A letter from the president of Ford Fund
2021 proved to be another challenging year, as communities around the world continued to grapple with COVID-19. The ongoing consequences of the pandemic are leading to greater wealth disparity and amplifying the systemic problems that disenfranchise communities and limit access to upward mobility—it is becoming harder for people to put food on the table, keep up on rent, access transportation, pursue an education or afford quality healthcare.
As Ford Motor Company’s philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund’s mission is to provide access to resources and opportunities that build equity and empower underserved and underrepresented communities to reach their highest potential.
Over the past year, we have worked to advance our mission by developing and funding initiatives that meet basic needs, provide access to essential services, open pathways to high quality jobs and use the power of mobility to create unique solutions to the most pressing social and economic challenges.
Working with nonprofit groups, community partners and across the Ford network globally, we led an effort to donate 120 million face masks to at-risk individuals and organizations in all 50 U.S. states, opened a community vaccine center in Romania, and distributed food, hygiene and medical kits to thousands of families in six countries in South America.
Through our longstanding partnerships in Black and Hispanic communities, we brought together CEOs from 11 of the nation’s leading multicultural organizations to produce a PSA issuing trusted information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Following months of limited or modified operations, all five of our community resource centers around the world reopened for in-person programming and services. Our two facilities in Detroit, along with our centers in Romania, South Africa and Thailand provided essential food distribution, tax and legal services, entrepreneurship programs, job training and more for the residents of their neighborhoods.
Through numerous literacy, mentoring, workforce development and educational initiatives, we helped remove barriers to economic opportunities and create pathways for growth for hundreds of thousands of under-resourced individuals of all ages.
Leveraging our mobility expertise, we launched two exciting new initiatives in the Michigan Central impact area in Southwest Detroit to connect people with the things they need most. In partnership with Ford’s future technology autonomous vehicle team, we are delivering 10,000 pounds of fresh food to mobility-challenged seniors using specialized autonomous vehicle technology.
We also are providing two Black-owned dental practices with custom Ford Transit vans converted into mobile offices so they can bring access to critically needed oral healthcare to communities and residents for years to come.
As we look to 2022 and beyond, we are embarking on a time of transformation at Ford Fund, refining our focus, sharpening our priorities and reimagining the way we serve communities.
We want to find new ways to leverage Ford resources, relationships and innovations to increase our community impact and mobilize Ford employees, dealers and retirees like never before to provide even more people with opportunities to build a better future.
We want to scale our existing Ford Resource and Engagement Centers by expanding our network to serve communities where Ford has a major presence, while also developing signature programs that can be deployed in a more flexible model to support other strategic locations where Ford does business.
And we want to lean into our decades-long relationships, bringing together national partners and subject matter experts to disrupt philanthropy—designing and developing innovative solutions to solve some of the most urgent social and economic challenges.
As we advance our mission—through programming, volunteerism and grantmaking—we will ensure that serving and elevating under-resourced and underrepresented communities remains at the heart of everything we do.
Our purpose as a company is to help build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. It is a core value, ingrained in Ford’s DNA since our company’s founding more than a century ago, and it is what drives us every day at Ford Fund as we work to make people’s lives better and ensure no one gets left behind.
I invite you to learn more about the ways we served and strengthened communities in 2021 by exploring the page below.
President, Ford Motor Company Fund
in total charitable contributions in 2021
by Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company Fund
in charitable contributions since 1949
by Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company Fund
Ford employee volunteer hours since 2005
Education and entrepreneurship initiatives
Incubating innovation with university students in Romania
Our Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Romania welcomed five new social enterprises and was recognized with its third Corporate Social Responsibility award. A collaboration with the nonprofit Educol and the City Hall of Craiova, the center serves as an incubator hub to enable students from the University of Craiova to design and launch innovative and sustainable social enterprises—businesses with a social purpose—to drive economic progress and make a positive impact on their community. To date, 19 social enterprises are supported by the center and more than 100 student entrepreneurs are working with 68 nonprofit organizations and reaching more than 10,000 beneficiaries.
Bringing books to children in underserved communities
We donated $150,000 in books and supplies to more than 100 Ford dealer-nominated schools in Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and Phoenix in partnership with nonprofit First Book. As champion of the literacy effort—which also provides opportunities for students to learn about STEM disciplines and careers—Ford Chief Customer Experience Officer Elena Ford hosted a virtual reading party for 11,000 elementary school students and teachers. In total, we have invested $750,000 and donated nearly 150,000 books in Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Puerto Rico and San Antonio since the initiative began in 2015.
Empowering college students to build a better world
Ford Fund donated $600,000 (U.S.) to 40-plus teams of student entrepreneurs in 11 countries and U.S. territories through the Ford College Community Challenge—a global grant competition that empowers college students to envision and lead change in their communities. Since 2013, Ford Fund has distributed more than $3 million in grants to support nearly 200 student-led social projects that help make people’s lives better and meet community needs across the United States and in Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Designing mobility solutions with the next generation of innovators in china
More than 500 students from 50 universities submitted 164 project ideas for future mobility solutions through our fourth-annual Ford UCAN student competition in China. More than 45 Ford employees volunteered as mentors, trainers and judges of the competition, helping guide participants as they developed projects that used technology to solve future transportation problems—ranging from smart cockpits, wireless charging for electric vehicles, shared travel solutions and automotive hardware manufacturing. Seven of the top eight teams have obtained patents for their concepts, while two have already launched their own businesses.
Investing in female founders’ social enterprises
We awarded $50,000 in grants to four Kansas City social enterprises owned by women through the HERImpact entrepreneurship summit and virtual pitch competition—a Ford Fund and 1863 Ventures initiative designed to help women entrepreneurs create small businesses that improve their communities. Since 2017, we’ve invested more than $350,000 in socially conscious enterprises led by women and provided business development resources to more than 500 women entrepreneurs in Detroit, Kansas City, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Advancing STEM education in the United Kingdom
2021 marked the fifth year of our partnership with Primary Engineer—an educational nonprofit organization that encourages children and youth ages 3 to 19 to consider STEM and engineering careers. Employees from Ford’s Dunton engineering campus volunteer their time at local schools training teachers on how to introduce engineering concepts, while helping lead a classroom-based engineering project that teaches students how to build electric vehicles. To date, the program has reached 65 schools and assisted 140 teachers and more than 3,483 students across the United Kingdom with the help of 45 Ford volunteers.