Making a better world.

Time and time again BMW Group employees help people in need. The BMW Group supports this effort and has now presented the “Award for Social Engagement” for the seventh time

Almost 150 recommendations for BMW employees from 12 countries who help others voluntarily in their spare time have been submitted: A remarkable number, as there have never before been so many submissions for the BMW Group “Award for Social Engagement”. And a “problem” for all of those who have to select the engagements most worthy of the award: Which personal effort is particularly exceptional? Which is more extensive? Which perhaps even “more efficient”? “With their social projects, all of these employees aspire to realise an idea that will make the world just that little better,” says Milagros Caiña-Andree, board member of the BMW AG and patroness of the award. The social projects submitted this year are so multifaceted that they can hardly be compared with each other. Nevertheless, the jury comprising distinguished and responsible persons from the BMW Group ultimately had to nominate 13 projects for a final round. In the final that followed, projects in Italy, El Salvador, Cambodia and Morocco were each presented with the award including a prize money of 5,000 Euros. One of the award winners even received the special prize of the Doppelfeld Foundation, with which junior BMW Group employees are honoured each year for their social commitment.  

The award winners and their projects:

Élisabetta Salvati is a customer advisor employed with the BMW Group Milan in Italy. Under the umbrella of the Italian Red Cross, “Croce Rossa Italiana”, she has carried out shift work for the last ten years as a street social worker and medical assistant for Milan’s homeless.  She visits their night camps at the roadside, assists them and tries to help them reintegrate into society. She is engaged in this work for around 26 hours a month. Furthermore, she works for a network designed to improve the cooperation between volunteers, physicians and authorities. “Anyone can become homeless,” she says from experience. Asked by her laudatory speaker why she helped, she gave a simple answer: “Why not?”

Karim Zidane is an engine developer for the BMW Group in Munich. He came to Germany from his home country of Morocco as a 20-year-old hoping for a better future. Today, as chairman of the German-Moroccan Competence Network, he is committed to the integration of his compatriots in Germany and is involved in the fight against the causes of migration in his home country. The prize money will be used to refurbish a remotely situated school in the Atlas Mountains in order to provide children with education. He says he helps from the heart – “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” he quotes from a saying.  

Eva-Maria Lottner is a light system developer for the BMW Group in Munich.14 years ago she completed a voluntary social year in El Salvador. The large-scale violence that characterises this country to this very day does not prevent her from travelling there time and time again and to commit herself to the association, Asociación Jean Donovan, Friends of El Salvador, for underprivileged children in the slums. The association supports the children’s education and their medical care. With the prize money, many of those affected will now be able to visit a dentist for the first time. “Helping pays off,” says Lottner, who has forged many close connections to people during her engagements: “It is meaningful, broadens your horizon and enriches your own life.”

Martin Katzensteiner is a plant operator for the BMW Group Steyr in Austria. He was the youngest person to receive the prize of the Doppelfeld Foundation. At the age of just 22, he was building up his own life, but also taking care of others: Three years ago, he spent a voluntary year in a children’s village in Cambodia. Following this, he made up his mind to join the association “Tani – Perspectives for Children in Cambodia NGO” in ensuring orphans are provided with a safe home and education. From Austria, he organises charity runs at schools, building bridges between cultures. He says: “If you have the chance to help, you should do it.”