Ford Motor Company and its community relations arm, Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund), announced Tuesday the launch of a major program in Detroit to strengthen neighborhoods and provide support for education, summer jobs programs and other community needs.
The $10 million program is called Operation Brighter Future -- Detroit.
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. Under the arrangement, the building --which has been unused in recent years -- will offer cultural and job training programs and other community services, including a Gleaners client choice food service center. Ford Fund will provide funding to local nonprofits to implement these programs and also provide the resources to operate the facility for at least four years.
"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, and we envision exciting cultural programming on the soon-to-be enhanced plaza space, complete with a new water fountain feature to extend this extraordinary exterior community plaza.”
Ford also said it will “adopt” the Patton Recreation Center in southwest Detroit. Presently designated as a senior center, Ford will provide funding to add a wide variety of youth programming at the center, including arts, gymnastics, lacrosse, karate and swimming.
In addition, Ford will provide funding for the Brighter Future Summer Camp at Patton Recreation Center. The camp will offer 80 to 90 youth a meaningful and fun youth summer camp experience. Ford Fund also will provide a limited number of scholarships for youth to attend Camp Brighter Future.
“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.”
Other initiatives in Operation Brighter Future -- Detroit include:
- Donation to the Public Safety Foundation of two F-Series chassis, which will be turned into new ambulances for the city of Detroit
- Support for Greening of Detroit and its projects to turn abandoned sites into parks
- Funding for the Detroit Summer Youth Employment program that provides training and work experience for youth ages 14 to 21
“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.”