Building a Better World
Project Better World is a coordinated, grassroots initiative managed by Ford Fund and designed to develop transformational programs focused on mobility, education and sustainable communities. In 2017, Ford Fund awarded 234 grants, worth $10.3 million, to 178 nonprofits in 56 countries.
In partnership with the nonprofit Global Giving Foundation, Project Better World’s innovative programs utilize the expertise of local Ford teams and community leaders to make a world of difference. Just some of the project’s recent activities include:
Setting up a STEAM hub in Australia promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to 5,700 students
Teaming up with World Vision in Laos to clean up hospital grounds and donate cleaning equipment
In the Philippines, we work with the American Chamber Foundation Philippines to support a number of communities through development agency Gawad Kalinga, including repairing houses, organizing children’s activities, and conducting medical and dental missions
Partnering with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, we funded the purchase of specially adapted wheelchairs, enabling people with physical disabilities to access the beach
Ford volunteers, together with World Vision Lanka, set up a mobile medical camp to support 400 underprivileged residents of Kattumurivu village in Sri Lanka
The Henry Ford Entrepreneurial Academy (HFEA), which promotes entrepreneurship across the Middle East and Africa, held a three-day workshop at the newly opened Youth Hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Providing Access to Community Services
Over the past 10 years, Ford and Ford Fund have invested more than $166 million in Detroit and southeast Michigan, where we were founded back in 1903. Our support assists programs such as the Tiny Homes neighborhood project, a fleet of 20 Ford Mobile Food Pantries and Ford Blue Oval Scholarships. Since 2005, Ford Volunteer Corps has participated in nearly 10,000 local community service projects to make people’s lives better.
We have now opened two Ford Resource and Engagement Centers in Detroit. These centers increase access to essential services, helping more than 85,000 people with food distribution, tax return preparation, education and job initiatives, legal assistance and other programs.
Ford Fund: Coordinating Our Impact on Society
The Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services – Ford Fund – oversees and coordinates our volunteering efforts and philanthropic investments. In particular, Ford Fund supports initiatives that strengthen the communities in which we operate, and that equip people with skills and knowledge.
$63 million in total charitable contributions (Community Life $36.8m, Education $18.4m, Driver Safety: $7.8m)
More than 237,000 volunteering hours donated by current and retired employees through the Ford Volunteer Corps
More than $1.5 billion donated to date to civic organizations to strengthen communities around the world
Investing in Technology and Innovation
We want to strengthen our pipeline of potential future talent. To support this, we have developed a consistent global strategy around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs. Our aim is to nurture technical talent around the world by developing and delivering innovative programs for students and educators.
Our Powered by Ford STEAM Academies are designed to attract high-school students and prepare them for life beyond school. As well as studying core academic subjects, students take part in engineering, information technology and manufacturing projects, often at our own sites.
We also award millions of dollars in scholarships to support social mobility, providing much-needed financial support to assist high-achieving college-bound students with their studies. In 2017, we awarded 100 Blue Oval STEAM Scholarships worth up to $10,000 each, including 29 to female students.
Girls Who Code
To help address the significant underrepresentation of women in the tech industry, the Ford Research and Innovation Center (RIC) at Palo Alto, California, is helping provide opportunities for young women interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
RIC has teamed up with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire, educate and equip young women with the skills needed to pursue academic and career opportunities in computing. Across the U.S., Girls Who Code programs offer instruction in robotics, web design and mobile development, together with mentorship from top RIC engineers. The program helps students gain exposure to real-life role models as well as hands-on experience on projects at our Silicon Valley research lab.
We promote women’s empowerment across our company and beyond. In 2017, we were proud to support programs and schemes to boost women’s rights and access to opportunities, such as helping women in Saudi Arabia to gain mobility.
Within our operations, initiatives such as mentoring and our Employee Resource Groups are complemented by policies and provisions to ensure women employees face no barriers in their work.
In 2017, females comprised:
- 26.9% of our global salaried workforce
- 23.6% of all our U.S. employees
- 19.1% of our middle managers and above
- 3 of our 12 Board members
- 7 of our 48 corporate officers
Helping Women Gain Mobility in Saudi Arabia
Our multi-award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life (FDSL) program offers training on speed awareness, distracted driving, vehicle handling, and the simulated effects of drugs and alcohol. It is delivered free of charge to young and newly qualified drivers through hands-on courses, in the classroom and via an interactive Academy on the Ford DSFL website.
In March 2018, Effat University in Jeddah hosted a customized version of the course: the inaugural four-day DSFL “For Her” program. Designed to suit inexperienced female drivers, more than 250 students underwent the hands-on training on closed roads around the university campus.
See how much the DSFL “For Her” program meant to participants at Effat University
The decision to launch the groundbreaking course followed a landmark decision by His Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to lift the ban on female drivers, effective from June 2018. Designed to accommodate women acquiring a driver’s license for the first time, the fact that the program’s worldwide debut coincided with International Women’s Day – a global celebration of female social, economic and cultural achievements – was no coincidence.
Helping women gain greater mobility will have positive socio-economic impacts in the Kingdom. More women will feel empowered and increasingly able to join the workforce, as they will have the freedom to travel to work without relying on others.
“Ford Motor Company was built on the belief that freedom of movement drives human progress, so we are honored to have the opportunity to support women in the Kingdom during such an extraordinary time, and to welcome them to the driver’s seat.”
Shams Hakim, a Business HR student at Effat University, wasn’t just a participant in the DSFL “For Her” program; hers was the face that helped launch it online:
“I’ve always been a passenger in the car and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. As well as being excited, I have had some apprehension about what is actually involved in driving. Ford Driving Skills for Life ‘For Her’ has given me the confidence and education I need for the journey that lies ahead to obtain my license.”
Watch Shams promote DSFL “For Her” in Saudi Arabia