Giving Back

You know who we are by the difference we make.

In every community where we work and live, we take our responsibilities as citizens very seriously. We welcome the opportunity to make a difference.

American values like respect for hard work, diversity, social responsibility and active sustainability are integral characteristics of our company culture. We renew our commitment each day through our corporate programs and employee involvement.

We’re a responsible partner — on the road and in your neighborhood.

2011 marks the 12th year that Volkswagen Group of America has dedicated itself to supporting initiatives surrounding Americans with disabilities.  As part of this on-going commitment, we recently celebrated the accomplishments of 15 young artists with disabilities at a Capitol Hill reception co-hosted with VSA.   VSA is an international organization founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all.  This also marks the 10th year that our company has worked with this important program.

The award-winning artists, who are all younger than 25, live with a disability.  Their work was selected out of a field of more than 120 submissions through a highly competitive process that involved being juried by a panel of critical professional artists.  Volkswagen Group recognized their accomplishments in the form of significant financial support—$2,000, $10,000, even $20,000 to the grand prize winner —to apply toward their education, art supplies, and studio space.

VSA Executive Director Betty Siegel commended our company for the vision and support we have provided over the last 10 years by helping more than 100 talented artists and providing  more than $1 million to support young people with disabilities, including more than $400,000 in cash awards to artists.

The grand prize went to Dimelza Broche of Jacksonville, Fla. Her piece, Soul Reader, is an oil-on-canvas piece that we hope to have displayed at corporate headquarters in January, along with several of the other award-winning pieces.

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More than 30 Volkswagen Parts Service Center (PSC) and Customer Service Center (CSC) employees in Chicago and Portland recently let their mustaches grow in recognition of “Movember,” an annual November tradition in which thousands of men in the U.S. and around the world raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

With the support of the women in their lives, “Mo Sistas,” Movember “Mo Bros” raise funds by seeking out sponsorships for their mustache-growing efforts. The team “Stache for Cash” organized a Movember event at the PSC and the CSC, offering employees a day to wear jeans, called “Casual Tuesday,” if they contributed to the Movember charity collection. As a result of this effort, the centers raised $623.

The Stache for Cash teams raised a grand total of $3,183 for the Movember fundraiser.

Kevin Walker, Stache For Cash’s team captain, expounded on why he and his colleagues decided to grow their mustaches for a cause:

Q.   Kevin, can you tell me a little about your experience throughout the month of Movember?

A.    A small group of seven guys in our work area decided to band together, sacrifice our upper lips and participate in the Movember cause. Once word of our participation spread, there was a lot of interest from others in joining the team. We ended up with 39 team members from both the Portland and Chicago Service Centers, including men and women, to help raise money and awareness for men’s health.

The Movember organization supports prostate cancer and other male cancer. Specifically, donations are distributed to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. We have found that this is a cause that doesn’t often get the type of attention other serious health concerns receive, and this would be a fun way to show our support. We set a fairly lofty goal of trying to collect at least $3,000 in donations as a team while growing mustaches to show our commitment. At first, seeing so many of us strolling the hallways with underdeveloped mustaches was a bit strange and even creepy. But as nature took its course, the bond amongst the “Mo Bros” grew, which led to a lot of good-natured joking, but also an appreciation that so many of us would be willing to look a little unusual in efforts to raise awareness.

I think some of the Mo Bros were surprised to see the results come the end of the month both on their face and in the team donations! I am really excited to report that as of the end of Movember our team has secured $3,183 in total donations. We had a lot of fun along the way, which makes the results even more gratifying.

Q.   Is there a story behind why you decided to get involved with Movember?

A.    I’ve found that men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, don’t get the same sort of attention as other health problems. I think there’s a tendency among many men not to discuss these sorts of topics or quite simply not be informed enough about them to join a discussion. Unfortunately, there seems to be a sort of stigma attached to the topic of prostate cancer. An event such as Movember gives men and women a reason to talk about this important topic all while having a little fun. I think the light side of Movember makes it “ok” for everyone. Through activities such as Movember I feel the stigma is being broken and more men are willing to join the discussion, not to mention put focus on their own health.

