At our Toms River Mazda dealership, we feel that many of our customers consider driving to be a fairly solitary activity, but as a representative of the Mazda brand, we feel it can be much more than that. In fact, thanks to the Mazda Drive for Good event, Mazda North American Operations has found a way to build a philanthropic community of Mazda drivers and dealerships.

In its third year, the growth of the Mazda Drive for Good continues to promise significant support to the operation and impact of charitable services and, as a result, the communities that both serve. The automaker recently announced a total donation of $5,354,550 to select charities for an increase of 8.4 percent over 2015 giving. What’s more, Mazda employees and dealers throughout the country have pledged to donate more than 72,000 hours of charitable service over the coming year through a number of local charitable service opportunities for an increase of 9.1 percent over 2015.

Held between Nov. 23, 2015, and Jan. 4, 2016, the Mazda Drive for Good event promised to donate $150 to one of four national charities or 46 local charities for each Mazda vehicle purchased throughout the event’s duration. Additionally, the automaker pledged one hour of charitable service for each test drive of a new Mazda vehicle that was taken during the event.

National charities included the American Red Cross, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Heart Association and Mazda Foundation. The choice of charity was given to the customer. Customers who purchased a vehicle during the event time period still have until the end of this month to make their donation.

The official event may be over, but the impact of its commitment lives on in communities like ours every day.