DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 15, 2014 — Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Company Fund today announced Spelman College as winner of the 2014 Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Challenge. The student team will receive $75,000 in scholarships and grants for its innovative program addressing the need for healthier meal options through the creation of in-home vegetable gardens in the West End Atlanta community where Spelman is based.
Spelman College was selected from among three finalists, which include Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University. Schools in the nationwide contest were asked to present ideas that creatively address a community need touching on at least one of four areas – mobility, alternative energy, sustainability/water and a systematic approach to meeting community needs.
“The HBCU Community Challenge not only allows us to continue our efforts to give back to the African American community, but to do so in a way that encourages innovation and educational empowerment while directly supporting Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” said Pamela Alexander, director, Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund.
Now in its second year, the HBCU Community Challenge builds on an existing Ford Fund educational program that focuses on helping to create sustainable communities. It is done in collaboration with national radio personality Tom Joyner, a judge in the competition, as well as the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, the country’s No. 1 hip-hop morning show hosted by nationally renowned standup comedian Rickey Smiley. The program awards a total of $100,000 in scholarships and grants.
The HBCU Community Challenge reflects Ford’s century-long commitment to supporting the African American community, and its focus on education. Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, invests more than $8 million a year – about one third of its annual financial support – in scholarships and other educational initiatives.
“We received a great deal of quality proposals this year,” said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford Multicultural Marketing. “It was extremely hard to narrow the submissions down to the top three, and even tougher to select the winner this year.
“All of the proposals demonstrated the students’ shared commitment to uplifting their respective communities, as well as their understanding of the importance of creating sustainable communities,” added Thompson. “We look forward to seeing these projects blossom and impact communities throughout the country.”