Volunteerism has been an integral part of Ford since its creation in 1903. We encourage our employees to participate in programs that strengthen the communities in which we operate through the Ford Volunteer Corps.
Ford Volunteer Corps
Operating across six continents, the Volunteer Corps was launched by Bill Ford in 2005. It was set up in the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, when employees from Ford Thailand mixed concrete, made roof tiles, dug foundations and built walls to help villagers start to get their lives back on track. That spirit has grown into a highly coordinated global network of current and retired Ford employees who help children read, fight hunger or deliver clean water.
34,000+ Ford volunteers
1,700+ community projects a year
250,000+ volunteer participants in 48 countries
1.2 million hours of volunteering
10,750 community service projects
$29 million equivalent in-kind corporate contributions
In Germany, 2015 was a record year for employee volunteering, with 170 projects and a 70% increase in participation
To maximize the two paid workdays we offer salaried employees each year to volunteer in the community, we’ve developed a “matchmaking” software system. Through this, our nonprofit partners can inform us when and where they need help, and employees can sign up online for opportunities based on their interests, skills and availability. We are continuing to strengthen our data-collection capabilities, especially outside the United States, and to enhance the employee user experience.
Our Volunteering Programs
We’ve focused our efforts to date through Ford’s Global Week of Caring and four annual Ford Accelerated Action Days (AADs). We also introduced two new initiatives in September 2015, strengthening our leadership in community service and tapping into a growing interest among younger employees to become more involved in their communities.
Ford Global Caring Month
Ford’s Global Week of Caring has been one of the signature programs of the Ford Volunteer Corps for a decade, with a week of volunteer events across all our operating regions every year. But in September 2015, to mark our 10th anniversary, we expanded the program significantly. Nearly 20,000 current and retired employee volunteers participated in close to 500 projects in 37 countries in our very first Ford Global Caring Month. This included:
- Helping provide safe drinking water in Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa
- Working on school improvement projects in Brazil, India and Thailand
- Assisting refugee families in Germany
- Renovating a care center for children with disabilities in the United Kingdom
We also reached Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in 2015, where more than 1,000 employees spent 9,000 hours on 30 projects.
Accelerated Action Days
Ford AADs are one-day volunteering sessions designed to meet critical needs identified by our nonprofit partners. During the year, our four 2015 AADs focused on supporting children and families, the environment, community building and feeding the hungry. In 2015, more than 11,000 Ford volunteers across 19 U.S. states participated in around 1,100 community projects.
Bill Ford Better World Challenge
Established in September 2015, the Bill Ford Better World Challenge is a new global grant program that will award up to $500,000 to community service projects identified by company employees. Jointly funded by the company and Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the initiative will work alongside the Ford Volunteer Corps.
Under the program, employee volunteers can apply for funding for community service projects. To be eligible, the projects must seek to create sustainable solutions in one or more of three categories: mobility; basic needs such as food and shelter; and issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene. Funding for up to three projects is expected to be awarded by the middle of 2016.
Thirty Under 30
At the same time, Executive Chairman Bill Ford announced Thirty Under 30, a millennial initiative in which 30 employees under the age of 30 will learn more about civic engagement and leadership skills, with a focus on philanthropy and volunteerism. The year-long program, initially being trialed as a pilot in the United States, will pair the chosen employees with relevant nongovernmental organizations so that both Ford and charitable nonprofit organizations can benefit.
More than 300 Ford employees applied to be part of the inaugural Thirty Under 30 class. The field was initially narrowed to a shortlist of 50 employees, who each produced a video as part of the selection process.
“Younger generations have shown they see community building as part of their career goals. With Thirty Under 30, we are not only helping our younger employees work with nonprofits, we will learn from them how to design corporate philanthropy in the future.”
Ford Fund provides mini-grants to purchase the tools, supplies and materials needed to help volunteers complete their projects. As both the business and our community efforts continue to expand, the amount of financial support we provide has also grown. Having started the program in 2012 in the Asia Pacific region, we now give small grants to volunteers in Europe, South America, Mexico and the Middle East, and we celebrated the program’s 15th anniversary by expanding to North Africa in 2015.