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Ford Gives Back Freedom Awards Honor Nonprofits Making People's Lives Better

Ford Fund grants will boost essential services in the community

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Company Fund has announced winners of the second annual Ford Gives Back (FGB) Freedom Award. The grand prize of $25,000 goes to A New Way of Life for their program that empowers and creates opportunity for formerly incarcerated women. The FGB Freedom Award initiative expanded this year to include a runner-up prize of $10,000 to Bean's Café for The Children's Lunchbox program.

Group photo of 21 people outdoors, some seated and some standing
A New Way of Life staff.

"Each of these dedicated organizations provides vital support to the African American community," said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "We are proud to recognize the important role they play and to invest in their future success."

Launched in 2019, the FGB Freedom Award is open to past honorees of Ford Freedom Unsung and Ford Freedom's Sisters programs—two initiatives that recognize individuals or organizations that are making a positive impact in the African American community.

Both of this year's winners have expanded and adjusted their services to increase assistance to people in their communities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Blue ribbon with Grand Prize on rosette center and tails

Grand Prize Winner—A New Way of Life, Los Angeles, California; $25,000

A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides support for women who are rebuilding their lives after incarceration. The project offers services such as housing and legal assistance and other help needed for community reentry, family reunification and individual healing. A New Way of Life has been honored previously with a Ford Freedom Unsung Award that salutes organizations having a positive impact on communities. Since 1998, more than 1,100 women and children have found comfort in the nonprofit's safe homes.

"The support from Ford Gives Back comes at a crucial time for the work we do, helping women being released from prisons and jails," said Susan Burton, founder/president, A New Way of Life. "It's especially timely because we're expanding our services to get women out of harm's way and settled safely in the community."

Silver rosette with start in center and red tails

Runner-Up: Bean's Café, Anchorage, Alaska; $10,000

Bean's Café provides meals, shelter and other services as part of its mission to end hunger. The Children's Lunchbox annually serves more than 200,000 meals to more than 3,000 kids. Bean's Café is also a past recipient of the Ford Freedom Unsung Hero Award.

A female and male persons of color, masked, gloved holding boxes stand in front of a table of kraft paper bags and beside a sign with KIDS EAT FREE and  Children's Lunchbox logo
Bean's Café staff distributing Children's Lunchbox meals.

"Bean's Café exists to fight hunger for all ages, one meal at a time, while providing a pathway to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect," said Diana Arthur, development director, Bean's Café. "Thanks to the $10,000 from Ford Fund we will be able to provide 1,000 Pantry Packs to hungry and food insecure families."

A New Way of Life and Bean's Café join The Hidden Genius Project as grant recipients of the FGB Freedom Award program. The Hidden Genius Project is an Oakland, California organization that trains and mentors young black men in technology, entrepreneurship and leadership. The nonprofit took home the top prize in last year's inaugural FGB Freedom Awards.