In the spirit of the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11, September 11, 2001 — and the new spirit of 9/12 and the future — let’s acknowledge the corporate good guys who support volunteer and community projects. Here are a few —
Ford — More than 12,000 members of the Ford Volunteer Corps with hammers, hoes and helping hands are tackling more than 200 community projects on six continents as part of the 2011 Ford Global Week of Caring. For the sixth straight year, Ford employees and retirees are joining employees of Ford during this annual event, which in runs through September 18, 2011. The number of volunteers has grown from 1,200 to more than 12,000 during the past six years. The program has worked on projects in dozens of countries from Europe and Asia to Africa and the Americas, where Ford has offices, factories or dealerships. Some example include renovating schools, planting trees and cleaning up parks in South Africa; cleaning public areas, collecting food and school supplies in Philippines; collecting clothes and sanitary supplies for impoverished girls in Kenya; restoring trails for wheelchair access in Belgium; providing meals, clothing and organizing medical check ups for orphans in India; building houses in El Salvador and Honduras; and installing playground equipment, distributing food, repairing schools and restoring environmentally-sensitive areas in the U.S.
Nissan — In support of American Indian higher education, Nissan North America, Inc. has granted $85,000 to the American Indian College Fund to continue the Nissan Corporate Scholars Program. The program has been providing scholarships to Native scholars attending tribal colleges and mainstream universities for more than a decade. The renewed grant will support ten scholarships of $3,000 each per year for students attending tribal collages and five scholarships of $5,000 each per year for students attending so-called mainstream colleges. Students must be enrolled in college full-time, have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, and demonstrate leadership and commitment to the Native community to be eligible. Preference is given to renewing Nissan scholars, which gives students on-going support. “The Nissan Foundation aims to build community through valuing cultural diversity,” said Scott Becker, Chairman of the Nissan Foundation. “By encouraging Native American students to continue their education, our hope is that they, in turn, will strengthen and bring greater value to their communities.”
Southwest — In celebration of its 40th Anniversary, Southwest Airlines has teamed up with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) for the Conservation In Action Tour: 40 Projects for 40 Years. Students from the SCA have been criss-crossing the USA in a custom-designed Southwest Airlines RV fueled by eco-friendly biodiesel, stopping in 25 cities, joining airline employees and community members in conservation projects, such as clearing hiking trails and picnic areas of trash in state parks. “This is the perfect way to celebrate our 40th Anniversary,” said Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. “Volunteering and giving back is something that our People do year round. It’s our way of saying thank you to the communities that have given so much to us!” Click here to see a short video of SCA members working in one of the 25 Southwest cities.
You can add a volunteer component to your next vacation. Here are some suggestions —
- Ritz Carlton has a “give back and reconnect” program that offers guests opportunities to work with a local community group near the hotel or resort where you are staying.
- Crystal Cruises has a similar program for some Caribbean ports.
- Projects Abroad will match you with a volunteer program that suits your interests, from teaching at a school in Ethiopia to caring for disabled children in Sri Lanka.
Thanks to all the good guys who volunteer in their local communities, or halfway across the country or world.