is true that it takes a village to raise a child,” Andy says. “If our foundation can be a part of that village and help make the children in our communities lives better, then that’s meaningful—that’s impactful.”