Our View: Honda’s charitable giving program benefits region
It would be difficult to overestimate the economic impact of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama on our region since the company arrived here in 2001. With an estimated investment of facilities of $2 billion and about 4,000 jobs, not to mention suppliers that have located in the area, Honda is making a tremendous difference.

The company continues to grow and produce vehicles that earn high marks from industry and consumer publications, and just last week production began on the Acura MDX, joining the product line of Ridgeline pickups, Odyssey vans, Pilot SUVs and V-6 engines produced at the Lincoln factory.

Somewhat lesser known are the company’s charitable giving programs, which focus primarily on the five counties where most of the company’s employees reside — Talladega, St. Clair, Calhoun, Etowah and Jefferson.

In the past month, we’ve reported on two special gifts from the company to local non-profit organizations. The Marianna Greene Henry Arena and the Presbyterian Home for Children both were presented Honda Ridgeline pickups, gifts that will benefit their missions for years to come.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama has made more than $6 million in donations to area charities and organizations since its inception. Annual giving usually includes a couple of vehicles. This year there are a total of eight going to various non-profit agencies.

A committee of Honda managers and associates help make the decisions on gifts and grant requests in monthly meetings.

Employees who volunteer their time working for non-profit organizations can also earn contributions from Honda through summer volunteer programs and the HondaStar program.

Whether it’s through charitable giving or through volunteer involvement, employees have a voice in directing contributions in different directions to help benefit charities throughout the region.

The Marianna Greene Henry facility, in partnership with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, offers hippotherapy to special needs children through its Special Equestrians Program. The experience of riding on the back of a horse may seem like a special treat to the kids, but it is also a form of exercise and a method for helping them improve balance, muscle tone and body control in a multitude of ways.

The Presbyterian Home for Children was originally established as an orphanage after the Civil War, and today provides a wider range of services for children and their families through residential care, Hope Academy, and its Family Bridges program, an outreach focused on helping families work through difficult times to stay together safely.

Honda’s donations of Ridgeline pickups will help both organizations with their transportation needs as they work to meet important needs of those they serve.

We’re grateful for Honda’s presence here and for the company’s commitment to improving the quality of life throughout the region.

© 2013