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 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. To keep our students in schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Ford partners with the Tom Joyner Foundation on the annual Fantastic Voyage and the HBCU Community Challenge. During the 2016 Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage, HBCU Alumni were able to vote for their favorite HBCU. Jackson State University’s spirited alumni cast the most votes and secured $20,000 in scholarships for their alma mater. Ford also supports the HBCU Challenge by awarding a total of $100,000 to HBCU students to implement sustainable solutions to improve their communities. Four architectural students from Prairie View A&M University won top honors in last year’s challenge. 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 Workshops for Warriors in San Diego. Their Empowering Our Heroes program serves recently returned veterans, most less than 30 years of age, low-income and with a lack of career relevant skills and training.
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Teen Driving Safety
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In 2003, 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 more than 1,000,000 youth globally and is in 35 countries.
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Celebrating our Community
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 which opened in September 2016. The Ford Freedom Award program has celebrated the achievements of African Americans such as Coretta Scott King, Jackie Robinson for 18 years. Ford’s Freedoms Sisters exhibit honoring the great women of the civil rights movement and travelled the country for four years before being donated to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Ford’s new Men of Courage is a national initiative that celebrates the achievements of African-American men in the community. Ford also supports African American-focused museums throughout the United States.
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Ford has supported the volunteer efforts of employees for a long time including providing the opportunity for employees to work 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, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and National Urban League as well as local organizations such as Bean’s Café in Anchorage, Alaska which provides meals to those in need.
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Ford has a rich history of celebrating the accomplishments of women and young girls through the years. Ford has helped our veterans succeed at home by partnering with organizations such as Reboot, an organization that helps veterans readjust to civilian life after leaving the military. In 2016, Ford flew 30 original Rosie the Riveters to Washington, D.C. to celebrate their critical contributions to the war effort. Ford also partners with the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls which is a new organization that supports community groups that play a critical role in empowering young girls. In conjunction with the Girls Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, Ford helped launch the Be a Friend First anti-bullying program which helps girls to recognize and intervene in bullying situations at school and in their neighborhoods.
Click below to learn more about Ford’s women’s initiatives.