Volunteerism is an integral part of our business. We encourage our employees to participate in programs that strengthen the communities in which we operate.
The Role of the Ford Volunteer Corps
Leading the way in our mission to create a better world, the Ford Volunteer Corps was launched by Bill Ford in 2005 in the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami and deadly hurricanes in the United States. It has since grown into a highly coordinated network of current and retired Ford employees across six continents, helping feed the hungry, deliver clean water, build homes, renovate schools and mentor young people.
To maximize the two paid workdays we offer salaried employees each year to volunteer in the community, our “matchmaking” software system enables nonprofit partners to inform us when and where they need help, while employees can sign up online for opportunities based on their interests, skills and availability. We are continuing to enhance the user experience and strengthen our data collection, especially outside the United States.
Since it was launched in 2005, Ford Volunteer Corps members have contributed nearly 1.5 million hours of community service in 48 countries, representing more than $34 million of in-kind community investments.
To mark its 10th anniversary in 2015, we extended our flagship Ford Global Week of Caring to become our very first Ford Global Caring Month. This was repeated in September 2016, with more than 24,000 current and retired employee volunteers participating in 1,544 projects around the world. These included:
Paint, repair and renovate a secondary school.
Improve the grounds surrounding a family retreat run by the Salvation Army.
Renovate a nursery, daycare center and library for children.
Overhaul a food bank’s delivery area and sort donations.
Develop urban gardens and help with construction work at a high school.
Make renovations at a home for senior citizens.
Build water storage facilities, feed the hungry and make improvements at an orphanage.
Renovate bathrooms, repair ceilings and doors, and paint homes for children.
Modernize and make improvements at a mental health facility.
Ford Accelerated Action Days
Ford employees from across the United States filled nearly 11,000 volunteer opportunities in more than 1,100 community projects during 2016. Some of those volunteer activities took place on what we call Ford Accelerated Action Days (AADs). There are four AADs each year that concentrate on critical work identified by our nonprofit partners. These one-day volunteering sessions often involve larger groups of Ford volunteers and are focused on children and families, the environment, community building and feeding the hungry. Four more AADs are planned for 2017.
Bill Ford Better World Challenge
Established in September 2015, the Bill Ford Better World Challenge is a global grant program, jointly funded by the company and Executive Chairman Bill Ford. The initiative enables employee volunteers to apply for grants, totaling up to $500,000 a year, for transformational community service projects that address issues in the areas of mobility; basic needs such as food and shelter; or access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Since the challenge was issued, employees have answered the call, submitting ideas designed to make a difference in the world. In 2016, funding was awarded to two projects – a community water project in Thailand and GoodTurn, a mobile app for non nonprofits that reflects Ford’s wider approach to mobility, beyond the car.
Clean Water Community Project, Thailand
Thanks to hundreds of Ford volunteers and a $200,000 grant from the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, a project in Thailand will support 13 schools in Chanthaburi province, bringing a better life to 3,300 people.
Within a year, Ford volunteers have joined local communities to improve access to clean water through purification systems, wash basins and restrooms at nine rural schools.
Volunteers also planted hundreds of banana trees, and built an oyster mushroom farmhouse, chicken coop and other facilities at one school to grow vegetables. As well as being served at school lunches, the crops are sold to fund further agricultural initiatives at the school.
Watch a video on the project.
Thirty Under 30
Thirty Under 30, also launched in 2015, saw 30 employees under the age of 30 trained on civic engagement and leadership skills, with a focus on philanthropy and volunteerism. The nine-month program, trialed as a U.S. pilot, paired three cross-functional teams with local nonprofits: the Salvation Army, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
As well as using fresh thinking to address the challenges faced by the organizations, the millennial employees were taught how to apply solutions-based “design thinking” to life, business and cultural situations. The millennials also offered insights designed to help the nonprofits connect with and appeal to the next generation of young philanthropists.
2016 saw the inaugural class “graduate,” and complete their training by presenting their solutions to Executive Chairman Bill Ford and other company leaders. Now, they’re ready to work as philanthropists, to get involved and to build stronger communities.
More than 200 employees applied to join the inaugural program, but the number of applicants to the new class of Thirty Under 30, which kicked off in February 2017, increased significantly to 362. The number of participating nonprofits has also risen to six, and the focus this year is on solutions that address food insecurity.
Watch the final Thirty Under 30 showcase.
See what the opportunity meant to the class of 2016.