Five Stories of Car Companies Giving Back


Charity work is a big part of being a good corporate citizen. It’s one of the first things you learn in business class, and even the most cartoonishly-greedy corporate honcho takes at least a little time to contribute to a charity.

Auto makers and auto insurance companies are no different. And in fact, some of them have gone above and beyond to hand out donations and vehicles. A few examples:

1. Toyota’s Cars for Good

It’s fairly straightforward: nonprofits apply over Facebook, and then Facebook users come back and vote on which ones get one of the 100 cars that Toyota is donating to charity. Charities can get a Highlander, a Prius V, a Tundra, a Sienna, a Sienna Mobility (which is equipped with a wheelchair accessibility kit), or a Camry hybrid.

So, regardless of what you need, if you’re a non-profit that could use a vehicle, Toyota has got your back.

2. Ford Drives With Purpose

In order to introduce the 2012 Ford Focus to America, in July 2011, Ford put together a pretty simple contest: Focus vehicles were available to test drive in Orlando, Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. If you wanted to up Ford’s contribution to any of these, all you had to do was attend a test drive event, give the Focus a spin, and it automatically bumped up Ford’s contribution to a local charity.

In the end, Orlando won out with a $27,814 check presented to the Parramore Kidz Zone, but nobody “lost”: Charlotte brought in over $14,000 for its charity, and Miami and Atlanta racked up over $8000 apiece for their charities as well.

3. Chevy’s Pace Car Goes Pink for Charity

Every year, as NASCAR fans know, the pace car comes out to limit the speed of the field in case of an accident, or to establish pit road speed during the warm-up laps. Auto makers all want a pace car because it gets lots of marketing exposure. But Chevrolet, last year, decided to use it to do some good:

specifically by providing a pink Camaro as the pace car to raise awareness of breast cancer. It also announced that for every lap the pace car completed, they’d donate $200 to the American Cancer Society. So at least some good came out of these accidents.

4. General Motors Gives To Anybody Its Employees Volunteer for

One of GM’s little-known — but surprisingly beneficial — policies is also one of its simplest. Their Volunteer PLUS International program donates money to any charity to which their employees volunteer 50 hours or more of their time. It both encourages employees to volunteer and spreads quite a bit of money around. For example, in 2004 alone, the program donated nearly $70 million to various charities. It’s a great way to give back, and let employees drive the process.

5. Honda Raises Money for Children Through the Honda Classic

Golfers know all about the Honda Classic, held at the PGA National Resort’s famous Champion Course. But what they may not know is that ever since Honda began the event, they’ve used it to raise more than $19 million for charities such as Make-A-Wish. Now that’s giving back.

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