Throughout the years, Ford has worked tirelessly to establish factories and plants around the world, making it a truly global automaker in the process. Unfortunately, many of the countries and communities where Ford workers call home face their own set of challenges and issues.
Community outreach is a cause that Ford has always taken very seriously, which is why the automaker, along with its executive chairman Bill Ford, established the Bill Ford Better World Challenge. The winners of the 2017 challenge were recently awarded a combined total of $200,000 in funding.
History of the Bill Ford Better World Challenge
The Bill Ford Better World Challenge, which was established two years ago, is jointly funded by the Ford Fund and Bill Ford himself. The purpose of the challenge is to provide employee volunteers with an opportunity to help make a difference in the countries where Ford does business. Ford’s employees are encouraged to submit ideas that involve unique ways to solve various global issues. The winners of the challenge are awarded funding to transform their ideas into active initiatives. For example, the winning initiative in 2016 was the Thailand Clean Water Community project, which worked to upgrade purification systems for nine rural schools in Thailand.
A hygiene project in India
Of the funding awarded last year, $140,000 will go to a hygiene project in Kancheepuram, India. Like many areas in India, Kancheepuram lacks toilets or private restroom facilities. These circumstances create an environment where disease can spread more easily. The project, managed by the Indian nonprofit Gramalaya, will bring restroom facilities to three separate villages near the Kancheepuram rural district by creating a total of 300 toilets in the general area. Construction is set to start at the beginning of 2018.
A clean water initiative in Mexico
The second project, which will receive $60,000 in funding, is based in Guayacan, Mexico. Much like the Thailand Clean Water Community project, this initiative works to bring clean water to the residents of Guayacan.
“Northwest Mexico has high concentrations of arsenic in the water, so this project will help make sure people have safe drinking water and a place to meet and gather,” explains Cindy Turner, a Ford engineer who is leading the project. “Having clean water is a basic necessity in life, so we believe this project will have a dramatic impact on the community.”
The initiative will provide up to 750 families with the opportunity to have their own in-home water filtration system for as little as one payment of $5. Once construction approvals are secured, the project is projected to begin later this winter.
“I am extremely proud of the work our employees are doing to bring about positive change around the world,” says Bill Ford. “Access to basic necessities is not something that can be taken for granted in many communities, and these projects will have an immediate and positive impact on the quality of life for so many people.”
Even after a brief two years, the Bill Ford Better World Challenge has brought real change to the communities that Ford interacts with. It just goes to show that a few dedicated individuals can truly make a difference.
This article is presented by Jannell Ford in Hanover, MA.