Ford recently announced a new initiative that strengthens its leadership in community service and provide employees an opportunity to explore their growing interest in civic engagement and volunteering.
Ford and Executive Chairman Bill Ford are launching the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, a global grant program that will award up to US$500,000 to community service projects identified by company employees. The program, jointly funded by the company and Bill Ford, will work in tandem with Ford Volunteer Corps –Ford’s international network of 30,000 volunteers that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
“Community service is one of the hallmarks of our company and the Ford family,” said Bill Ford. “As we celebrate the incredible achievements of the Ford Volunteer Corps, we are looking to the future with innovative programs that further harness the power of our volunteers and build the next generation of community leaders.”
The Ford Volunteer Corps was launched by Bill Ford in 2005 in response to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Assisting in post-tsunami rebuilding efforts was among the Corps’ first work, as employees from Ford Thailand took a 14-hour bus ride to spend a week at a time in sweltering conditions mixing concrete, making roof tiles, digging foundations, building walls and helping villagers start to get their lives back.
That outreach and sense of community has grown into a highly coordinated global network in which each year 30,000 volunteers work on 1,600 projects across 6 continents. Whether helping children read, fighting hunger or delivering clean water, thousands of Ford volunteers have worked on 9,000 projects in more than 40 countries, contributing more than 1 million hours of community service.
To expand on that, the Bill Ford Better World Challenge aims to give employee volunteers the opportunity to work with local groups where Ford does business to apply for community service project funding under the new grant program. The projects will focus on 3 categories that create sustainable solutions to community needs–mobility; basic needs such as food and shelter; and water-related issues including access, sanitation and hygiene. Funding is expected to be awarded by the middle of 2016.
In the meantime, the Ford Volunteer Corps’ signature Global Week of Caring is being expanded from 1 week in September to the entire month. Ford Global Caring Month will open more opportunities for Ford employees to volunteer and broaden the company’s global focus on community service.
Nearly 20,000 volunteers are expected to work on 360 projects around the world – from cleaning up beaches in Angola to renovating a daycare for children with disabilities in the United Kingdom.
As part of Global Caring Month in Malaysia, Ford Motor Company recently worked with the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO). Ford employees, together with the team from Ford’s local distribution partner Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), contributed their time and energy towards brightening the WAO’s children’s play area with new toys and purchased daily necessities valued at RM20,370.
“I often say that the work I do is for my children and grandchildren,” said Bill Ford. “I believe we must help younger generations become careful stewards of the world they are inheriting.”