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Ford C3 Celebrates 10 Years of Boosting Community Sustainability Through Student Innovation; New Era to Expand Social Impact

  • Ford Motor Company Fund celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) with a special anniversary competition embracing mobility solutions to unmet community needs.
  • Ford C3 was launched in the U.S. in 2008 and has since expanded to run challenges in Africa, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
  • The next decade of Ford C3 will usher in a new era with a shift towards fostering more entrepreneurial approaches to driving social impact and a more holistic approach to global C3 programs.
University of Pittsburg winning C3 team holding large check and cut-out of Transit van

DEARBORN, Mich., October 27, 2017 – The Ford Motor Company Fund celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its signature Ford College Community Challenge (C3) yesterday with a special mobility-themed competition, Making Lives Better by Changing the Way People Move.

Three of the original ten winning college teams were invited to Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn on October 26 to pitch their mobility solutions to a panel of Ford executives for a chance to win a Ford Transit Connect (and additional cash awards) to help make their mobility solutions a reality.

Winners of the competition are:

First place, University of Pittsburg received a Ford Transit and $10,000; 2nd place, Olin College of Engineering received $20,000 and 3rd place, Michigan Technological University received $10,000.

  • University of Pittsburgh | 21st Century Food System 
    The Aquaponics Project from The University of Pittsburgh plans to address regional food scarcity by expanding its portable aquaponics facility to focus not only on food production, but food waste and soil remediation. New advancements will ensure sustainable production of food while arming residents with information.
  • Olin College of Engineering | Coahoma Mobile Education
    Students at the Olin College of Engineering, in partnership with Babson College and Wellesley College, developed Coahoma Mobile Education, a hands-on, project-based exploration of arts, technology, and entrepreneurship, accessible to rural youth in Coahoma County, Mississippi. The students will work with the youth to build electric guitars, teaching the youth electrical, carpentry, and 3D-modeling skills in a mobile space. The mobile unit will host weekly pop-up activities, in addition to a rotating 12-week guitar-building program.
  • Michigan Tech University | Medical Transportation Management System
    Students from Michigan Tech's Enterprise Program are building a user friendly medical transportation management system to allow their partner organization, Little Brothers—Friends of the Elderly, to maximize their free door-to-door medical transportation service for the elderly. The system gives Little Brothers—Friends of the Elderly's volunteers the ability to create a more accurate schedule, allowing more than twice as many people (200+) to take advantage of the medical transportation service.

"Ford C3 has been a tremendously successful program in that it has completely changed our mindset on how we engage with college students,” said Mike Schmidt, director of education and global community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Through C3, we recognized that students can be a huge force for good and that if we give them the right support, they can change in the world. And we are doing that, now, on a global scale.”

As the first decade of C3 comes to a close, Ford Fund is looking to usher in a new era with a shift toward catalyzing entrepreneurial approaches to solving community issues, driving more sustainable social impact, and taking a holistic approach toward managing global C3 programs.

"The future of C3 will broaden our goal to help students create meaningful, sustainable social enterprises to drive change,” Schmidt said. Our goal is to create a movement, not a program, that allows students to be a powerful force for good in this world and to help make people's lives better across the globe.”

Earlier this fall, 10 winning college teams were selected to receive $25,000 in funding to implement their community projects, focused on smart or social mobility, and building sustainable communities. Three teams went on to the mobility challenge.

Since its inception, C3 has awarded more than $3 million in funding to 146 student teams. In 2016, Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, invested $18 million around the globe in education programs to help drive social mobility, boost community prosperity and make people's lives better. 

Additional 2017 C3 teams winning $25,000 in grant funding are:

Harvard University | Refresh Bolivia: Community Health Center
Refresh Bolivia, a student-run nonprofit at Harvard University, focuses on the District-8 Cochabamba community (~50,000 people) in Bolivia. They plan to develop a community health center that will serve the primarily indigenous residents through services that are financially, geographically and culturally accessible.

Kettering University | Elders and Youth Using Solar Energy and Rain Catchment to Bring Safe Water to Urban Gardens in Flint, Michigan
Undergraduate engineering students are collaborating with Flint residents to expand knowledge and skills needed for successful urban gardens using productive solar energy systems.

Purdue University | Agriculture Mechanization Skills for Former Street Youth in Kenya
The Purdue Utility Project focuses on the communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Students are working to develop a reliable source of transportation for farmers in Eldoret, Kenya.

Brigham Young University | Village Pump               
Students propose to design, build, and test an improved pump to provide sustainable access to water in developing nations. Key innovations will result in a pump with reduced service needs compared to existing pumps.

Carnegie Mellon University | Home Inc. UBATOR 
With the aid of virtual reality technology, The Home Inc. UBATOR will empower residents to develop affordable housing, foster a more inclusive path to homeownership, contribute to social mobility, provide education/training opportunities, and support community-based entrepreneurship.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor | Ocupação Anchieta Avança
Ocupação Anchieta Avança is a project to provide environmental restoration and improvement of slum areas in Ocupação Anchieta, a four-year old land occupation in the periphery of São Paulo City, Brazil.

University of Michigan | SWIP
The SWIP team, composed of students from the University of Michigan's Stamps School of Art and Design and students from Detroit Community High School, is working to develop a 3D-printed water bottle that features exchangeable components (sip + swap = SWIP).