I would encourage work teams across our organization to get involved each year and sacrifice your faces for men’s health. It’s worthwhile and is one of the best teambuilding experiences I’ve been a part of.  I’d be honored to have new Mo Bros join us next Movember!

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VWGoA CEO Jonathan Browning and President of the MLK Memorial Foundation, Harry E. Johnson

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. donated $1 million to the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. The gift will support the memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. honoring Dr. King.

“This donation is a concrete memorial to Volkswagen Group’s long standing commitment to the principles of diversity and inclusion,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We see it as a way to thank our customers and employees across this great country that represent every creed and color.”

“It is so fitting that Volkswagen Group is part of this historical commemoration of our nation’s greatest civil rights leader,” said Harry E. Johnson, Senior, President and CEO of the Memorial Foundation.  “With their headquarters in the greater Washington area, it is clear that Volkswagen Group is putting down roots and giving back to the community.”

Located on the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial creates a visual line of leadership between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The memorial will be an engaging landscape experience conveying four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love – and features the use of natural elements including water, stone, and trees. A 450-foot inscription wall will feature more than a dozen Dr. King quotes engraved into granite to serve as a lasting testament and reminder of Dr. King’s humanitarian vision. The memorial will include the “Mountain of Despair” and the “Stone of Hope,” which will feature a 30-foot sculpture of Dr. King.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for hope, freedom and justice.  Volkswagen is proud to be among the many groups to honor his life and his message.  We are grateful to be part of this historic moment,” added Browning.

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Hundreds of National Urban League Conference attendees, along with employees of State Street Corporation and Volkswagen Group of America, weeded gardens, read to preschoolers and assembled care packages throughout Boston as part of a Volunteer Day of Service.

“Boston has been incredibly welcoming and hospitable though our Conference and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to show our gratitude,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “As I like to say, we are not a think tank, we’re not a talk tank – we are a do tank, and were happy to partner with State Street and Volkswagen Group of America to put our energy to work in service in Boston’s neighborhoods.”

Working with Boston Cares, volunteers fanned out to a dozen sites, including the Dimmock Center for health and human services, the Shirley Eustace House, American Red Cross, and Elizabeth Stone House for women and children in crisis.

“We believe it’s important to not only be known as a car company, but to be known as a company that cares about the communities where we live and do business,” said Machelle D. Williams, General Manager for Diversity and Organizational Development at Volkswagen. “We value our partnership with the National Urban League and the opportunity it gives us to make an impact in the community.”

George Russell, Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Citizenship at State Street Corporation, said, “Being active in the community is part of who we are, which is why we are so proud to support the National Urban League’s volunteer day of service in Boston -a community we’ve been part of for more than 200 years.”

This is the second year Volkswagen has sponsored the Volunteer Day of Service.  State Street Corporation also is a title sponsor of the Conference.

Taken from National Urban League press release.

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Fifty members of Volkswagen Group of America’s (VWGoA) Parts Logistics team recently spent two days giving a local senior citizen facility a much-needed facelift. Team members made several improvements to the interior and exterior of the Meadow Creek Senior Facility on June 8th and 9th in Auburn Hills, Mich., including washing windows, painting, lawn maintenance and grounds cleanup.

Meadow Creek is a non-profit, low-income senior housing facility located just a few miles from VWGoA in Auburn Hills.

“Giving back to the local community and doing so as a team is important to Parts Logistics,” said Mary Jo Farley, RED Order Specialist. “It gives the entire team an opportunity to participate, and it provides a sense of team accomplishment as well as an opportunity to interact with team members you may not deal with daily.” Read more »

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Audi Best BuddiesOn Tuesday, April 5th, Audi of America presented 14 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) with a once-in-a “lifetime opportunity” when it hosted the Best Buddies Virginia Ambassador training in its corporate headquarters. Best Buddies Virginia (BBVA) currently operates chartered chapters in 30 middle schools, high schools and colleges across the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the District of Columbia, enriching the lives of more than 13,500 individuals annually. Read more »

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