DEARBORN, Mich. — When stay-at-home guidelines were implemented across the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and families across the country found themselves with a new financial stressor. To help alleviate the burden, Ford Fund provided $400,000 in emergency relief for students to use to travel home or to help meet other essential needs.
In partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Ford Fund established a $100,000 emergency travel fund for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in early April. Given the ongoing and significant need, Ford Fund expanded the program in September, allocating an additional $100,000 and expanding support to help address hunger relief, housing needs and tuition assistance, in addition to emergency travel.
"The sudden closure of many colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 crisis presented a financial challenge affecting many students at HBCUs," said Pamela Alexander, director, Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "We were glad to be able to work with UNCF to provide emergency relief and help ease some of the financial burden students all across the country were facing."
Ford Fund also teamed up with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to help college students experiencing financial distress pay for food, housing, transportation and essential technology.
In addition, Ford Fund's signature education initiative, Ford Driving Dreams, redirected its annual grant program with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to support pandemic-related needs. In a typical year, Ford Fund provides funding to LULAC Councils nationwide to implement programs that encourage Latino students to graduate from high school and help them pursue higher education. Throughout the summer of 2020, Ford Fund awarded $100,000 in grants to fund projects aimed at providing hunger relief, assisting with transportation needs and offering mental health coaching, mentoring and online educational support to students and their families facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.