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Ford Motor Company Invests More Than $600,000 in New Community Programs for Kansas City Area
- Ford Motor Company is investing more than $600,000 in education, safety and community programs in a new initiative with Kansas City-area Ford dealers
- Ford contributions include a Ford Transit van to help The Don Bosco Centers deliver food to local senior citizens
- Award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program offering free, hands-on driving clinics to 400 newly licensed teen drivers in Kansas City area
KANSAS CITY, MO, Aug. 21, 2014 - Ford Motor Company is expanding its commitment to the Kansas City area by launching a philanthropic initiative with local dealers that will result in an investment of more than $600,000 in education, safety and community programs this year.
As part of Ford’s investment, the company is donating a Ford Transit to The Don Bosco Centers to assist with distribution of food to local senior citizens and adults with disabilities. The Don Bosco Centers help older adults and those with disabilities maintain independent living by providing meals, transportation and activities. In April, Ford began production of the next-generation full-size Transit van family at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.
“Ford is committed to making a lasting difference in our communities,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, the charitable arm of Ford Motor Company. “This new initiative allows us to adopt a strategic approach to philanthropy that will provide ongoing support to the Kansas City area. By working jointly with our dealers and nonprofits, we are creating a better world for our employees, their families and the communities where we live and work.”
The donations from Ford and its dealers focus on education, teen driving safety and hunger relief. The support for Kansas City charities and other nonprofits will add to the more than $10 million Ford Fund has provided to local philanthropic causes over the last 20 years.
“We are delighted Ford is taking on this major project for the Kansas City area, and look forward to joining with the company to make a difference in our community,” said Bob Balderston, chairman, Greater Kansas City Ford Dealers Advertising Fund. “The Greater Kansas City Area Ford Dealers is committed to the future of our communities.”
Kansas City is the 19th market in the United States and Puerto Rico where Ford and its dealers have expanded their commitment to meeting community needs by collaborating on programs and nonprofit outreach. The initiative, known as Operation Better World, was launched in 2008. Plans call for adding more markets in the United States and elsewhere.
Ford announced the philanthropic collaboration with its dealers at an event that also brought the award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program to the Kansas City area as part of Ford Fund teen driving outreach. Today, the first of 400 local teen drivers will experience a safe driving course that puts them directly behind the wheel with professional instructors.
Now in its 11th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life is a free initiative that aims to equip teens and other new drivers with advanced skills not typically covered in traditional driver education classes, with a focus on addressing the leading cause of death for American teenagers – traffic crashes. The program’s national tour is making stops in cities across the country, and will visit the Kansas City area for the first time this year. Four free driving clinics for teens and parents are being held today and tomorrow at Worlds of Fun amusement park.
Ford Driving Skills for Life is one of the most comprehensive teen safe driving programs in the United States and is presented through a partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association. Both the Kansas Department of Transportation and Missouri Traffic and Highway Safety Division will participate. More than 550,000 new drivers around the globe have been trained through online and hands-on professional driver instruction, free educational materials, and state grants and partnerships.
“We are excited to host Ford Driving Skills for Life here in Kansas City for the first time,” said Leanna Depue, highway safety director, Missouri Department of Transportation. “Missouri’s young drivers continue to be substantially overrepresented in traffic crashes. This important program will help improve their basic driving skills and emphasize the critical need to buckle up and keep their focus on the road. We hope the participants will share what they learn with their friends and family, and practice safe driving every time, on every trip.”
The Ford Fund also recently helped bring the Spark!Lab Smithsonian hands-on invention workshop to Science City in Kansas City, creating only the third site in the Spark!Lab National Network. Ford Fund also sponsored the Smithsonian Traveling exhibit – American Sabor – at the American Jazz Museum last year. More than 50,000 visitors toured the exhibit which showcased the positive influence of Latino music and musicians in U.S. pop culture.