A report on corporate social responsibility published by Deloitte in July said that "the personal interests of company leadership" were growing in importance. The partnership between the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Ford of Britain, scheduled to raise £100,000 in 2011, illustrates how personal interests, not marketing calculation, can sway a choice of charity.
In 1983, the first fundraising event organised by Ford for the JDRF took place. Edsel B Ford II, the great-grandson of Henry, started supporting the JDRF because his son Albert was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Since then, $20m (£12.9m) has been raised by Ford globally, £750,000 of it in Britain. The UK branch of the JDRF, affiliated to the US charity, was founded in 1986 with the aim of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
In 2011, Ford of Britain is marking its centenary year by attempting to raise another £100,000 through its 700 dealerships in the UK.
Karen Addington, chief executive of JDRF, says the charity has struggled to achieve greater public understanding of type 1 diabetes. It is different from the more common type 2, often called late-onset diabetes, and can reduce life expectancy by 20 years.
The partnership with Ford is enabling the charity to explain its cause to the public. "At the point of sale in the showroom, the JDRF has provided a lot of materials, explaining what type 1 diabetes is all about, and what regime those who have the condition need to follow in order to stay alive," says Joe Greenwell, chairman of Ford Britain.