Zafar Brooks, Hyundai Motor America’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Diversity, has in many ways led the conscience of the company. Charged with guiding the company’s charitable giving and diversity outreach, Brooks oversees Hyundai Motor America’s commitment to a broad spectrum of communities.
Leading initiatives like the Hyundai Hope on Wheels® effort to eradicate childhood cancer and guiding the company’s participation in projects like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial project, Brooks serves as the ambassador of Hyundai’s generosity. Whether at a ribbon cutting for a local high school math lab, or handing over the ceremonial giant check to a parent community service organization with Tavis Smiley, Brooks’ job is to represent Hyundai’s commitment to corporate responsibility.
Before Hyundai, Brooks held senior executive positions with Volkswagen of America and Ford Motor Company. He joined Hyundai Motor America in January of 2005. In November of 2006, he was named the company’s Director of General Affairs, in charge of Government Relations and Diversity Inclusion. In 2007, Brooks’ duties were expanded to include corporate social responsibility activities for Hyundai in the U.S., and leading the company’s largest philanthropic effort—Hope on Wheels, which has donated more than $57 million to pediatric cancer research at institutions nationwide since its inception over 14 years ago.
An HBCU graduate (Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.), Brooks spearheaded the creation of Hyundai’s Scholars program that provides grant funding to support innovative ideas in research or patient care for pediatric cancer. In 2010, Brooks also helped launch the largest annual philanthropic donation effort ever for Hyundai, with an initiative to award nearly $7 million to researchers during the month of September—National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Recognized by Decisive Media’s Urban Wheel Awards as one of the nation’s most progressive automotive executives, Brooks’ stewardship of Hyundai’s diversity and corporate responsibility efforts is supported in no small part by Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik’s belief that “from those to whom much is given, much is expected.” Backing Hyundai’s diversity and philanthropic efforts in every way possible, Krafcik fully embraces the company philosophy of inclusiveness and responsibility to community.
For the past two years, Brooks has organized Hyundai’s partnership with Decisive Media and the Urban Wheel Awards, which donates thousands of winter coats to Detroit youth in conjunction with the organization Focus: HOPE during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Additionally, Hyundai donated $10,000 to Focus: HOPE in support of that organization’s efforts.
Of his work, Brooks says, “Hyundai is dedicated to helping build stronger communities and families through our outreach and philanthropic programs. Our overarching goal is to improve the lives of people in the communities in which we live and work.”