DEARBORN, MI — A full-scale campaign by Ford Motor Company employees and dealers to help the relief efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina has resulted in vehicle donations, money and in-kind contributions that have topped $4 million so far.
Ford Division will donate national television advertising airtime in September to the American Red Cross fundraising campaign to appeal for donations. The Red Cross fundraising spots will replace some of the previously planned Ford vehicle ads. The 30-second ads will begin appearing this weekend during several of the NFL season kickoff games and other prime-time programming.
Ford Motor Company Fund has pledged a total contribution of $1 million to disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and America’s Second Harvest. This contribution includes a match of Ford employee donations to selected organizations. Ford employees are continuing to make donations.
“The scale of devastation and human suffering in Louisiana and Mississippi are staggering in scope, and Ford is fully committed to helping in the relief efforts,” said Bill Ford, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “The challenges ahead are great but we plan to be involved for as long as it takes.”
All company operations, including Ford Motor Credit and Hertz, are working with relief organizations, along with governmental agencies to determine how their resources can best be maximized.
As part of the Ford Team USA effort, company actions are under way on a variety of fronts, including:
– A $2 million vehicle donation of more than 160 used trucks, vans and SUVs donated for use in the relief effort;
– Deferred payments for 90 days for Ford Motor Credit customers in the affected areas;
– A $750 Disaster Relief Program incentive, on top of other incentives, to assist affected people in the purchase of replacement vehicles as they begin to rebuild their lives.
– On Friday, September 9, Ford will donate the use of its toll-free customer call centers and more than 500 Ford call agents to assist television networks and cable stations conducting a national telethon fundraising effort. The program airs from 8:00-9:00 p.m. local time in the different time zones. Ford call agent volunteers will work between 7:00 p.m. and midnight to assist with donations.
The company has approximately 50 dealerships in the affected area and 30 of them remain closed at this time. These dealers employ literally hundreds of people in the region.
“While we do not have a complete assessment of damage to our dealerships at this time, we believe that at least 20 of them were heavily damaged or destroyed,” said Dan Brouillette, vice president Governmental Affairs, Ford Motor Company. Brouillette, who is originally from Louisiana, has been dispatched to the state to lead the company’s efforts on the ground there.
Meanwhile individuals and organizations within the company and dealers are finding ways to help, through fundraisers, blood drives and other activities. And dealers in Texas are making space available to house refugees who are displaced in locations like Ford Park and Ford Arena in Beaumont which is near Houston.
Finally, the company is working with local and state officials to coordinate further volunteer efforts to help in the affected areas when officials give the green light.
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