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BMW Group Awards for Social Commitment presented

Five BMW Group employees honoured for volunteer commitment +++ Additional awards for five other finalists +++

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Munich. The BMW Group has once again recognised employees around the world for their outstanding social commitment this year. The BMW Group Awards for Social Commitment were presented to five employees, two of whom received special awards from the Vera and Volker Doppelfeld Foundation. Each award is endowed with 5,000 euros, which benefits the respective service projects directly. This year's award-winners come from India, Germany and South Africa. Owing to the special circumstances this year, five additional finalists will each receive a financial award of 2,500 euros, which will also benefit these employees’ service projects.


“Courageous commitment to society is increasingly important, especially in unprecedented times like the current pandemic. Encouraging every individual to take responsibility is a priority for me. Our Employee Awards contribute to this by recognising our associates’ commitment,” explained Ilka Horstmeier, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources and patron of the award.


Many BMW Group employees are involved in volunteering – in their own region or in international projects. The diversity of this commitment is also reflected by the candidates for the award: The 111 applications submitted came from 16 different countries. Due to current hygiene requirements, this year’s award ceremony was held as a digital event broadcast to different locations worldwide. 


International commitment


After just six months with the BMW Group, Sankar Sundaralingam from Chennai, India has been recognised with the BMW Award for his Ooruni Foundation. As a co-founder and trustee, Sundaralingam has been involved since 2015 in providing an educational support programme for AIDS orphans and organising a job market for people with disabilities, as well as collecting food donations for people in need and launching various environmental campaigns. He plans to use the cash prize to finance the studies of 22 young people.


Ludwig Donharl has worked as an energy maintenance engineer at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing since 1987. He has shown a selfless dedication to helping young people in Kenya since taking a holiday there in 2017 – building a school for 200 children and eight teachers largely on his own initiative. Donharl realises a wide range of different projects with the donations he collects, including supporting a young man who had suffered an accident and needed an operation so he could return to work. Donharl’s colleagues recognised his outstanding personal commitment with the BMW Group Associate Award, which was presented for the first time this year. All company employees had the chance to choose one of the award-winners in an online vote.


Jörg Kaufmann founded the Children's Cancer Research Society. As its chairman, he and the organisation’s 45 members set themselves the goal of making childhood cancers curable – no matter how rare the cancer may be. The association has funded research projects worth more than one million euros over the past ten years. The organisation's biggest success so far was in promoting an antibody therapy that has now become well established. The prize money from the BMW Group Award will benefit a cancer research project at the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital in Munich. 


The Vera and Volker Doppelfeld Foundation will present not one, but two special awards this year. One of these will go to another founder: Solly Makgatho from South Africa. The production employee realised there was great need for safe accommodation for children in his community. While volunteering as a legal advisor, he submitted his idea for a separate relief organisation to the government – laying the foundation for the Gauteng Community Organisation (GCO) in 2011. Since then, the organisation has provided no fewer than 120 orphans with shelter, care and education. The children live in so-called “Green Houses” offering safety, meals and therapy. The financial award will be used to renovate existing accommodation.


The Doppelfeld Foundation's second special award went to Sipho Machaka, also from South Africa. In addition to working in the paint shop at Plant Rosslyn, he also serves as a mentor, advisor and trainer at the Golden Youth Club (NPO). This dynamic initiative offers dance, art and music projects so children and teenagers can occupy their time in a meaningful way. There are also opportunities for the young people to educate themselves about environmental topics and human rights. Machaka himself teaches them how to live a sustainable lifestyle and seeks to boost their self-esteem. It is already clear what the next project will be: He wants to use the financial award to set up a youth centre.


Since there can be no official award ceremony this year, due to the pandemic, the BMW Group has decided to offer all remaining finalists a financial award. The employees will each receive 2,500 euros for their efforts to ensure disadvantaged families in Kenya can afford health insurance; to support people with disabilities in Tunisia; to provide hospice care; to develop a test system to identify Covid-19 infections; and to give people with Down syndrome in South Africa the chance of living a fulfilling life. The BMW Group Awards for Social Commitment have been presented since 2011. Almost 1,000 projects have been showcased and 38 award-winners honoured to date.



If you have any questions, please contact:


Corporate Communications


Angela Konert, Corporate Communications, Human Resources

Telephone: +49 89 382-50591, 


Eckhard Wannieck, head of Corporate and Culture Communications

Telephone: +49 89 382-24544, 


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The BMW Group


With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2019, the BMW Group sold over 2.5 million passenger vehicles and more than 175,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2019 was € 7.118 billion on revenues amounting to € 104.210 billion. As of 31 December 2019, the BMW Group had a workforce of 126,016 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.






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