Founded in 1903, Ford Motor Company has always believed that it is important to invest in communities and in people. In the early 1900’s, Ford’s $5/day wage, regardless of race, provided economic opportunity that helped to establish the black middle class. Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm Ford Motor Company Fund remain committed to funding vital programs in the African American community. This is true in good times and in bad. In fact, over the past several years, Ford’s support of African American-focused community programs has totaled more than 50 million dollars. This includes years in which the country was in a major recession.
Ford believes that education is the key to providing opportunities for people to realize their dreams. In addition to millions of dollars in scholarships provided each year, Ford supports innovative educational programming such as hackathons, which teach youth how to develop apps, and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives. Ford partners with the Tom Joyner Foundation on the Fantastic Voyage and the HBCU community challenge to support HBCU’s. The HBCU challenge awards a total of $100,000 to HBCU students to implement sustainable solutions to improve their communities. Other educational organizations supported by Ford include UNCF, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.
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Honoring those who valiantly serve our country has been a tradition at Ford for almost a century. In 1922 our founder, Henry Ford, provided 50 Model T’s to transport disabled veterans to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) convention in California. Ford remains a major supporter of DAV today providing funds and vehicles to transport veterans to hospitals to receive the care they need. Ford is also a major sponsor of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum. In 2007, Ford sponsored the celebratory reception when the Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in our nation’s Capital. Ford also supports Reboot, an organization that helps veterans readjust to civilian life after leaving the military.
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Teen Driving Safety
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2005 Ford partnered with the Governor’s Highway Safety Association to develop Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL), an online and hands-on teen driver educational program. The nationally recognized DSFL program teaches newly licensed drivers about core skills needed to help improve their safety on the road. Since it was started DSFL has trained approximately 750,000 youth.
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Celebrating our History
Celebrating the vast contributions the African American community has made to our country and to our world is an important aspect of Ford’s community engagement. Ford contributed $2 million to the MLK memorial on the national mall in Washington DC and $1 million to the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History that will open later this year. The Ford Freedom Award program has celebrated the achievements of African Americans such as Coretta Scott King and Jackie Robinson for 17 years. Ford’s Freedom’s Sisters exhibit honoring the great women of the civil rights movement travelled the country for four years before being donated to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Ford also supports African American-focused museums throughout the United States.
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Ford has supported the volunteer efforts of employees for many years including providing the opportunity for employees to support on volunteer projects during the workday. In 2005, Ford launched the Ford Volunteer Corps. The Ford Volunteer Corps is a global organization that harnesses the dedication and energy of Ford’s worldwide employees to build a brighter future. In 2015, the Volunteer Corps celebrated the achievement of 1 million volunteer hours since it was started ten years ago.
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In order to positively impact communities throughout the country, Ford partners with leading organizations to develop and implement innovative programming. With support from Ford, partners provide vital community services such as food for the hungry, job training programs and arts and culture initiatives. Partners include national organizations such as the NAACP and National Urban League as well as local organizations such as Bean’s Café in Anchorage, Alaska which provides meals to those in need.
Click below to learn more about Ford’s community initiatives and partners.