The FINANCIAL — Ford Motor Company is expanding its commitment to Northern California by launching a new philanthropic initiative with local dealers that will include $1 million of investments focused on middle school education, disaster relief and driving safety.
Ford will focus on improving opportunities for middle school student success in underserved populations, initially partnering with Boys and Girls Club chapters to reach as many as 6,000 middle school students in Northern California. Success in middle school often results in better graduation rates in high school, according to Ford.
Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, will also bring its Ford Driving Dreams Tour to San Jose. This high school program, which has reached more than 30,000 students in Chicago, Indiana, Florida and Texas, helps Latino youth stay in school and pursue higher education. The program includes scholarships and grants, high-energy student assemblies, and an essay contest that invites students to share their dream.
Ford’s commitment to middle school education includes an investment in the United Way of the Bay Area’s Community Schools initiative, which transforms public schools into neighborhood hubs where health care, food pantries, after-school programs, family engagement and parent education classes are available directly on school campuses.
“Ford is committed to making people’s lives better in our communities and it starts with educating our young people,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, the charitable arm of Ford Motor Company. “By working jointly with our local dealers and nonprofits, we are better able to meet the needs of people in Northern California and provide assistance where it can have the most impact and help more people.”
As part of Ford’s commitment to Northern California, the company is donating a Transit van to the American Red Cross to help with emergency response activities. Ford also is helping the region’s young people prepare and respond to wildfires, earthquakes and other disasters through its support of Red Cross Clubs and Youth Leadership Councils.
Ford announced the latest philanthropic collaboration with its dealers at an event that also brought the award-winning Ford DSFL program to Northern California. Hundreds of teen drivers in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas will experience a safe driving course that puts them behind the wheel with professional instructors.
“We are delighted Ford is taking on this major project in Northern California, and we look forward to joining with the company to make a difference in our community,” said Sid Savarani, chairman, Northern California Area Ford Dealers Advertising Fund and owner of Walnut Creek Ford. “Northern California Area Ford Dealers are committed to the future of our communities.”
Ford’s expanded community outreach in Northern California coincides with the opening earlier this year of the company’s Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto. With the new facility, Ford expects to have one of the largest auto manufacturer research centers in Silicon Valley, accelerating the company’s innovation in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles.
Ford’s latest investments in charities and other nonprofit organizations in Northern California brings the total amount Ford has provided to local philanthropic causes to more than $4.5 million over the last 10 years. Previous and ongoing programs include:
Ford Blue Oval Scholars and Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL), which partners with the Elk Grove Unified School District on advising Ford NGL for its national network;
Grammy Signature Schools, which this year recognized San Francisco’s Phillip and Sala Burton Academic High School with its Enterprise Award, and also Grammy in the Schools which recently visited San Francisco;
American Sabor, a traveling Smithsonian exhibition that showcased the positive influence of Latino music and musicians in U.S. pop culture.
The new investments in Northern California are part of Ford Fund’s Operation Better World initiative. Launched in 2008, the Operation Better World framework enables Ford Fund, dealers and other groups to collaborate on a strategic approach to philanthropy and more effectively meet community needs.