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Ford Motor Company Fund Accelerates Commitment to Education with $1 Million in New, Innovative Programs

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Ford Motor Company Fund is joining with the UAW to donate $200,000 to support arts, music and athletics in Detroit Public Schools, part of more than $1 million in new scholarships, grants and career outreach programs that Ford’s philanthropic arm is launching this month to further its commitment to education.

The Detroit funds are a continuation of a program started last year to enhance the educational experience of interested students in grades K-8 students. Ford and the UAW Ford National Program Center announced the donation today at the Ford STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Conference, a first-ever community collaboration to provide 165 Detroit middle school students with insight into the top career pathways that will sustain the economic revitalization of Southeast Michigan.

“Education is the cornerstone of a brighter future and has been a central part of Ford’s community involvement since our company was founded,” said Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are taking that commitment to a new level with a comprehensive range of innovative programs that serve a variety of needs.”

Today’s STEAM #fordsteamlab event featured representatives from several groups contributing their expertise to provide middle school students with a wide range of career options, work paths and guidance. They included NHRA driver Nicole Lyons, Usher’s New Look Foundation,, #yeswecode, Rock and Roll Academy, Tech Town, Pony Ride, as well as representatives from University of Michigan Dearborn and the Detroit Lions.

Additional Ford Fund programs range from promoting student access to arts programs in high school, to grants that empower college students in the United States, China and Brazil to build more sustainable communities. The company is also expanding programs aimed at improving high school graduation rates, helping teachers prepare students for real-world jobs and assisting middle school students discover career options.

In addition to the Detroit Public Schools support, the scholarships and programs launching are:

  • Ford College Community Challenge Grants: Ford is awarding grants worth $280,000 to 16 projects at 15 colleges and universities that support sustainable student-led projects addressing urgent community needs. Winning projects, which were announced today, address the theme of the Challenge – “Building Sustainable Communities” — in an innovative way. The annual program is being expanded globally for the first time to include communities in China and Brazil. The Ford C3 program has awarded over $2 million in sustainable community grants since 2008.
  • Ford Driving Dreams Tour: Designed to motivate students to complete high school on time and pursue higher education, the tour is launching in Chicago this week during National Hispanic Heritage Month where it will provide a total of $105,000 in scholarships and grants, assisting more than 3,800 students at seven Chicago-area high schools with significant Latino student populations. Ford Driving Dreams has provided nearly $400,000 in direct educational resources, reaching nearly 25,000 students since 2012.
  • Ford Historic Black College Universities Community Challenge: The annual program works with Historic Black Colleges and Universities to fund innovative projects that are focused on building sustainable communities. The program, which is taking applications now, will award $100,000 to support five grants.
  • Next Generation Learning Externships: Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers are collaborating on a program that brings high school teachers into the auto industry so teachers can better instruct students on real-world work scenarios. Additional details about the program will be released Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Ford Next Generation Learning convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ford Motor Company Fund invests more than $8 million a year, about one-third of its annual financial support, in scholarships and other education initiatives.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit

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