● Chairman and CEO, Ford Iberia
● 34-year Ford Employee
● Lifetime volunteer
Volunteering is an honor and an opportunity. Over the years, it has given me back so much more than I could have ever given. In terms of happiness, peace of mind and personal development, I have been enriched by the time I spend with disabled children and adults of Madrid."
Jesus Alonso joined Ford in 1986. He has been generous with his time, giving to volunteer organizations ever since. As he moved throughout Ford of Europe, Jaguar Land Rover and Ford Iberia in positions of increasing responsibility, his commitment to those in need has remained a constant.
Around Ford offices in Madrid, Alonso is known for his eagerness to roll up his sleeves and serve as a role model for his entire team. His days are more than full due to his responsibilities as managing director, Ford of Spain and chairman and CEO of Ford Iberia (Spain and Portugal). Still, he finds time to serve breakfast to the homeless at the Church of St. Anton, lead the company and dealer Social Responsibility Committee, and dedicate considerable time to children's programs.
"In one way or another, I am involved in all the Ford volunteer programs that take place in Spain. The Social Responsibility Committee that I serve on channels all initiatives. And it is important for me to be involved and to know that we are making a difference for the people we promise to serve," Alonso said.
The initiative in which Alonso takes most pride is his organization's support of Fundacion APASCOVI, an occupational therapy center for disabled children and adults. For 16 years, Ford and Ford Credit employees in Madrid have helped to make the center all that it can be.
"The action that I am most passionate about is the annual visit to APASCOVI. Every year since 2004, more than a hundred employees of Ford Spain and Ford Credit travel to APASCOVI Occupational Center just outside of Madrid to perform tasks of improvement, adaptation and maintenance of the facilities. We also interact and work with the members and employees of the center.
"The happiness and gratitude shown from the people in the center every year is really rewarding for all of us who attend," he said.
"In all of these years, Ford employees have carried out activities such as constructing a wall, exterior painting, canopy rehabilitation, weed pruning, flower replanting as well as interacting and socializing with the children."
Two other programs that have captured Alonso's heart are the Bobath Foundation and the Small Wish Foundation, both serving children.
"During Christmas, Ford Madrid employees distribute gifts and presents to children with cerebral palsy through our partnership with the Bobath Foundation. And for the Small Wish Foundation, we organize a solidarity raffle where the profits are used to fulfill the wishes of children with chronic diseases."
Alonso loves to tell about his friend, 7-year-old Jacobo who has a degenerative disease and wanted only to be able to ride a bicycle with his brother and friends. The Small Wish raffle, which raised 6,000 euros in five years, funded the purchase of a bicycle adapted for Jacobo so he can ride with ease and confidence.
Though he cannot pinpoint a specific event that made him realize the importance of volunteering, he knows it has made his career at Ford more rewarding.
"After so many times performing volunteer work, it is really impossible to determine a specific moment that was most gratifying. I always enjoy when I see how important these actions are for this part of the society that is sometimes forgotten.
"I feel grateful for what I have and fully concur with what Henry Ford said about the importance of giving: "But to do for the world more than the world does for you—that is success.
Managed by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Ford Volunteer Corps is a global network of Ford employees and retirees who have contributed more than 1.7 million volunteer hours in community service projects since 2005. To celebrate 15 years of serving communities around the world, Ford Fund is recognizing 15 Ford Volunteer Corps All Stars—Ford employees who are dedicated to community service, and go above and beyond in their efforts to help people in need.