Audi Social Day – corporate citizenship in action
Audi held its first ever International Social Day on June 24, 2023. Employees from all Audi sites took part, with a focus on community, sustainability, and helping those in need. Here are some impressions from around the world!
Brussels: donations and support for unaccompanied refugee minors
A few weeks before Audi Social Day, Stephanie Van den Keybus asked her 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son to clear out their closets. The assistant to the head of human resources at Audi Brussels was collecting donated goods for refugee facilities run by the Belgian immigration agency Fedasil. "We were looking for toys and clothes in good condition," she explains. "Social Day is a good occasion to make my children aware of the hardships faced by people around the world and to show how we can help them.” Although the initiative is primarily intended for employees, it also positively impacts families, she adds.
The Fedasil Bordet shelter is located just four kilometers from the Audi plant. There, around 40 Audi employees sorted and distributed the donations. They also gave the building a thorough clean, built a playroom for small children, and prepared some baked treats. One of the volunteers was Annick Hernot, Secretary General and Head of Legal at Audi Brussels: "This house is home to many unaccompanied minors. It is very important to me to be involved with these young people who are much less fortunate in life than I am. That's why I want to give something back."
San José Chiapa: planting trees for biodiversity
At a quarter past nine on the morning of the Audi Social Day, there was a lot of activity at the community hall in San José Chiapa, Mexico. Groups of Audi employees were boarding buses that took them to the projects they participated in for Audi Social Day. In total, more than 130 people had signed up for the event over the weeks prior.
Gerardo Hernández González, who organized the volunteers’ efforts, explains: “From the beginning of our internal registration campaign, employees showed a lot of interest in being part of this very important day.” One of their missions for Audi Social Day: To plant 210 native trees in a local community where they can contribute to biodiversity. “I believe we must act with environmental awareness. It fills me with pride to work for a company that shares this belief,” says Gerardo Hernández.
Győr: logistics expertise for a good cause
Together with around 50 colleagues, Audi supply chain specialists Babett Nagy-Zobák and Ákos Doborhegyi showed total commitment on Social Day. There was a lot to do: The volunteers renovated an old building that serves as a central distribution center for local aid organizations. This meant painting walls, cleaning rooms, and putting up shelves. Project manager Nagy-Zobák was highly motivated: "The facility is located in Adyvaros, a poorer district of Győr. A lot of my family also lives here, and my son goes to daycare here."
While some of the hard-working volunteers were putting the finishing touches to the aesthetics of the building’s exterior, logistics specialists from Audi also set up a brand-new IT system inside the donation distribution center. This task allowed the Audi employees to contribute their practical experience. As Doborhegyi explains, "The people who work here are no logistics experts. However, storage, distribution, and order picking are our daily business. We want to help by applying this knowledge on a smaller scale here." The volunteers’ contributions are sure to support and facilitate the center’s efforts for a long time to come.
Neckarsulm: face-lift for the roof garden at a senior citizens' home
Things were a little quieter but no less busy on the roof terrace of the Richard Drautz Foundation senior citizens' home in Heilbronn. Twelve Audi employees volunteered at the facility, including five members of the Audi Women's Network and Jörg Herrmann, Head of Corporate Quality in Neckarsulm.
Together with the residents, the helpers planted raised beds, painted railings, and set up an outdoor seating area, including an awning. "The sense of togetherness between the generations is very important to us. Especially when you're doing handicrafts and gardening, you quickly get into conversation," says Anika Widmann from the women's network in Neckarsulm.
She had made the connection with the facility through a personal contact. "It means a lot to our residents when people volunteer their time to interact with them," says Elisabeth Palinkas, the home's director.
Ingolstadt: a climbing adventure with Felix Neureuther
While much of their daily lives usually revolves around their sick siblings, this time, they themselves were the center of attention: Twenty-five children had signed up for ELISA Familiennachsorge’s (“follow-up care”) day out in Ingolstadt, and now they were conquering the climbing gym. A group of ten Audi volunteers assisted the climbing children and kept the others entertained with creative games throughout the event.
"In families with seriously ill children, the siblings, the so-called shadow children, learn early on to put their own needs second. That makes it all the more important to show them that they, too, are noticed," says Nadine Dier of ELISA. "We are thankful for Audi’s continuous support for our efforts all year round. It's great to be part of the Audi Social Day and to have an Audi brand ambassador on board!"
A special highlight this year: the Audi employees brought along a celebrity guest. Former professional skier Felix Neureuther was there to ensure the children had an unforgettable day.