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Ford Fund Invests $10 million to Support Local Neighborhoods

Ford Fund Invests $10 million to Support Local Neighborhoods

New Center will focus on Jobs, Youth and Hunger Relief


Ford Motor Company has long been known for its innovative ideas in automobiles, but that kind of creative thinking can also be seen in the cutting edge programs the company supports to benefit communities.


One example is Operation Brighter Future – Detroit.  


Ford Motor Company Fund has invested $10 million in the project to strengthen neighborhoods, support education and summer jobs programs, and other community needs. The centerpiece of the program is the new Ford Resource and Engagement Center. It will be opened at the Mexicantown Mercado building in southwest Detroit. The building has been unused in recent years, but will now offer cultural and job training programs and other community services.


“The Operation Brighter Future – Detroit initiative supports Ford’s work to build a better world,” said Mark Fields, chief operating officer, Ford Motor Company. “We are excited to contribute this $10 million investment toward services and support that will empower families and strengthen the community.” 


“The Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC) board of directors is proud to partner with Ford Motor Company Fund and the city of Detroit to provide comprehensive programming at the Mexicantown Mercado that aligns with its original purpose as a community resource,” said Hector Hernandez, chairman emeritus of the MCDC board. “Ford, the city and MCDC are all committed to providing the highest-quality services to the southwest Detroit community within the Mercado.”


Among the community services planned for the facility is a Gleaners client choice food service center, a system of emergency food distribution that enables people to select their own food, much like a grocery store.


“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Carmen Mattia, director, Gleaners Support Services. “Ford is our best friend. It’s a delight to work with them.”

“I love to see the activity going on here,” said Cobie Perez, neighborhood resident. “I’ve lived here all my life. This picks up the spirits.”


Other initiatives in Operation Brighter Future – Detroit include support for Greening of Detroit and its projects to turn abandoned sites into parks, funding for the Detroit Summer Youth Employment program, new programming for young people at the Patton Recreation Center and donation of two F-Series chassis to the Public Safety Foundation, which will be turned into new ambulances for the city of Detroit.


“This is very exciting news for the city and our residents,” said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. “I am extremely grateful for Ford Motor Company Fund’s commitment to make such a generous investment in our neighborhoods. The Fund’s emphasis on jobs, recreation centers, youth and educational opportunities is in line with my administration’s plans to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. We need partners like Ford Motor Company Fund to help us transform Detroit.”


The program augments Ford Fund’s ongoing community partnerships, as well as support for southeast Michigan nonprofits for community development, cultural and many other programs. The support has totaled approximately $60 million during the past five years.