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Ford Salute To Dealers Awards Recognize Tradition Of Giving Back to Communities

  • Ford dealers contributed to a variety of causes in 2018, with the largest number being children’s programs, education and scholarship efforts, and initiatives to aid veterans, police, firefighters and first responders
  • Ford and Lincoln dealers in the United States donated nearly $100 million and volunteered more than 500,000 hours in 2018, according to Ford’s annual dealer giving survey
  • Six dealers from around the world are being honored for exceptional community service as part of Ford’s Salute to Dealers Awards

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24, 2019 – Ford and Lincoln dealers in the United States gave nearly $100 million and more than 500,000 hours to local causes and nonprofits in 2018 – according to Ford Motor Company’s annual survey on dealer giving.

The survey coincides with the 19th annual Salute to Dealers Awards being delivered at the 2019 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo in San Francisco. The generosity of Ford and Lincoln dealers is reflected in how much so many of them give. The largest percentage of respondents, 38 percent, selected the highest giving category of donating $50,000 or more for the year.

In the survey, 99 percent of dealers said their teams give time or money to local causes. Most said they are driven to make a difference in their communities because giving is a part of their dealership tradition.

“Our dealers are valued partners in growing the business, but today we honor their dedication to enriching the communities they operate within,” said Edsel B. Ford II, who chairs the Salute to Dealers awards program and is a member of the Ford Board of Directors. “They are the face of Ford and Lincoln in communities around the world and I applaud their commitment and dedication to building stronger, healthier and more connected communities.”

Dealers give to causes that address a broad range of community needs – from children’s charities to the environment, from education and healthcare to parks, municipal services and disaster relief efforts.

Children’s causes top the list, with 80 percent of responding dealers donating, followed by 69 percent giving to education and scholarships. Veterans causes make up 50 percent of dealer donations, while 46 percent participated in initiatives focused on police, firefighters and other first responders. In a year that included many natural disasters – from hurricanes to devastating fires – nearly one-quarter of the dealer body contributed to related relief efforts.

To demonstrate Ford’s commitment to its thousands of dealer owners who step beyond their showroom doors to make a difference, in 2001 the company launched its Salute to Dealers Awards. This year, Edsel B. Ford II and four other judges selected six winners from a global field of nearly 65 nominees from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Europe, Asia Pacific, Mexico and Central America. As part of the award, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is donating $10,000 to a charity of each dealer’s choice.

A painted portrait of each honoree features a montage of the philanthropic and volunteer activities that led to the award. Duplicates of the portraits will join a Salute to Dealers display in the lobby of Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford’s 2018 awards recognize the following dealers for their unparalleled generosity and commitment to their communities:

Mitchell Dale of McRee Ford, Dickinson, Texas

Mitchell Dale is a community advocate and supporter of agricultural science education, including Texas Future Farmers of America, which empowers students to develop their personal growth, leadership potential and career success, and Texas Future Farmers of America Foundation. His involvement resulted in establishment of an endowment fund for a Texas Future Farmers of America Ford leadership scholars program. Dale participates as a mentor and host, providing leadership training for student scholars centered on servant leadership and community service. Upon completion, students work to develop sustainable community service projects.

For many years, Dale has served as president of M.I. Lewis Social Service Center, providing food and emergency financial assistance to families in need on a day-to-day basis. The agency makes referrals for additional assistance and encourages its clients to work toward self-sufficiency. Dale is also involved with Lighthouse Charity Team People Helping People, providing mobile food preparation trailers and trucks, and volunteer labor to support charitable organizations and fund-raising needs, as well as emergency response to natural and man-made disasters.

“Everyone has a story, and a few kind words or deeds can go a long way in helping others, in ways you may never know,” said Dale. “I have been truly blessed to be given the opportunity to serve others. I hope that in the future the world is better because I made a difference in the lives of others.”

Tony Gullo of Gullo Ford of Conroe, Conroe, Texas

Tony Gullo is a leader in his community with a deep-rooted commitment to supporting children and education. He is involved in his annual Gullo Christmas for Kids program that provides food, funds, gift cards and Christmas trees for underprivileged families. Gullo has opened his home at Christmas to play Santa for hundreds of children and their parents for 40 years. Thousands have benefited from Gullo’s generosity of donations of more than $1 million.

Earning by Learning is a long-running Gullo program that incentivizes third-graders for reading by paying them $1 for each book read when accompanied by a book report. Gullo has led efforts to grow the successful program with school administrators throughout the district. He has provided hundreds of scholarships to high school seniors and donates vehicles to a program that encourages school attendance. Students achieving perfect attendance are entered in a drawing to win one of 12 vehicles awarded. Gullo was a major donor and lead advocate for the Price of Liberty memorial, recognizing the service and dedication of Texas military veterans and families who answered their country’s call after 9/11.

“We have all been very blessed, so never forget to share and help others in need,” said Gullo.

Mary C. Van Bortel of Van Bortel Ford, East Rochester, New York

As a Ford President’s Award and Time Dealer of the Year award winner, Mary C. Van Bortel has shown her passion for leadership in business and community. Her efforts are focused on working to fund and advance research, treatment and care for women and children. She not only donates and fund-raises, but dedicates considerable time engaged in causes. As a breast cancer survivor and member of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, Van Bortel speaks about her experiences in promoting women’s health, awareness and working toward a cure.

