Vivian Pickard Explains General Motors’ Longtime Support of 100 Black Men of America

Vivian Piickard, president of the General Motors Foundation, speaks at the 100 Black Men of America Convention in South Florida as VP Eric Peterson looks on.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — General Motors and Cadillac have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the 100 Black Men of America Inc. organization because its masterful mentorship programs have transformed thousands of urban boys’ lives for decades. The global automaker reiterated its admiration and support during the renowned black male organization’s annual conference at the Westin Diplomat Resort Hotel in South Florida.
“We consider ourselves an A+ company, so we align ourselves with A+ organizations. And 100 Black Men is such an organization,” exclaimed Vivian Pickard, a vice president at General Motors who is also the president of the GM Foundation. “This organization started well over 25 years ago with a focus on mentoring. And if you look in the news these days, you will see that mentoring is now en vogue. So I’m very impressed that 100 Black Men of America knew the difference that mentoring would make in the lives of young individuals well over 25 years ago.”
100 Black Men is arguably the premiere organization in America in terms of mentoring and transforming the lives of young black men who go onto realize great success in life.
“You are an inspiring group of young men. The difference that you are making, and everyone of you continue to make, is admired by many,” Pickard said. “Over the years of our partnership we have provided $1.5 million to support this organization. And we are pleased to continue the support because we know, through your individual and group mentoring efforts, you are forging relationships that will positively impact our greatest resources, our youth.”
The General Motors Foundation frequently contributes to community and civic organizations that serve the areas of education, health and other initiatives. Even during the Great Recession that contributed to GM’s bankruptcy, the organization continue to give to 100 Black Men of America and other organizations such as the United Negro College Fund — and in far greater financial numbers than most other corporations.
The 100 Black Men is one of the organizations where the community can see the drastic changes and exponential growth in young black men, both scholastically and personally.
“The individuals that are shooting in the schools or wearing their pants down to their ankles … you don’t see any of that here (with 100 Black Men members). The men that are dropping out of school or missing 100 or some days of the school year, those are not the kind of young men you see connected with 100 Black Men of America,” Pickard continued. “These are the doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs of Black America. And they are taking the time to mentor these young men — and some women — I think it’s remarkable the work they are doing.”
Even during the company’s bankruptcy, when uncertainty and anxiety reigned at GM, Prickard recalls, employees continued to give to organizations such as 100 Black Men and the United Negro College Fund.
“I’m very proud of the work that we do as a company,” she said. “I’m really proud that the leadership of our community efforts start at the top. We have 50 leaders at General Motors who serve on various boards. Jocelyn Allen (multicultural marketing manager) serves on the Michigan Women’s Foundation. Eric Peterson (a vice president at GM), works with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the NAACP. These are just a few examples of the work we’re doing to make a difference.”

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