Farmington Hills, Mich. - As part of the company’s 125th anniversary activities, the Bosch Group, a leading supplier of technology and services, announced the launch of a U.S. foundation, effective January 2012. The Bosch Community Fund (BCF) will award up to $3 million in grants annually, providing additional support for the company’s charitable and community efforts in the U.S., with a focus on science, technology and environmental initiatives.
The announcement was made during the opening reception of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 on Sept. 21, where Peter Marks, chairman, president and CEO, Robert Bosch LLC and member of the Board of Management, presented opening remarks. Bosch is a supporting-level sponsor of the event.
The BCF is an extension of Bosch’s strong tradition of social responsibility and public spirit, deepens the company’s support of select programs in the communities in which it operates, as well as its focus on education, the environment and charitable causes. Bosch will self-fund the BCF, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. A regional advisory board will steer the selection of community efforts supported by the fund.
‘‘Based on the convictions of our company founder, Bosch’s commitment to social responsibility has been long held. We now expand our philanthropic efforts in the U.S. through the Bosch Community Fund,’’ said Marks. ‘‘We strongly believe in the importance of investing in the future of our communities. Far more than monetary support, the fund allows us to further promote science, technology, and environmental causes and actively illustrate the value we place on sustainability.’’
The BCF will consist of three unique components: site-based philanthropy, corporate initiatives and strategic reserve.
Half of the fund’s assets will be dedicated to site-based philanthropy activities. For a majority of Bosch communities, grants will be awarded based on select themes with an educational and environmental focus. With this funding, topics such as renewable energy can be further explored through partnerships with science and environmental education programs in kindergarten through grade 12 classrooms. This year Bosch implemented a pilot program totaling $125,000 that will award grants up to $5,000 to local schools in several communities, reinforcing among students how technology can be used to help conserve the earth’s resources.
Involvement with local communities The fund will expand Bosch’s support of organizations including United Way, engagement in programs such as SAE’s A World in Motion® and FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and university grants. This year, Bosch launched the Bosch Energy Research Network (BERN), a program in which the company invests approximately $10 million over eight years, working jointly with leading North American universities to achieve lasting developments in research and accelerate progress in the important fields of the environment, energy and mobility.
According to a recent study, charitable giving reached nearly $291 billion in 2010 in the U.S. Yet, only 5 percent of that giving was contributed by corporations. ‘‘At Bosch, doing business responsibly has many facets. Our definition includes economic, social and ecological factors,’’ said Maximiliane Straub, chief financial officer and executive vice president, Controlling, Finance and Administration, Robert Bosch LLC. ‘‘We have an obligation to future generations, and enhancing our corporate social responsibility efforts with the BCF will allow us to pursue this goal more aggressively.’’
The BCF will also assist the company with reserve funds for disaster relief and similar needs that may arise. Together, all three components will positively impact Bosch communities and foster an increased sustainability mindset through community and educational involvement.
Social responsibility ingrained
Bosch’s commitment to sustainability and corporate citizenship is reflected not only through its innovative products and services but also in its philanthropic approach. The BCF uniquely complements similar Bosch programs in Brazil, India and China, and broader efforts from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Since 1964, this foundation holds a 92 percent stake in the share capital of the company and carries on the philanthropic and social endeavors of the company’s founder, Robert Bosch. The share dividend received by the foundation is used exclusively for philanthropic and social purposes, including medical care and research through the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart, Germany, and programs focused on international understanding, training and education.