In 2015, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC continued its long tradition of supporting the communities it calls home through a program that put its employees in hands-on, difference-making roles. It resulted in dozens of outreach projects that were proposed and supervised by the employees themselves.
Bendix employees from its North American operations in Acuña, Mexico; Bowling Green, KY; Elyria, OH; and Huntington, IN, submitted 85 projects for consideration that support environmental efforts, mobility and transport safety, social infrastructure, education and science, culture and sports, and health protection. Sixty of these projects were completed, putting to use more than $170,000 in funding from Knorr-Bremse Global Care (KBGC).
Knorr-Bremse Global Care is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group, Bendix’s parent company. As part of its 10-year anniversary celebration, Global Care expanded its existing Local Care funding program and launched a campaign to encourage Bendix employees to develop and submit their own project ideas, offering funds of up to $4,000 per project.
The campaign received an enthusiastic response from Bendix employees throughout North America, who year-round donate their time, talent and financial support to a wide range of community service programs, partnering with charitable and philanthropic organizations.
“We’ve known for a long time that our employees are incredibly generous with their time and resources when it comes to volunteering and community support,” says Maria Gutierrez, Bendix Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. “Even so, we were amazed at the number of proposals that were submitted, and how appreciative people were of the chance to receive Local Care funding for projects that mattered to them personally.”
In Acuña, Bendix employee Lilia Campos directed a $4,000 project to build a school library at Jardín De Niños Lucila Gonzalez Chapa, in order to encourage and foster reading in young children. More than 30 children of Bendix employees attend the school. Another Acuña employee, Jaime Chavez, arranged a $4,000 donation to the Rotary Club of Acuña, for use in funding free surgeries for children with cleft palates.
Bendix Huntington employee Ryan Douglas led a $1,900 project to purchase new uniforms and flag football equipment for the Huntington Parkview YMCA Champions League, which enables more than 30 kids with physical and mental challenges to participate in the program. Also in Huntington, Carl Johnson oversaw a $2,575 project to purchase improvements for the Huntington North High School marching band’s equipment trailer.
The Bendix team in Bowling Green developed a $4,000 project at the suggestion of employee Lori Hogue to help children attend camp at The Center for Courageous Kids, a local nonprofit serving the needs of children with disabilities. Additionally, Bendix employees volunteered during one camp session, supporting the campers they sponsored. This included meal preparation, medical care and assisting with activities like horseback riding, archery and swimming. A second $4,000 project, developed by employee Andrew Priquette, supported science education by helping 14 McNeill Elementary School students participate in the Odyssey of the Mind world competition in Michigan.
In Bendix’s Northeast Ohio home, employee Ron Tamunday guided a $3,975 project to assist Building Hope in the City. Funding provided English as a second language (ESL) training for refugees who have been relocated to the Cleveland area, supporting employment and integration into the community. And Local Boy Scout Troop 122 received $3,833 for educational materials and camping gear, thanks to a project idea submitted by Belinda Van Keuren.
Other employee-led Local Care projects included anti-bullying efforts in elementary schools, safety gear for volunteer search-and-rescue teams, youth soccer equipment, and local workshops teaching professional skills. Local Care also reflects Bendix’s longstanding dedication to supporting communities, playing a part in the Bendix Corporate Responsibility program, which aims to grow active social involvement among employees through leadership and project management experience.
“Employees who participated saw firsthand how Bendix supports what matters to them, and the company’s appreciation of what they do for their communities on their own time,” Gutierrez says. “Once we shared the possibilities, the word started spreading, and other employees began thinking about volunteering, participating, and making a difference. It’s proof of how relatively small efforts can lead to big changes and better places, as everyone gets involved.”