Ford Fund – the automaker’s philanthropic arm – has donated quite a few dollars to some worthy causes over the years, most recently launching a capital grants program in West Tennessee, an idea accelerator program near BlueOval City, creating anti-DUI campaigns, helping those affected by COVID-19, funding a smart mobility challenge, and launching a responsible mining program. Ford Fund also started a pilot program at the historic Spelman College in Atlanta back in 2018, which was designed to help first-generation students get the support they need to obtain a degree. Now, that program is being recognized for helping more than 200 women do precisely that since its inception.
“First-generation college students come to college equipped with the intellect and the social mobility,” Darryl Holloman, school vice president of student affairs, told the Detroit Free Press. “It really, sometimes, comes down to them having the right support and wraparound services. The money from the Ford Fund allows us to do that for some of our first-gen students who come from all over the country.”
“By pairing first generation college students with Ford female executives, we hope to expand their network of support to help ensure their success throughout their college experience and beyond,” added Mary Culler, president of the Ford Fund.
Since its inception, Ford Fund has donated $830,000 to the program, including Alyssa Cabezas, who graduated from Spelman in May as class president, becoming the first in her family to do so – as well as the first to graduate high school. “The program definitely does make a difference,” Cabezas said. “From freshman year, you’re automatically connected with other first gens in a class of, like, 50 of us. You can feel like an imposter being with people whose parents who have been to college. They have a straight and narrow path versus those of us trying to figure it out.”