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Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC
"Thinking about our family history, I cannot find a moment where community hasn’t come first."
“Thinking about our family history, I cannot find a moment where community hasn’t come first,” nominee Brotherton said of his family’s legacy in the automotive industry, which dates back to the early 1900s in the state of Washington. “It is written in my grandfather’s employee handbook about giving to churches and schools, documented in photographs at parades and community events, and I witnessed it firsthand working for my father.”
A 1990 graduate of Mercer Island High School in Mercer Island, Washington, Brotherton studied psychology and business marketing, at Washington State University in Pullman, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
He began his career in 1995 at Frederick Cadillac in Seattle, Washington, which was owned by his father, Biff, who had acquired several dealerships over the years in Walla Walla, Washington, and Seattle. His roots in the car industry extend back to father’s grandfather, who started a truck company in 1916 in Walla Walla. Brotherton eventually moved the Cadillac business to Renton in 2001 and later added Buick and GMC.
After the loss of his father in 2011, Brotherton continued the family legacy of giving back. “I knew that having a philanthropic approach to our business — and building a mission of partnering with local organizations that profoundly impact the lives of people in the Pacific Northwest – would not only be supported but encouraged as I took on the role as dealer,” he said.
To that end, he created Brotherton’s Charity of the Month in 2005, which showcased and promoted a different organization and asked customers to donate, with Brotherton’s dealership matching the funds up to $100. Partners included the Moyer Foundation (provides comfort, hope and healing for children and families affected by grief and addiction); Seattle Children’s Hospital; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; Seattle International Film Festival; The Warren Miller Freedom Foundation; and the Arthritis Foundation.
“We raised more than $250,000 and gave the charities a platform to share their message through our advertising and public service announcements,” he said. “We ran this program for several years and in doing so, we heard these incredible stories of amazing people in our community and wanted to also tell their stories.”
That’s when he started Brotherton Community Champions, a program that highlighted one community leader each month who was nominated by his or her peers to complete for a $5,000 prize. In addition, a short movie was made for each champion by an aspiring local filmmaker and the best of the shorts were shown at the Seattle International Film Festival.
His company is also a big supporter of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (the Hutch). “In 2008, my father was diagnosed with cancer and we transitioned the bulk of our efforts to the Hutch,” he said. “We hold an event every year raising as much as $250,000, with a total of more than $1.2 million raised in total.”
In memory of his father, the Brotherton family established a scholarship for a student-athlete at Washington State University and the William F. “Biff” Brotherton Cougar Spirit Award, which honors individuals who demonstrate generous philanthropic support and volunteerism on behalf of the school’s athletic program
He also supports the Bennett Foundation (to combat childhood obesity); FEAT of Washington Ben’s Fund (offers grants to families for autism spectrum disorder treatments); Jacob Green Charity Golf Classic (to support cancer research at the Hutch); Food Lifeline (rescues food and provides meals to end hunger in western Washington); Toys for Tots; and Miss Washington Scholarship Organization, to name a few. Brotherton has also served on the board of the Moyer Foundation and as a coach for youth sports in Mercer Island.
Brotherton was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Vicki Giles Fabré, executive vice president of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association. He and his wife, Amy, have two children.