Van Bortel mentors women in their professional development, working to create access to opportunities for personal growth and advancement. She is a supporter of About Caring for Kids, which provides housing, transportation and/or medical cost assistance to families experiencing financial hardships due to their child’s severe illness. Van Bortel supports the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and Tour de Cure, a cycling event to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association. She also serves as a community partner with Coffee Connection, a nonprofit that employs and empowers women on their journey to sustainable recovery from addiction.

“It’s an honor to support my community,” said Van Bortel. “Thank you, Ford Motor Company, for helping to make that possible.”

Jeffrey B. Jones of Triple J Auto Group, Tamuning, Guam

For decades, Triple J Auto Group has sought to improve lives and build better communities through its work with nonprofits and individuals. It has supported cancer research and patient services through the American Cancer Society, and care for the afflicted and their families through Guam Cancer Care. Jeff Jones is actively engaged in outreach, providing funding and vehicle support for the Guam National Youth Football Federation, which encourages academic achievement, respect for authority and community involvement.

As part of Ford’s Global Week of Caring, Jones and his employees provide landscape maintenance, power washing and other assistance at Guma Trankilidat, a housing project for low-income elderly and the physically disabled. Their annual 5K family fun run generates funding for American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish® Guam, CNMI and many other causes. Whether helping the homeless with basic necessities, assisting in patient care or supporting education through investing in the local university, Jones’ philanthropic reach is all-encompassing.

“We’ve been blessed so much by our community that we feel giving back is the right thing to do,” said Jones. “We’re proud to see we’ve made a difference.”

Dave Raymond of Erinwood Ford, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Dave Raymond has focused on giving back to his community throughout his career by supporting numerous foundations, schools, sports teams and charitable organizations. Each year Dave and his dealership team select 12 causes to support and, on a monthly basis, hold fundraising events, within the dealership, for the charities.

One of those is Community Living Mississauga, a non-profit organization, providing all encompassing support to individuals living with intellectual disabilities. Dave and his team are proud supporters of Community Living and employ one of the individuals Community Living assists.

Dave also is a board member of the St. Joe’s Plate – an annual community event, which has raised more than $3.2 million in critical funds for mental health care at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. He was instrumental in recruiting board members and is responsible for many of the corporate sponsor activities in support of mental health services at St. Joe’s.

Dave’s generous support extends to education as he and the Erinwood Ford team have partnered with Erindale Secondary School on the Character Counts program. Each year, one student is awarded a new car, or the cash equivalent, for displaying outstanding leadership and character throughout the year. Second and third place winners receive $2,000 each towards their education.

Other causes supported by Dave and his dealership team include Toy Mountain, Interim Place a women’s shelter, Dorothy Ley and Hospice Heart House Hospices,  Multiple Sclerosis of Mississauga, Eden and Compass Food Banks ,   Kerry’s Place for Autism Services, Children’s Aid, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, Sick Kids Hospital,  Canadian Cancer Society, Me to We, Dignitas Aids charity and Davis Phinney foundation for Parkinson’s. Dave Raymond is a true leader and genuine role model for his team at Erinwood Ford, sharing his philanthropic values and his passion, encouraging all employees to be actively involved and engaged in the community.

“Giving back to the community through charity, sponsorships and events is a very important facet of Erinwood,” said Raymond. “We pride ourselves on having a highly engaged team that thrives on the community involvement. I truly believe that if Erinwood is not engaged with the community, we will never be a truly great business. So that is always on my mind.”               

Enrique Gonzalez Pons of Ford Saltillo, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico

Enrique Gonzalez Pons and his dealership have made tremendous contributions to their community through their work with Ford’s civic committee, which supports Mexico’s most vulnerable communities. Working with the Rotary Club, they’ve sought to improve educational opportunities and overall health and quality of life. Their expansive work with the Ford Schools program includes the construction of seven schools in marginalized areas of Mexico, with ongoing physical support to ensure the schools are well maintained.

The team supports rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired, and provides corrective lenses to schoolchildren and toys for those in vulnerable areas. The group supports a green roads project that seeks to reduce the effect of auto pollution by planting trees for every vehicle it sells. The effort expanded to a reforestation program in San Lorenzo Canyon where nearly 1,000 acres were recently destroyed by fire. The team also provides financial support to El Pinar School for low-income girls, helping prepare them for employment in the hospitality industry. The continuous support of Pons and his employees for these and other causes demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the well-being of their community.

“Our values are based on our commitment to the development of our people and our society,” said Pons.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams.  The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for customers and deepen their loyalty.  Ford develops and delivers innovative, must-have Ford trucks, sport utility vehicles, commercial vans and cars and Lincoln luxury vehicles, along with connected services.  The company does that through three customer-centered business segments:  Ford Blue, engineering iconic gas-powered and hybrid vehicles; Ford Model e, inventing breakthrough EVs along with embedded software that defines exceptional digital experiences for all customers; and Ford Pro, helping commercial customers transform and expand their businesses with vehicles and services tailored to their needs.  Additionally, Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  Ford employs about 176,000 people worldwide.  More information about the company and its products and services is available at

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