By Bob Ferguson
Chairman, GM Foundation
Vice President, Global Public Policy
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is serving as Chairman of the GM Foundation. Who wouldn’t feel good about giving money away to good causes?
But, my sense of pride in working for GM really starts when I see how my colleagues from cube to assembly line respond when tragedy strikes. The same passion and sense of purpose GM men and women bring to designing, building and selling great cars is applied to helping out our neighbors who are hurting.
With a network of plants, dealers and suppliers, GM has a presence throughout the country. As violent weather has cut a deadly path through the Midwest and Southeast, the Foundation has had, unfortunately, a very busy spring. So far this year, the Foundation and GM have donated nearly $1 million dollars to relief efforts, which includes contributions to the Red Cross, its disaster relief fund and over a dozen trucks and vans to move supplies and recovery personnel.
What is more difficult to measure is the response of GM employees who take seriously their responsibility within the community. When disaster strikes, their request to volunteer is immediate. From Joplin, Missouri, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, our employees’ efforts take many forms from purchasing and distributing critical supplies, to logistics planning that moves vehicles to disaster zones, and to organizing donation collections. I am proud of every one of them.
I understand that compared to the scale of loss suffered by many, our contribution of money and vehicles plays a small part. But, what I do hope is that the spirit of our employees sends a message to storm victims who are experiencing their darkest hour: That they are not alone, that GM is part of one, greater community and that we’ll always be there to help. And, perhaps more importantly—considering what our company has been through—things can and will get better.