Pandemic Brings Out Good In Auto Industry

There is an upside to the pandemic we are all living through: It has encouraged more philanthropy from many large companies, which are obviously aware of the need to “walk the talk.”

With many businesses and manufacturing facilities forced to shut down as populations shelter-in-place, restaurants have taken their own significant hit. Out of the staggering 701,000 total jobs lost in March, roughly 60% (or 417,000) were in the food service industry. 

In an effort to help those who have been impacted, Lexus has donated $50,000 to each of its Lexus Culinary Masters, a team of brand ambassadors who seek to craft amazing experiences through food.

The chefs have full discretion over how they use the donations, which gives them the ability to address the most pressing needs in their own communities.  Some are making meals for medical workers, while others are feeding the homeless. 

Lexus dealers are also getting in on the do-good efforts, doing what they can to ease the burdens caused by the crisis. Efforts range from feeding those on the front lines to offering complimentary services.

Mazda dealers have been doing their part since April 16 with the Essential Car Care program, which provides free standard oil changes and enhanced car cleaning services for eligible U.S. healthcare workers at dealers nationwide. The program has been extended to run through June 1. The automaker will invest a minimum of $5 million as part of the initiative.

On the agency side of the business, Constellation Agency has created the Do-Good Auto Coalition to help dealers and automakers coordinate their efforts. The coalition gives those with extra cars, like  dealers and automakers, a way to deliver needed supplies, whether  food, personal protective equipment or other items, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sponsors include Maserati North America and NBC Universal. 

Several automakers have developed and are producing masks, ventilator and face shields.

Ford's s philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, is taking this one step further. A new COVID-19 Donation Match program gives employees and others the opportunity to support nonprofits and community groups in more than 20 countries working on coronavirus-related issues. The program is a combined effort between Ford Fund and Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford that will match $500,000 in donations to designated community organizations, raising a potential $1 million for groups battling the pandemic across the globe.

Another initiative is Ford Fund’s “Read and Record” virtual volunteering project, which invites Ford employees from around the world to record videos showing them reading a children’s book, with multilingual employees encouraged to read in languages other than English. Ford Fund plans to share the library with philanthropies that serve children and families. 

Ford Fund is also compiling COVID-19-related volunteer opportunities and providing a library of free online resources provided by many of its nonprofit partners. Available at, activities include virtual tours, downloadable worksheets, online tutorials and videos designed to entertain, educate and inspire.

While the pandemic continues to wear all of us down, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at the ways we can support one another, as the auto industry has so aptly demonstrated. 

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