Throughout our history, Ford Motor Company has always stepped up to help in times of need. From manufacturing fighter planes that helped turn the tide in World War II to building iron lungs for polio victims or incubators for premature infants – Ford workers have a long history of using passion and ingenuity to help solve major global and social issues.
Today, Ford engineers and researchers are facing an invisible enemy, developing masks and ventilators to combat the COVID-19 virus sweeping the globe. And Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford’s philanthropic arm, is working in concert with the company, taking immediate action at the local level and concentrating on the most critical issues facing communities throughout the country and around the world.
“At Ford Fund, we are looking at how we can help address some of the most basic needs that come out of a situation like this,” said Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Issues surrounding hunger relief, shelter and access to mobility are pressing needs in local communities – and that’s what we are currently working with our philanthropic partners to address right now.”
As an initial step, Ford Fund directed $500,000 to five Detroit-area nonprofits that provide shelter and food delivery to senior citizens, families and others at risk throughout southeast Michigan. These groups include Gleaners, Focus Hope, Cass Community Social Services, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and United Way of Southeastern Michigan.
The team also worked with Gleaners to convert all food pantry services at its two Ford Resource and Engagement Centers in Detroit into drive-up distribution centers, so people in need can continue to have access to food.
Ford Teams Working Together
More recently, Ford Fund has joined forces with other areas of Ford to ensure success. Members are working with Ford Land to convert 20 idled employee shuttle vans into food delivery vehicles for needy families and seniors. They also are collaborating with The Lincoln Motor Company to use six Navigators from the Lincoln Personal Driver program to help deliver goods such as food, water and supplies to and from local nonprofits.
After learning about a shortage of take-out food containers, Ford Fund worked with food service contractor Aramark to deliver 1,200 containers to the Pope Francis homeless shelter in Detroit so the center can provide much needed to-go meals.
“We’re striving to make sure that we focus on those in immediate need and help where we can,” said Culler. “And we’re stronger when we work together.”
Around the U.S., Ford Fund is redirecting approximately $1 million to support local organizations in their efforts to meet needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are just a few examples of efforts being made regionally:
- In the early days of the crisis, Ford Fund launched an emergency aid program with the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) to help students with financial difficulties at historically black colleges and universities get home following the sudden closure of some of these institutions.
- In Arizona, Ford Fund and the Arizona Ford dealers are donating to emergency food banks, mobile medical clinics and other vital services.
- In California, Ford Fund is working with local Boys & Girls Clubs to deliver food to homebound families as well as nutritious snacks and learning activity kits to help children who are home from school.
- In Illinois, Ford Fund is working with the Chicago Food Depository on a local distribution plan.
- In Florida, Ford Fund is providing assistance to teachers and educators keeping students engaged and is working with the Hispanic Federation to meet food and mobility issues.
- And in Kansas City, Ford Fund is working with hunger relief agencies to provide immediate assistance to those in need.
Through its partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Ford Fund is redirecting funds to support Hispanic students during the pandemic, providing hunger relief, assisting with transportation needs and offering mental health coaching, mentoring and online educational support through 50 LULAC councils around the country.
And globally, Ford Fund has implemented an emergency grant program in 40 international markets for projects addressing COVID-19 related issues.
In total, more than $1.6 million in resources have been allocated to help those needing immediate assistance.
“While we are focusing our immediate efforts on making sure we meet urgent needs and care for the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Culler, “we are equally committed to helping nonprofits think through longer-term challenges that will arise. As the situation evolves over time, we expect our response will evolve accordingly as well.”
Those interested in learning more about Ford Fund’s efforts or looking for a way to help can check out www.fordfund.org/COVID19.