DETROIT – Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields presented the Detroit community with a $10 million check Tuesday from the Ford Motor Company Fund to run a state-of-the-art community center and provide support for education, a summer jobs program and other community needs in southwest Detroit.
The initiative – called Operation Brighter Future Detroit – was announced at a news conference held at the Mexicantown Mercado Building. It is a result of a partnership between the Ford Fund, the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation and the City of Detroit.
“At Ford we work toward more than just building great products and a strong business. We contribute to building a better world,” said Fields, noting that during the past five years alone, the Ford Fund has invested roughly $60 million in community projects in southeast Michigan. “That’s part of our DNA as a company.”
At the heart of Operation Brighter Future will be the new Ford Resource and Engagement Center, to be housed in the Mercado Building.
“This center we expect will be the hub of entrepreneurship, workforce training, capacity building, arts and culture,” said Fields. “It will also provide support through Gleaners client choice food service center that will anchor this facility.”
Fields also announced plans for the Ford Fund to “adopt” the Patton Recreation Center in southwest Detroit.
“We’re going to expand the facility to include some really neat stuff like youth programming including arts and crafts, karate, gymnastics, lacrosse and swimming,” he said. “In addition, Ford will provide funding to launch a summer camp for 80 to 90 kids at Patton and we will also provide a limited number of scholarships for kids to attend the camp.”
Operation Brighter Future will also provide two new F-450 chassis to be used for new ambulances for the city of Detroit.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to help provide these state-of-the-art vehicles to support the city as it serves the vital needs of all the residents,” said Fields.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was on hand for the event. He expressed his gratitude to the Ford Fund for its generous support for Detroit’s neighborhoods.
“The Ford Fund’s investment will focus on areas that are vital to my administration’s plans to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens, including job and entrepreneurial training, improved recreation programming, youth employment opportunities and strengthening public safety,” he said.
Mayor Bing was very excited about the Ford Fund’s donation of two F-Series chassis.
“One of the biggest complaints I get on the Public Safety side is on our response time from an EMS standpoint, and because of the city’s financial difficulties we’ve not been able over the years to make the necessary investments to get new vehicles or even to maintain the ones that we have,” he said.
“What Ford is committing to our Fire Department is unprecedented and we will see on short order an upgrade on the maintenance of our vehicles and we will also see some new vehicles on the road. Our response time is going to be competitive with any other major urban area.”