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Building Sustainable Communities

At Ford, we recognize the need for strong communities and the role we can play in leveraging our resources to support community life.

By making people’s lives better in communities around the globe, we can help achieve a better world. We’re focusing our efforts in key areas including hunger relief, poverty alleviation, and support for the elderly, disabled, military veterans and other underrepresented populations. We also support environmental initiatives, with a particular emphasis on access to water, hygiene and sanitation.

In 2017, we supported more than 700 community groups and projects, including:

  • Opening a second Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Detroit
  • Being lead investor in the Cass Community Social Services tiny homes project in Detroit, an innovative neighborhood revitalization plan designed to provide affordable housing for low-income residents and people who were once homeless

Building a Better World

Project Better World is rooted in Ford’s belief in social business – being intentional about the business of making the world a better place. Through Project Better World, we work with government agencies, corporations, civil society, impact investors, social entrepreneurs and academia to find ways to improve the human condition. Activities focus around the key areas of health, education and driver safety.

Our current work focuses on three locations: India, Nigeria and South Africa. Working with four major partners – World Vision, Riders for Health, George Washington University and Global Water Challenge – our activities have positively impacted 140,000 lives to date.


In India, we have partnered with World Vision to deliver innovative health and educational services in local communities through mobile clinics and libraries. Using two Ford Endeavors, World Vision’s interventions have reached more than 57,000 people, including:

  • 9,612 schoolchildren who received training in water, sanitation and hygiene
  • 10,915 schoolchildren given access to a mobile library
  • 1,370 drivers trained on road safety awareness
  • 3,104 children vaccinated for measles and rubella
  • 5,450 community members who participated in medical health camps


Riders for Health, along with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and three NGOs, is using two Ford Rangers to deliver critical health interventions to more than 81,000 people. Services include HIV and AIDS testing, TB screening, malaria treatment, prescription drug distribution and viral particle measurements for HIV patients.

South Africa

Using two Ford Rangers, we have supported World Vision in delivering child and maternal health services to thousands in underserved communities:

  • 2,848 people have received TB screening, HIV testing and deworming treatments
  • 1,368 people have attended health presentations and engagements
  • 462 have participated in health clubs, with meetings and training

Transforming Communities

Ford Fund’s Operation Better World is a coordinated, grassroots initiative with nonprofits and dealers to develop transformational programs focused on mobility, education and sustainable communities.

In collaboration with the nonprofit Global Giving Foundation, innovative programs in 56 markets utilize the expertise of local Ford teams and community leaders to make a world of difference. Here are just some of our recent activities:

  • Australia

    We recently set up a STEAM Hub at Northern Bay College in Geelong, running events and mentoring student teams in interschool competitions designed to promote science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. In 2017, engineers from our nearby Product Design Center contributed 1,048 hours to support STEAM projects, reaching 5,700 students directly.

  • Laos

    Employees from Lao Ford City in Laos also teamed up with World Vision, with 20 volunteers cleaning the grounds of Mahosot Hospital and donating cleaning equipment.

  • The Philippines

    Together with the American Chamber Foundation Philippines, Ford supports a number of communities through development agency Gawad Kalinga. In 2017, Ford employee and dealer volunteers spent 824 hours helping build, paint and repair houses for 20 families; organized children’s activities; and conducted six medical and dental missions, benefiting 2,419 people. Ford also led the training of 158 health care volunteers.

  • South Africa

    Partnering with the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, in 2018, Ford South Africa funded the purchase of specially adapted wheelchairs. These can traverse sand, enabling people with physical disabilities to access the beach.

  • Sri Lanka

    Ford volunteers from Future Automobiles Ltd., together with World Vision Lanka, set up a mobile medical camp to support 400 underprivileged residents of Kattumurivu village.

  • United Arab Emirates

    The Henry Ford Entrepreneurial Academy (HFEA), which promotes entrepreneurship across the Middle East and Africa, held a three-day workshop for 40 participants at the newly opened Youth Hub in Dubai, in conjunction with the UAE’s Ministry of Affairs. In 2018, further events took place in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai in the UAE, as well as in Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Disaster Relief

Ford has a long history of assisting communities devastated by natural disasters around the world. Each year Ford Fund provides more than $1 million in grants to nationally recognized aid organizations, as well as donating vehicles, supporting employee-matching and volunteer programs, and coordinating with dealers to mobilize immediate and long-term assistance.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Ford and Ford Fund worked with Houston-area dealers to raise $3.5 million to support relief efforts. Ford Fund and Ford Puerto Rico have also teamed up with local nonprofits, investing more than $1.2 million to support continuing disaster recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and María. Two Ford Social Mobility Centers are providing residents with food, water and other supplies. Ford Fund also announced the donation of two additional vehicles to provide educational and medical services around the island. Three vehicles donated to the Salvation Army and Red Cross have been able to transport greater quantities of supplies to remote island neighborhoods.

Ford Fund also continues to innovate and expand the reach of our helping hands. The Ford Motor Company Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge is a U.S.-based initiative that challenges nonprofits to find creative ways to help people in their communities. The Challenge provides grants to assist the purchase of a custom-outfitted Ford Transit or truck to serve in missions that rebuild damaged communities. The first three recipients – Team Rubicon, ToolBank and Catholic Charities – all used their vehicles in support of Hurricane Harvey relief.

Providing Access to Community Services

Ford was founded in Detroit in 1903, and we have been investing in the city and surrounding area ever since.

Together, Ford and Ford Fund have invested more than $166 million in southeast Michigan over the past 10 years to support programs such as the Tiny Homes neighborhood project, a fleet of 20 Ford Mobile Food Pantries and Ford Blue Oval Scholarships. And since 2005, Ford Volunteer Corps has participated in nearly 10,000 local community service projects to make people’s lives better.

To better support the communities we serve, 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.

We want to harness the untapped potential in our schools and neighborhoods to help more people gain access to the benefits of a stronger, more prosperous Detroit.”

Jim Vella

Jim Vella,President, Ford Motor Company Fund

 Case Study

Ford Partners With Cancer Treatment Centers

A partnership in Germany shows how Ford can bring its expertise to help the wider community.

Mike Butler, a quality director at a Ford assembly plant in Cologne, Germany, was fascinated by the process through which he and fellow cancer patients were treated. He saw an opportunity to introduce practices from the car manufacturing facility, where he works, to cancer treatment centers, like the one that saved his life, so that they might run more smoothly.

Butler and his team researched and proposed changes that are now being implemented at the Center for Integrated Oncology (CIO) at the University of Cologne, and have already contributed to a 30 percent improvement in patient flow.

This has since developed into a two-way flow of ideas, as hospital staff are bringing their experience of working with big data to bear on Ford’s research into future vehicles. The company is now applying this thinking in relation to future vehicles and new technologies.

Medicine is an ever-changing science where small changes have a huge impact on the lives of patients. With Ford’s help, we are making huge improvements that will benefit the lives and treatment of future patients for years to come.”

Prof Dr. Michael Hallek,Director, Center for Integrated Oncology