ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Visit the Ford Export and Growth (E&G) offices in Allen Park and it won’t take long to spot the subtle indications of its commitment to others – the billboard spotlighting a charity, the snacks sold to fund charitable endeavors, the number of people who pay to wear jeans on Fridays.
Those activities, along with periodic pizza lunches, candy gram sales, etc., typically bring in U.S. $600 or more each month. The money benefits a host of causes, including a local food bank, children or families in need, community service organizations and many more.
E&G’s community service efforts reflect a desire to Go Further to help as many people as possible. Although most activities may be planned up to a year in advance, there’s no shortage of individuals willing to step up if an unexpected need develops.
As with Export and Growth, which set monthly sales records throughout 2011, the council is coming off its most successful year ever. Last year, E&G employees helped 17 organizations, raising $17,000 in addition to gifts and cash donations.
“We have amazing participation,” says Laura Alexiou, who chairs the Diversity and Community Service Council. “For example, we held a food drive and filled a Transit Connect. And our employees are just as giving when it comes to volunteering their time. Every year we split into three groups and request three large projects from the Ford Volunteer Corps.”
Export and Growth is unique within Ford in that its main offices are in one region (North America) while its focus is on multiple regions – the Middle East, Caribbean and Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific.
There’s an innate focus on diversity within E&G, says Lori Dunn, the executive sponsor of the council. “Many people work here because they like working with different cultures. Knowing that, this year, we want to further increase our focus on inclusion and diversity.”
To that end, the group is beginning Lunch and Learn seminars to help increase understanding of other cultures and countries. The goal, says Dunn, is to learn about the business and social norms of other countries, particularly those within Export and Growth’s markets.
“Business practices vary significantly from country to country,” says Dunn, “and standard behaviors in the United States may not be acceptable elsewhere. Our hope is that learning more about each country, its history and its norms will help us work better with our counterparts and customers around the world.”
The first of the Lunch and Learn events, which focused on South Korea, was well-received by participants, who were unanimous in desiring additional learning opportunities. That will happen in the next few weeks when another session, focusing on Saudi Arabia, is held.
Export and Growth team members prepared gardens for kids to plant and care for at Starfish Family Services.
A building-wide food drive filled this Transit Connect with 1,087 pounds of food. The food donations provided approximately 837 meals for the hungry.