Each year in September, Ford volunteers around the world embark on a wide range of community outreach and upliftment projects as part of Ford’s Global Caring Month, supported by grants from the Ford Motor Company Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.
However, for 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative took on a slightly different format due to the health restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. In place of the volunteer programme, Ford employees were invited to nominate local non-profit organisations (NPOs), with the Ford Fund providing grants to the selected beneficiaries to assist the most vulnerable members of the community.
“We certainly missed our usual format where our employees are able to jump in and work directly with the projects and communities we support,” says Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “But, as with so many other things last year, our Global Caring Month had to be conducted according to the strict COVID-19 health guidelines to avoid putting our employees and the beneficiaries at unnecessary risk.
“As a company, we therefore decided to provide grants to selected NPOs that are helping communities during the pandemic. Our employees were still an integral part of this process, by identifying and nominating the organisations in their local communities,” Hill adds.
A total of eight NPOs were selected, with six located near Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, and two close to the Ford Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth. Each NPO received a grant of $5 000 (R75 000) to support their crucial work, with almost R600 000 disbursed for this year’s projects.
“We are very aware that even the most basic necessities, such as food and hygiene products, are hard to come by for the poorest members of our society, and the current pandemic and resulting economic fallout has only further exacerbated the situation,” Hill explains. “Our commitment to South Africa is embodied in everything we do as we live Ford’s ‘Go Further’ brand promise, and we do everything we can to help others, as captured in our Live the Ranger Life campaign.
“Despite not being able to get involved at a grassroots and volunteer level during Global Caring Month in 2020, we’re extremely thankful that we could help these organisations help others. From providing basic meals to growing their own food, teaching people to make their own clothes, purchasing much-needed school uniforms or providing a safe haven, these NPOs do exceptional work, and we commend them for their tireless commitment to community service.” Hill says.
The South African beneficiaries for Ford’s Global Caring Month in 2020 were:
Seriti Institute – This organisation works with vulnerable communities to help them become more prepared, resilient and self-reliant, especially during the COVID-19 food emergency. Seriti assists communities to grow their own food and become more involved in income-generating activities, such as selling excess produce and seedlings.
Moremogolo Maphutha Ditshaba Movement – The Ford Fund grant was used to purchase school uniforms for underprivileged children, as well as food packs for the elderly in the community.
Door of Hope South Africa – During the coronavirus pandemic there was a substantial increase in the number of babies abandoned. Ford assisted this organisation so they could purchase medication, food and essentials for the babies taken into their care.
Tateni Community Care Services – This organisation focuses on skills development – specifically transferring skills and knowledge from one generation to the next. The Ford Fund grant was used specifically to start a sewing group as other planned programmes had to be put on hold. As part of training, the group produced cloth face masks, which were given to the vulnerable community members to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Bright Beginnings Day Care and Preschool – This day care centre and preschool caters for children from six months to six years in the east of Mamelodi, Pretoria. The funding from Ford was used to purchase kitchen appliances, mattresses as well as personal protective equipment (PPE). The remainder of the grant was used to install new toilets at the care facility.
Mount Olive Outreach – Based in Lehae, Johannesburg, this project supports the local community and those surrounding it with the latest information and creative ways in which they can protect themselves during the pandemic. The organisation provided community members with soap and protective gear such as gloves and masks to help them protect themselves. They also find solutions such as showing people how to turn two-litre plastic bottles into makeshift taps to ensure people can wash their hands under running water.
Healing Hands Foundation – Healing Hands provides accommodation and resources for those who need a safe haven, specifically women, in Port Elizabeth. With Ford’s help, the organisation was able to do renovations on an additional building that is used for accommodation, and purchase furniture and other essential goods such as sanitary products.Al-Fidaa Foundation – Ford continued its proud association with the Al-Fidaa Foundation in Port Elizabeth, providing the funding for 10 ladies to attend a six-month sewing course. This is the first step to starting their own businesses and financial independence. The organisation helps many people transition from jobless to entrepreneur and such initiatives are now more crucial than ever before.
- Ford’s annual Global Caring Month saw eight non-profit organisations receive grants from the Ford Motor Company Fund
- Due to COVID-19, Ford’s traditional volunteer program was replaced with financial contributions to registered NPOs that were nominated by Ford employees
- Approximately R600 000 worth of grants disbursed to assist the most vulnerable members of the community