In 1998, a group of New England-area Hyundai dealers launched a local initiative to raise funds to support pediatric cancer through the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. What started as a small contribution in a local market has evolved into Hyundai Hope On Wheels®, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Hope On Wheels is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to celebrate the lives of the children battling the disease.
Every time a new Hyundai vehicle is sold in the U.S., Hyundai customers join Hyundai and its dealers in funding important life-saving research through the organization's signature Hyundai Scholar Grant and Hyundai Hope Grant programs. Since its inception 14 years ago, Hope On Wheels has donated more than $45 million to pediatric cancer research at institutions nationwide, and by year-end 2012 will have committed more than $57 million.
The Hope On Wheels Scholar Grant program began in 2006 and each year visits children's hospitals across the U.S. to donate funds and raise awareness for childhood cancer research. All stops during this program include a Hope On Wheels "Handprint Ceremony," the program's signature event which celebrates the lives of the brave children battling the disease by capturing their colorful handprints on a white Hyundai Tucson, the official 2012 program vehicle.
Why handprints? Because there's nothing more personal than a handprint – and part of the Hope On Wheels' mission is to share the personal triumphs of each of these children with other childhood cancer patients and their families across the country. Whether it's completing a round of chemo, celebrating a beautiful new head of hair or receiving a clean bill of health, one childhood cancer patient's milestone can be another's symbol of hope.
In 2010, Hope On Wheels expanded its historic commitment to battling childhood cancer in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September), with its Hyundai Hope Grant program, donating $6.8 million in the form of $100,000 research and programmatic Hope Grants to 68 nonprofit institutions across the country. For its 2nd annual National Childhood Cancer Awareness program in 2011, Hope On Wheels awarded seventy one $100,000 Hope Grants to nonprofit institutions, totaling $7.1 million in donations for the month of September alone.
Additionally, in 2011, Hope On Wheels made its single largest research grant award in the amount of $10 million to CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County. The funds are being used for a project focused on pediatric genomics research. The new research center was named, the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children's.
Hyundai and its dealers continue their commitment to battling childhood cancer in 2012 and officially launched the Hope On Wheels Scholar program at the New York International Auto Show on April 5 and will launch the Hyundai Hope Grant program on September 1.