How much good could you do if you had over $18 million to donate to charity, and 30 years available to donate your time? Could you make a meaningful difference?
In the last four years, Mazda has been able to make that a reality through the Mazda Drive for Good program. This unique program involves every Mazda employee in North America, Mazda dealerships, and the greater Mazda family–and you can get involved, too.
“Instead of a winter sales event, we decided to create a winter charitable event,” said Robert Davis, senior vice president of special assignments at Mazda North American Operations. “From November 21, 2016 to January 3, 2017 if you test-drove a Mazda, we donated an hour of our time back to the community in the coming year.”
To-date, Mazda employees have completed more than 197,000 hours of volunteer service to local and national organizations, and have pledged an additional 67,500 to be completed in 2017 as part of Mazda Drive for Good. That works out to over 30 years of volunteering, all resulting from vehicle test drives.
“At Mazda’s North American headquarters, we frequently volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank and other local organizations,” Davis added. “But dealerships across the country also pick organizations where they want to volunteer their time. The employees are allocated work hours to volunteer and give back to their local communities.”
The Mazda Drive for Good program doesn’t stop with volunteer hours. For every Mazda purchased during the annual drive event, the company donates $150 to charity. When an owner purchases a new Mazda during this time, they have the option to direct that $150 to one of the national charities, or a local charity partner of their dealership. Money that is not directed to an organization by January 31 is distributed to one of the partner charities or other charities doing good work in their communities.
In the last four years, the program has raised more than $18.4 million for national charities including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and the Mazda Foundation, as well as local nonprofits throughout the United States.
“We want to give the Mazda community a say in how we give back,” Davis explained. “For example, in the Pacific Northwest, we work with Seattle Children’s Hospital. So people in that area could decide to give to one of the national charities, or to the hospital.”
In addition to selecting national and local charities, Mazda began a partnership with NBCUniversal in 2014 to hold a nonprofit charity contest.
“We ask nonprofits to submit information about their organization, explaining how they impact their community,” said Davis. “After reviewing all the submissions we pick the grand prize winner of the contest, announcing it to the world during NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center. For the last two years, we’ve also chosen four runner-up charities from different regions around the country. This year our overall winner was My Block, My Hood, My City from Chicago.”
As the grand prize winner of the Mazda and NBCUniversal contest, My Block, My Hood, My City received a donation package valued at more than $30,000. The four runner-up charities each received packages of $10,000 in goods and services. The runner-up charities for 2016 include Elevating Connections, Erin’s Hope for Friends, Move for Hunger, and Warm Winters.
“While the amount of money we donate is important, the thing that differentiates this program is the time that we give back as an organization,” said Carley Hummel, corporate communications specialist at MNAO. “It’s our unique approach. Not only does it show Mazda’s dedication to our greater community, but it shows me, as an employee, that my company cares to support what I feel passionate about. Mazda gives me time to give back to organizations and people in my community who need it.”
More information, including a list of the 2016 Mazda Drive for Good partners, is available at www.mazdausa.com/why-mazda/drive4good.