The Ford Volunteer Corps is pivoting 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 nonprofits or nongovernmental organizations 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:
“Ford employees are fiercely committed to supporting the work of community organizations 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 nonprofit 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 five 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 organizations in 20 countries and 14 U.S. states. Surpassing its $1 million goal, the program 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 nonprofits to carve a new path for what community service looks like moving forward. In the short term, that means accelerating the availability of virtual volunteering opportunities in the U.S. that can be completed online or via phone – everything from preparing job applicants for interviews, to reviewing grants online for women entrepreneurs, to staffing a virtual Detroit census phone bank and more.
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. Ford Motor Company offers its U.S. salaried employees up to 16 hours of paid time each year to volunteer in community service projects.
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