In 1959 Berry Gordy started Motown Records in Detroit. He modeled his business, which became a global hit-making factory, after the Ford Motor Company assembly line.
Today, Ford and Ford-UAW are part of the Motown story again, announcing a $6 million investment as lead donor in a $50 million expansion of Motown Museum. The museum is the location of the famous Hitsville U.S.A. house and Studio A, where Motown Records changed the music industry forever.
“We are thrilled to play a role in the next chapter of a global music icon,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company, who will hold a leadership position as part of the museum’s expansion efforts. “The enhanced museum will not only upgrade the visitor experience, it also fits with our commitment to investing in the cultural heritage of Detroit and southeast Michigan.”
“It is very gratifying to support the expansion of the Motown Museum, and in doing so, we strengthen an institution that has great historical and cultural significance to our region and the world,” said Jimmy Settles, vice president, UAW. “This partnership also allows us to continue our commitment to the Motown Museum’s surrounding community, which is a community that many Detroit natives treasure.”
As part of the Ford and Ford-UAW investment, the expanded Motown Museum will include:
Ford Motor Company Theater, a state-of-the-art performance venue
Educational, music and other programming tied to Ford’s ongoing student and community outreach initiatives
CARaoke Experience, in which visitors take part in an interactive Ford-branded activity that incorporates music with Ford vehicles
Ford will be official vehicle of Motown Museum
“Motown and Ford Motor Company have wide and deeply connected roots,” said Robin R. Terry, chairwoman and CEO, Motown Museum. “As two Detroit born brands, they have had — and continue to have today — a transformative and profound impact on creativity and innovation around the world.
“We are honored by the commitment that Ford Motor Company and UAW-Ford have made toward this exciting expansion,” said Terry. “As the lead donors and committed partners in our vision, their support will help us bring a first class destination to Detroit and the world, and will ensure that this important musical and cultural legacy is preserved and positioned to inspire the next generation of creative and innovative minds.”
The commitment is part of an additional $10 million Ford and Ford Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, are contributing to Detroit over the next five years. Ford and Ford Fund are already investing $20 million in local educational and community programs for 2016. Investments this year and beyond include:
New three-year sponsorship commitment with The Parade Company – producer of both the Thanksgiving Day parade and annual Ford Fireworks
$5 million investment to build a second Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit
$400,000 in support for Cass Community Social Services’ tiny homes neighborhood project to reduce homelessness
$200,000 Bill Ford Better World Challenge grant to University of Detroit-Mercy to create a mobility application to connect underserved populations with local resources
Over the last 10 years, Ford and Ford Fund have made community investments totaling $161 million in the region.