When a group of New England Hyundai dealerships and the Hyundai Motor Co. partnered in 1998 to form a local initiative to support the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, no one thought the effort would grow to become the national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization it is today. Now known as Hyundai Hope on Wheels, this independent organization is dedicated to helping children survive cancer. Its mission involves raising awareness, donating research funds, and celebrating the lives of those affected.
“Hyundai and its dealers are bridging the widening gap in childhood cancer research funding and have quickly become one of the largest and more innovative grant providers in the field,” explained Peter C. Adamson, Chairman of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).
Hyundai selects National Youth Ambassadors every two years to represent the courage and hope of those fighting pediatric cancer. These ambassadors travel across the country and share their stories with kids and families going through the same situations. For 2014-2015, the selected representatives are Ashley Burnette and Kenny Thomas.
Now in its 18th year, Hyundai Hope on Wheels is supported by over 800 dealerships across the country.
The Impact of Hyundai Hope on Wheels
Since 1998, Hyundai Hope on Wheels has raised and donated over $87 million to pediatric cancer research, including $14 million in 2014 alone. The funds are distributed as grants to innovative research institutions nationwide. As September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a majority of the fundraising and donations take place then, especially Hope Grants which are selected by the Hope On Wheels Medical Advisory Committee. Other donations throughout the year include the Impact Award, Hyundai Scholar Award, and Young Investigator Research Award. You can apply for a grant here.
The organization holds events such as handprint ceremonies, 5K races, and participation in the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. It also promotes awareness efforts on social media, such as the “Every Handprint Tells a Story” campaign. A financial portion of every Hyundai vehicle sale goes to Hyundai Hope on Wheels.
“Hope On Wheels is our fight to end pediatric cancer, and is at the soul of our work at Hyundai. With each car we sell, we make a contribution with our dealers to end this disease,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
For 2015, Hyundai Hope on Wheels will be continuing its successful “Just One Wish” campaign theme, which highlights the desire of families and doctors to discover a cure. Families can submit their own stories and photos to the campaign here. Or, express your support for families here. You can tag @HopeOnWheels in social media messaged using hashtags #EndChildhoodCancer or #HopeOnWheels.