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Ford and General Motors: a 'driving' commitment to Habitat

Eight years ago, Ford employee Craig Erzen went on his first Habitat build. He was so enamored by the experience that he continued to volunteer his time with Habitat and is now the point person for Ford’s relationship with Habitat.

The volunteers at Ford are very committed volunteers. Erzen comments, “The Ford employees are into it. After their first day at a Habitat site, they always come back to build again and again.” Likewise, Ford is very committed to providing opportunities and avenues for employees to volunteer their time and skills. “I’m grateful that Ford allows me to be as involved with Habitat as I am,” says Erzen.

Ford’s international headquarters are located just outside of Detroit and many of the homes sponsored by Ford and built by Ford volunteers are in the metro Detroit area. For this year’s JCWP, Ford gave $500,000 in support, including sponsorship of four homes. With an eye toward sustainability, Ford has committed to sponsoring and building two more homes in September in the Detroit neighborhood where JCWP building is going on this week.

“I love, love, love it!” says Rick Nelson when asked how he feels about helping build a Habitat house. Nelson, who works for GMAC, has been on many builds in his hometown of Minneapolis, but this is his first JCWP.

General Motors/GMAC Financial Services is a half-million-dollar supporter of the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project, sponsoring homes in Detroit, Warren and Pontiac. Volunteers from GM and GMAC offices traveled from as far away as Minnesota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and California to work on the houses sponsored by GM/GMAC Financial Services.

Nelson has been impressed not only with GM/GMAC’s support for the Jimmy Carter Work Project, but also for those employees volunteering to build on homes: “The support of GM and GMAC for all their volunteers has been incredible. It feels so great to be here.”

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