|[July 04, 2014]
Ford Announces $1 Million Donation to Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
NEW ORLEANS --(Business Wire)--
Ford Motor Company (News - Alert) is building on a century-long commitment to
supporting the African American community with a $1 million donation to
the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The donation from Ford Motor Company Fund, the company's philanthropic
arm, will support the museum's capital campaign. It will also go toward
funding key programs when the museum - the only national site devoted
exclusively to documenting African American life, art, history and
culture - opens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2016.
"Since Henry Ford's groundbreaking $5 a day wage in 1913, which paid
people equally regardless of race, Ford has invested in programs that
empower and celebrate the African American community," said Jim Vella,
president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "Ford is
proud to work with the Smithsonian on this museum that will recognize
the tremendous contributions of African Americans to our country and our
Ford and the Smithsonian Institution jointly made the announcement today
at the 20th anniversary of the ESSENCE Festival in New
Orleans. Follow the social conversation at #fordgivesback.
Ford's relationship with the Smithsonian dates back 40 years, with the
company donating more than $11.5 million to support exhibits and
programs that provide educational opportunities for families:
Ford Fund supported the Smithsonian Freedom's Sisters, which
celebrated 20 African American women who fought for equality for all
Americans and traveled to 12 cities from 2007 to 2012
In 2013, Ford Fund worked with the Smithsonian American History Museum
to expand its Spark!Lab to three museums across the country. Designed
to look and feel like an inventor's workshop, these spaces challenge
children to create, experiment and invent in interactive innovation
Ford Fund currently supports the museum's American Sabor exhibit that
explores the influence of Latino musicians in America and is traveling
to 13 cities through 2015
Ford Fund also is investing in conservation research for the giant
panda at the National Zoo, including the popular Panda Cam, which
allows visitors from around the world to view the newest panda cub
"We are so pleased that he Ford Motor Company Fund has chosen to join
hundreds of donors from across the country to build a groundswell of
support for the National Museum of African American History and Culture;
we recognize this as a vote of confidence," said Lonnie G. Bunch III,
founding director of the museum. "It is a genuine honor to have the
company join us in our commitment to bring to the nation's capital a
truly innovative cultural resource - one capable of telling a richer and
fuller story of the development of this country.
"We also applaud the Ford Motor Company for having a long history of
contributing to the growth of African American communities for families
who migrated to Detroit from the rural south," Bunch added. "After
hiring its first African American employee in 1914, Ford, by 1926, had
hired more than 10,000 African Americans, making it the largest employer
of African Americans in the auto industry. By 1931, 20 percent of
Detroit's African American population was supported by Ford jobs."
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was
established by an act of Congress in 2003 as the 19th museum of the
Smithsonian. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to
exploring and documenting American history through an African American
lens. The nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is under construction on a
five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. It is being
outfitted with 11 exhibitions at a cost of about $500 million. Half the
cost is covered by the U.S. Congress; the museum is responsible for
raising the rest.
While its building is under construction, the museum is presenting
exhibitions in its gallery at the Smithsonian's National Museum of
American History. The current exhibit, "Changing America: The
Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington,
1963," explores these two civil rights milestones and the impact the
events had on generations. It is open to the public through Sept. 7. For
more information, visit the museum's website.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community
partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. The
Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing
funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches
new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods.
Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high
school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants.
Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and
retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30
countries. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.
For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and
video, visit www.media.ford.com.
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