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MAZDA FOUNDATION (USA), INC. AWARDS GRANTS TO A DOZEN COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

-Over $350,000 awarded to serve children, education and environment-

Dec 9, 2010

WASHINGTON -- December 9, 2010 – The Board of Directors of the Mazda Foundation have announced the grant recipients for the 2011 fiscal year (ending September 30, 2011).  As the corporate foundation of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), the Mazda Foundation has donated more than $7 million to children’s organizations, educational scholarships, food banks, environmental programs and disaster relief efforts since 1992.

In FY 2011, over $350,000 in grants were awarded to 12 organizations that work to enrich the lives of the members of their respective communities. Grants were awarded to:

•    Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Greenville, SC
•    Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, Santa Ana, Calif.
•    Dillard University, New Orleans, LA
•    Gleaner’s Community Food Bank, Detroit, Mich.
•    Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, Calif.
•    Project Access, Newport Beach, Calif.
•    Second Harvest Food Bank, Irvine, Calif.
•    Shoes That Fit, Claremont, Calif.
•    Start the Adventure in Reading, New Orleans, LA
•    Student Conservation Association, Charlestown, NH
•    University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC
•    Youth For Understanding, Bethesda, MD

“We’re proud that the Foundation is able to give back to the many communities in which we work and live,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of MNAO and Chairman of the Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc.  “By supporting innovative and dynamic organizations we are able to successfully take on the challenges of today and lay the foundation that will underpin a brighter future for tomorrow.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is a state-of-the-art education program in the Southeast that focuses on automotive research and other transportation and advanced manufacturing issues. As part of the partnership, the Mazda Foundation supports the CU-ICAR / Mazda Annual Graduate Fellowship Program, from which three fellowships are provided to graduate students majoring in automotive engineering at the university. The fellowships are performance-based and renewable for up to three years.

Funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) provides crucial training and supervision for volunteers who will give one-one-one support and advocacy to 640 abused and neglected children in Orange County every year. The partnership with the Mazda Foundation results in over 1,300 volunteer hours devoted to improving the lives and futures of these vulnerable children and teens.

Dillard University, a private, liberal arts, Historically Black College or University, located in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, has partnered with the Mazda Foundation since 1998 to fund the Mazda Scholars Program which provides scholarships to students who are majoring in Business and International Business.

In light of Mazda’s operations near Detroit and the area’s high unemployment rate (over 14%), Gleaners Community Food Bank receives Mazda Foundation funding for the first time in FY 2011. Last year, Gleaners distributed more than 36 million pounds of emergency food to over 484 partner soup kitchens, shelters and pantries in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties. Of every dollar donated, Gleaners uses 96 cents for food and food programs. One dollar provides three meals for a hungry resident.

Located in Mission Viejo, California, the Mission Hospital provides patients with high quality, accessible and affordable medical and surgical care along a continuum, as well as wellness and health promotion programs for the entire community.  Contributions from the Mazda Foundation will be used to fund the addition of two new operating rooms to meet the surgical demand at the hospital.

The Project Access After-School Tutoring and Enrichment Program in Orange County targets school-age youth by providing after-school tutoring / homework help, computer and Internet instruction / access, educational games, reading groups as well as productive enrichment activities, e.g. arts and crafts, physical activities, healthy snacks, character education, teen activities, service projects and field trips. Contributions from Mazda go toward after-school homework help supplies, youth enrichment activities, field trip expenses, and upgrades of the computer labs.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, CA, collects food and distributes it to more than 385 local member charities. These non-profit agencies include senior centers, rehabilitation centers, shelters, church pantries, homes for abused children and many other emergency assistance organizations.  The Mazda Foundation’s funding specifically helps initiatives designed to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among the elderly, a program designed to curb the effects of malnutrition experienced by children living in poverty, and a holiday project created to provide traditional holiday meals for those who would otherwise go without.

Operating out of Claremont, CA, Shoes That Fit helps build the self-esteem of low-income schoolchildren by providing them with new shoes and clothing so that they can attend school in comfort and with dignity. Since 1992, Shoes That Fit school programs in over 750 schools nationwide have delivered new shoes and clothing items to nearly 500,000 children. In Southern California where Mazda’s headquarters is located, more than 30,000 schoolchildren in need have received new shoes and clothing.

More than 238 second grade students from 33 public elementary schools in the greater New Orleans area receive free one-on-one tutoring in reading through Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR). The Mazda Foundation’s grant will allow STAIR to continue to provide greatly needed educational assistance to children in New Orleans. STAIR student/volunteer teams read together, play world games, practice phonics and write stories following a specially designed curriculum to bring the student up to their grade level in reading. 

In order to demonstrate the Mazda Foundation’s commitment to environmental preservation, a partnership was forged with the Student Conservation Association in 1998 to create the Mazda "Save Our American Resources" (SOAR) program. Through SOAR, Mazda sponsors a natural or cultural resource assistant at a national park, forest or monument in each of the 50 states. Resource assistants provide services ranging from trail maintenance and protection of endangered species to guided historical monument tours. Since the SOAR Program was initiated, 600 college-age SOAR interns have provided needed staff support at over 150 natural resource management sites in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. SOAR Interns have completed more than 410,000 hours of service on our country’s public lands.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) is a comprehensive, multi-cultural institution with a long and rich history of providing excellent education to minority groups and other disadvantaged students.  More Native American students attend UNCP than any other educational institution east of the Mississippi River.  Five Native American students majoring in Business Administration have been awarded four-year, full-tuition Mazda Scholarships. The Mazda Scholarships are the first full tuition, room and board scholarships ever given by a corporate foundation to the university.

For more than 20 years, Mazda has been promoting cross-cultural relations between the U.S. and Japan through its contributions to Youth For Understanding. Mazda scholarship funding provides an opportunity for 10 high-school aged students to spend six-weeks in Japan each summer. Each year, half of the scholarships are given to children of MNAO employees or Mazda dealer employees. The remaining scholarships are awarded based on a nationwide competition open to all high school students. Students live for six weeks with a Japanese host family, learn to speak and write Japanese, and immerse themselves in daily life.

To learn more about the Mazda Foundation, please visit www.mazdafoundation.org

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