Believe in Better

inspire

Believe in Better

Positive impact at a local-community level is core to Mazda’s unique philosophy, no matter where in the world it’s needed.

It has been Mazda’s mission over the past 100 years to enrich the lives of not just its drivers, but also the larger community. It’s why, for Mazda, putting a genuine spotlight on people and community is just as important as its rock-solid sustainability plans.

Namely, this includes supporting initiatives around the world that focus on three core pillars: environmental and safety practice, community contributions, and people-first development programs, helping bring leadership skills to all walks of life, including sport, as we see shortly.

By concentrating on these three pillars, Mazda believes it has the potential to positively impact social issues across the world. So important is this philosophy to Mazda that it’s effectively become part of the company’s DNA, with roots that can be traced right back to company founder Jujiro Matsuda in the 20th century. In 1961, the marque established Hiroshima’s Mazda Hospital to give back to employees and the wider community, and ensure their good health and peace of mind. Equipped with the most advanced medical equipment of the time, the hospital had ten departments, including internal medicine, paediatrics, surgery, ophthalmology, and radiology. It was open to employees and the wider community. Today, over half a century later, that sense of trust and support shows no sign of abating. As Masahiro Moro, President and CEO of Mazda, explains, “Our aim is to be a company that is trusted and continually chosen by people.”

“They’re protecting land from erosion, enhancing biodiversity, and creating shared green spaces.”

Melanie seyfort, HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS AND DEVELOPMENT, project crimson

As a direct result of this community focus, Mazda contributes to change at a grassroots level across the world. One good example of environmental practice at work is the New Zealand restoration program Project Crimson. Founded in 1990, the charity has been working with Mazda to protect native forests for the past 20 years. In addition to financial support, Mazda has also donated two vehicles adorned with imagery of native trees.

“We saw an ever-increasing need to help groups planting native trees to scale up their work,” explains Melanie Seyfort, Head of Partnerships and Development at Project Crimson. “In 2018, we launched Trees That Count, a platform that connects action for nature by providing a place for anyone to donate native trees (by way of a financial donation), which are then matched to one of the hundreds of incredible projects we support each year.”

As one of the first corporate supporters of Trees That Count, Mazda’s contributions have enabled some 170,000 native trees to be planted to date, in every region of the country. Ranging from mountain landscapes to riparian planting on farm catchments, each contributes to New Zealand’s rich natural, cultural, and social value.

“Every year we see increased demand for support from planting groups across New Zealand. The work these groups do is so important: they’re improving water quality, protecting land from erosion, enhancing biodiversity, and creating shared green spaces,” Seyfort says. “Every single native tree counts, and with Mazda’s help, the future’s looking brighter for all of us.”

“The generous donation of vehicles helps support our mission to alleviate suffering.”

Dominique Michiko Olson, SENIOR DIVISION PHILANTHROPY OFFICER, American Red Cross

One great example of community contributions is vehicle donations, and a meaningful example of this is the long-standing relationship between the North American Red Cross and Mazda, which spans three decades.

“Since 2015, 90 vehicles have been donated and delivered to Mazda dealerships all over the country, reaching Red Cross offices that are most in need of new transportation,” says Dominique Michiko Olson, Senior Division Philanthropy Officer of the American Red Cross Pacific Divisions.

The American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters annually across the country, including home fires, floods, and wildfires. “The generous donation of vehicles helps support our mission to alleviate suffering,” says Olson. “We also appreciate the vehicles’ versatility that allows us to meet a wide range of needs, from biomedical services to disaster response.”

Today, the partnership has expanded to include support for disaster relief and response, Holiday for Heroes, and the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces team, which provides comfort kits and critical information to veterans experiencing homelessness.

Keeping community at its core, Mazda is equally passionate about the positive impact sport provides. This includes everything from opportunities for social interaction and entertainment to identifying natural leaders and ambassadors to boosting the local economy and fostering civic pride. In turn, local sponsors often play a major role in supporting these clubs. Such was the case for Ringwood Mazda, a family-run dealership in Melbourne, Victoria, and a long-time supporter of the AFL East Ringwood Football Club.

The club serves a diverse range of players, with both men’s and women’s football teams, as well as those of the recently affiliated East Ringwood Netball Club. “Partnerships like these are essential for the survival and success of local grassroots clubs like ours,” says Mitch Keedle, who oversees the club’s sponsorship. “The funds are crucial for covering essential costs such as tape, player expenses, and playing apparel, ensuring that our 70+ Senior Men’s players and 30+ Senior Women’s players can continue to participate.”

“Our women’s football programme has thrived and we’re now competing in the premier women’s division. Our netball club has also enjoyed significant growth, with our top teams achieving multiple back-to-back premierships,” Keedle continues with palpable pride. “Moreover, our Senior Men’s programme, which had faced challenges in previous years, has regained its footing, returning to the top division and competing in the finals in 2023.”

“Having these opportunities just proves to them that they can do it, too.”

Kaylee Wilmot-Joe, TEACHER AND YOUTH MENTOR

And then there’s that integral local sport-leadership factor we mentioned earlier. Sport has played an important part in the life of Kaylee Wilmot-Joe, a middle-school teacher and youth mentor from New Brunswick, Canada, and a member of the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation. After participating in various sports as a youngster in her community, she began coaching children while still in her teens, and this passion for paying things forward has led to her recent selection as a Mazda Rising Legend.

Mazda Canada launched Rising Legends to honour outstanding Canadian youth, and each recipient was presented with $50,000. Her award is helping to support the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation youth summer programme, which encompasses sport, cultural teachings, art, cooking classes, and field trips for the children it serves.

Wilmot-Joe says, “I feel like I’m showing them what they’re able to do. Having these opportunities just proves to them that they can do it too, so that as I get older, someone will want to step up and do what I’m doing—to keep passing it on.”

In a similar vein, Mazda is committed to ongoing support of the community organisations and individuals who work to improve lives and enhance society in so many ways—a true mark of a good citizen.


Words Louise George Kittaka