Ford Motor Company Fund is boosting its investment in the future of Detroit with expansion of an innovative community center that will bring $5 million in services to thousands of students and residents on the city’s east side.
In cooperation with Detroit Public Schools Foundation and Detroit Public Schools, Ford Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – will launch a second Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit. The new center builds on the success of the original Ford Resource and Engagement Center. It will be housed at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy on Detroit’s east side, bolstering the educational opportunities for area children and increasing access to essential services for residents.
“While our region is making great strides, we need to do more for Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Locating the new resource center at Fisher Upper provides us an opportunity to reach another Detroit neighborhood with programs that benefit students and families alike.”
The new Ford Resource and Engagement Center will offer programs advocated by members of the community – including food distribution to meet basic needs, investing in economic growth through job training and continuing education, and advancing quality of life through arts and cultural services.
The east side center is modeled after the original center that opened in southwest Detroit three years ago. Located in Mexicantown Mercado, the first Ford Resource and Engagement Center has assisted more than 80,000 local residents through a range of social and cultural services, from providing 1.2 million pounds of food to helping complete more than 6,000 tax returns. In total, the original center has returned $3 in services to the local community for every $1 invested by Ford and the nonprofits that provide services.
The new Ford Resource and Engagement Center will be managed by Detroit Public Schools Foundation. It will have an emphasis on innovation in education and investments that add support for Detroit’s future by sharpening the focus on its young people. The center is expected to open in early 2017.
“The opening of the new Ford Resource and Engagement Center location within Fisher Upper is a tangible example of the power of school and community partnerships that can create the wrap around supports that will provide additional enrichment opportunities for our students,” said Alycia Meriweather, interim superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District. “Closing the opportunity gap is one of the first steps in closing our achievement gaps, and I commend Ford for setting such a great example. DPSCD is extremely thankful for this investment in our children and our community.”
As part of its expanding community presence, Ford is increasing investments in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Ford and Ford Fund expect to contribute $20 million to local educational, arts, cultural, diversity, hunger relief and social service organizations this year – a 70 percent increase from the annual giving amount five years ago.
Over the last 10 years, Ford and Ford Fund have made community investments totaling $161 million in the region, including support for the recently announced Cass Community Social Services’ tiny homes neighborhood project, emergency vehicle donations, and sponsorship of Ford Fireworks and America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Earlier this year, the company expanded its Ford Resource and Engagement Center concept to South Africa, announcing the first international location with a new job training and entrepreneurial development center.