Better known for building cars, Mazda recently shifted gears for a day to build bicycles for children in need. Mazda partnered with nonprofit foster care organization Together We Rise and the mountain bike series Over the Hump to put smiles on the faces of some Southern California-based foster youth by donating 120 bicycles.
“There’s more to giving back than signing checks,” said Ben Coy, Mazda western region marketing manager.
As a company known for designing vehicles by hand, Mazda jumped at the opportunity to donate time and effort to build bicycles for deserving youth.
Build A Bike
Together We Rise Build-A-Bike program provides bicycles to kids in foster care to help them try and have a normal childhood. Part of the program includes giving younger children the opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle. For the older youth, bikes are a means of transportation to get to school, and eventually help them get jobs.
More than 50 people from Mazda North American Operations, Mazda’s Western Region, Mazda Capital Services, Garage Team Mazda and Over the Hump came together at Mazda’s Research and Development Center in Irvine, California to assemble the bikes and ready them for donation.
“It was a wonderful experience working with Mazda. I know how excited and thankful the agencies will be to receive these donations,” said Joann Baek, program manager at Together We Rise. “On behalf of the entire Together We Rise team, we would like to thank Mazda for their generosity and participation in our Build-A-Bike program.”
Traditionally, the Research and Development center is off-limits to non-employees, but Mazda made the exception for this worthy cause. As an added bonus, some of Mazda’s heritage racecars and concept vehicles were displayed in the room to serve as inspiration.
“We came across the non-profit Together We Rise and thought this would be a really unique and great way for us to give back,” said Coy.
Mazda Night at Over the Hump
Just days after the Build-A-Bike program, 25 of the bikes were on display at the Over the Hump Mountain Bike Race Series for Mazda Night at nearby Irvine Lake as foster agency Olive Crest received the bikes from Together We Rise, along with bicycle helmets donated by Stampede Bikes.
“We want to thank Mazda. They are doing incredible work.” said Kyle Houlton, community involvement coordinator at Olive Crest. “They came out of the blue and said ‘Do you want these bikes?’ and we said ‘Absolutely!’”
The remaining 95 bicycles were picked up the following week by foster family agencies, Orange County Children and Family Services, and Tender Love and Care FFA.
“These bikes are a huge need for our residential youth and transitional age young adults. To some of them they’re as good as a car in getting to where they need to be,” Houlton added. “This provides a really meaningful and tangible need that young folks have, so want to thank Mazda.”
The Mazda Drive for Good program partners with four national nonprofits and over 30 local nonprofits, to provide monetary donations and volunteer opportunities in the communities it does business in. Since its inception in 2013, Mazda Drive for Good has donated more than $18.4 million, and has delivered nearly 263,000 hours of charitable service from Mazda employees, dealers, and partners.