Ford Motor Company announces two new initiatives today that strengthen its leadership in community service and provide younger employees an innovative opportunity to explore their growing interest in civic engagement and volunteering.
Ford and Executive Chairman Bill Ford are launching the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, a global grant program that will award up to $500,000 to community service projects identified by company employees. The program, jointly funded by the company and Bill Ford, will work in tandem with Ford Volunteer Corps – Ford’s international network of 30,000 volunteers that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Ford is also starting Thirty Under 30, in which 30 U.S. employees under the age of 30 will be selected for a yearlong course to learn civic engagement and leadership skills with a focus on philanthropy and volunteerism. The program will also pair employees with nonprofits so both Ford and charitable organizations can learn from younger generations.
“Community service is one of the hallmarks of our company and the Ford family,” said Bill Ford. “As we celebrate the incredible achievements of the Ford Volunteer Corps, we are looking to the future with innovative programs that further harness the power of our volunteers and build the next generation of community leaders.”
The Ford Volunteer Corps was launched by Bill Ford in 2005 in response to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Assisting in post-tsunami rebuilding efforts was among the Corps’ first work, as employees from Ford Thailand took a 14-hour bus ride to spend a week at a time in sweltering conditions mixing concrete, making roof tiles, digging foundations, building walls and helping villagers start to get their lives back.
That outreach and sense of community has grown into a highly coordinated global network in which each year 30,000 volunteers work on 1,600 projects across six continents. Whether helping children read, fighting hunger or delivering clean water, thousands of Ford volunteers have worked on 9,000 projects in more than 40 countries, contributing more than 1 million hours of community service.
To expand on that, the Bill Ford Better World Challenge aims to give employee volunteers the opportunity to work with local groups where Ford does business to apply for community service project funding under the new grant program. The projects will focus on three categories that create sustainable solutions to community needs – mobility; basic needs such as food and shelter; and water-related issues including access, sanitation and hygiene. Funding is expected to be awarded by the middle of 2016.