The Ford Volunteer Corps is adjusting to give employees new ways to safely give back as part of Global Caring Month – Ford Motor Company’s 30-day concentrated focus on community service that happens each September.
Two new initiatives – Acts of Kindness and Gratitude Grants – are designed to engage employees and non-profits or non-governmental organisations in strengthening communities and making people’s lives better around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, there is a special importance to Global Caring Month,” said Todd Nissen, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. “All over the world, people are suffering from the pandemic and communities are in upheaval as a result of racial and social injustice. Our Global Caring Month initiatives are designed to give employees meaningful ways to make a difference in people’s lives and support communities in need in these unprecedented times.”
Typically, thousands of Ford volunteers across six continents fan out into communities to participate in hands-on service projects for Global Caring Month. This year, to maintain health and safety, instead of planting gardens, cleaning and renovating shelters or stocking shelves at food pantries, Ford employees will concentrate their efforts on the following two activities:
Gratitude Grants: Employees can nominate a non-profit or non-governmental organisation for a gratitude grant, in recognition of the important work they are doing in response to COVID-19. The Ford Volunteer Corps will award grants of up to $5,000 to selected employee-nominated organisations, to help sustain or expand a group’s efforts to serve its community and meet pandemic-related needs.
Acts of Kindness: Ford Volunteer Corps is encouraging employees to help their friends, neighbours or families in need by performing an act of kindness – big or small. Whether calling to check in on someone who lives alone, donating blood, volunteering virtually or performing some other deed, employees are asked to submit a photo of themselves doing good. Those who do will receive a $15 gift card – in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the Ford Volunteer Corps – that can be used to support their choice of one of thousands of vetted charitable projects in more than 160 countries.
“Ford employees are fiercely committed to supporting the work of community organisations around the world – many of which are serving more people with fewer resources as they respond to the increasing needs brought on by the pandemic,” said Nissen. “We know employees will answer the call to show our non-profit partners how much we appreciate the important work they are doing to help create a better world.”
While COVID-19 has presented obstacles to in-person volunteer work, it has also inspired creative new approaches to serving others – not only during Global Caring Month, but throughout the past six months since the pandemic began.
Created in response to Ford employees asking for ways to help, the COVID-19 Donation Match program supported the relief efforts of 47 community organisations in 20 countries. Surpassing its $1 million goal, the programme raised more than $633,000 in individual contributions that were then matched by $500,000 from Ford Motor Company Fund – the company’s philanthropic arm – and personal contributions from Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
In addition, Ford Fund created a Read and Record virtual volunteering project that invited Ford volunteers to read children’s books in their own language for families to listen to when schools shut their doors and went to remote learning at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Now, as the world continues to cope with new realities brought on by COVID-19, the Ford Volunteer Corps is working closely with non-profits to carve a new path for what community service looks like moving forward.
Managed by Ford Fund, Ford Volunteer Corps is a global network of Ford employees and retirees who have contributed more than 1.4 million volunteer hours in community service projects since 2005.
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