Hyundai Promotes Community Development Across The U.S.

Moderator Nikita Desai and Director Zafar Brooks

Article by William Koestiono
Edited By Yvonne Lo

On June 13, 2013, The Korea Society established a corporate program called Korean Philanthropy: Hyundai’s Corporate Social Responsibility in North America. The program is committed to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy in North America. The guest speaker, Zafar J. Brooks, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Inclusion for Hyundai, addressed the company’s philanthropic mission and its social responsibility practices in the U.S.

Zafar J. Brooks is a veteran automotive executive. He entered the auto industry in 1986 after he graduated from Fisk University. He joined Hyundai Motor America in January 2005 as Western Region General Manager. As a GM, he was responsible for sales, marketing, distribution, and franchising for the Hyundai’s Western Sales. In 2006, he was named Director of General Affairs and in charge of Government Relations. In early 2007, his duties expanded to include Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Inclusion. In that role, he administered Hyundai North America and Hyundai’s largest philanthropic program – Hyundai Hope on Wheels (HOW), a non-profit foundation. As executive director for the foundation, he managed grant requests and oversaw the medical advisory committee. In 2010, he launched a new initiative with Hope on Wheels to raise additional funds and create greater public awareness for pediatric cancer during September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Brooks is trying to make a difference in the community using the Hyundai Hope on Wheels. Within the speech, he explained about the rise of Korean companies after the Asian Financial Crisis. Hyundai is among the top rising companies who managed to survive and expand their fleet to the neighboring countries. Brooks also mentioned the history behind the Hyundai Motor Global Social Contribution Activities in U.S.
In 1998, Hyundai Motor America (HMA) has been participating in the Hope on Wheels Campaign, supporting the research and treatments for childhood cancer. HMA uses social media such as Facebook, Google +, and Twitter as a way to increase public awareness for the organization. Hyundai also uses convention centers to broadcast their information in regard to the development of Hope on Wheels foundation. On March 28, 2013, Hyundai Motor America and its dealers announced the launch of their 15th year in the fight against pediatric cancer through their nonprofit, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, at the New York International Auto Show.
Brooks explained the meaning of Hyundai’s slogan “Moving the World Together.” It means Hyundai has devoted their support to its customers, suppliers, dealers, employees, and their valued community members. The connection between “Moving the World Together” and the Social Contribution Activities is proof of Hyundai’s commitment to bring the whole community to the next level. In these activities, Hyundai focuses on several important aspects such as education, water, and health Issues, arts & culture, environmental safety, and organization issue.

Hyundai wants to become proactive at overcoming cancer because cancer is one of the primary causes of death among children. Cancer continues to pose as a great threat in the developed countries especially in the U.S. Children’s bodies is very susceptible to illness. Although medical technology in U.S. can help treat cancer, if left unchecked it will remain dangerous. A child’s immunity system is different from an adult. Hyundai shows their support by donating research grants in pursuit of a cure for pediatric cancer. Hyundai has a Youth Ambassador program that consists of the survivors of the pediatric cancer. The survivors are randomly selected to become an ambassador to spread the words about the pediatric cancer research.

Brooks also announced that on June 18, 2013, Hyundai and MIND Research Institute partnership to improve math education of the early childhood across the U.S. Hyundai and MIND Research Institute will launch the Hyundai ST Math Initiative at the US News STEM Solutions national conference in Austin, Texas. A brief background was given about how early math skills have been proven to be the greatest factor of the later academic success and high school graduation. When the children’s knowledge is bolstered by the Hyundai ST Math Initiative, we hope to see them contributing more to the society and become successful people. The ST Math Initiative instructional software introduces math concepts via visual puzzles that will challenge the students to solve the problem. Students will learn at their own pace in computer labs, and the teachers will connect the puzzles to math concepts in the classroom lessons.

Hyundai also grant internships and scholarships for students who are pursuing an advanced education. Brooks explained about how the internships and scholarships happened in Hyundai. It is a very competitive program and once the students are accepted; Hyundai will train them based on their specialty. Brooks further explained about that at the internship students will work with Hyundai’s best-trained instructors and will receive money that can be used to cover their school expenses. One of the major examples is Hyundai supporting the Hispanic Caucus in U.S. Congress. Their program’s goal is to imbue the younger generation of Latinos and Latinas in the U.S. with inspiration and hope for learning and success. This is a great strategy by Hyundai because the program aims for more contribution to the development of U.S. society.

At the end of the discussion, Brooks answered several questions from the audience. The questions mainly addressed Hyundai’s participation in the community. They seemed curious on the commitment made by Hyundai to support the cancer society and help early childhood education. Brooks referred this question back to the beginning of the discussion about Hyundai’s slogan, “Moving the World Together.” “When we contribute to the society, we also contribute to the world; therefore we can make a difference to the world together with Hyundai.”

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