Ford Fund Announces $5 Million Mobility Investment in U.S. Communities

The money will help increase access to essential services and economic opportunities for Americans who currently lack safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

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Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, announced a $5 million investment aimed at addressing transportation insecurity in communities across the U.S., primarily focusing on areas where Ford employees live and work. This initiative is set to revolutionize access to essential services and economic opportunities for a significant portion of Americans who currently lack safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

Central to this initiative is the collaboration with more than a dozen nonprofit organizations, where the Ford Fund is playing a pivotal role in bridging the gap for communities with limited transportation options. This includes partnerships with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan's Ride United program and Feonix - Mobility Rising, which focus on mitigating transportation barriers in both urban and rural settings.

Valerie Lefler, executive director and founder of Feonix - Mobility Rising, expressed her organization's honor in working alongside the Ford Fund. "This investment will provide not only life-changing impact locally for residents but also establish data and mobility service insights that can be expanded across the nation," Lefler said.

The Ford Fund's investment strategy is multifaceted. In Detroit, $600,000 is allocated to Feonix - Mobility Rising for launching three new mobility programs. These include a Grocery Express service offering transportation to local grocery stores for 200 Detroiters weekly, and an Access to Care pilot for maternal health patients. In West Tennessee, a new Transportation Assistance Hub is being developed to cater to rural community needs.

"Our investments in mobility solutions are focused on grassroots collaborations, designed to bridge the gaps in access for under-served and under-resourced communities," said Alex Buznego, senior manager of mobility programs at the Ford Fund.

In Michigan alone, where 38% of households struggle with basic needs like transportation, the Ford Fund has committed $250,000 to the Ride United program. This program aids Detroiters in regaining suspended driver's licenses, making car repairs, acquiring vehicles and accessing on-demand rides. Since its inception in 2019, Ride United has provided nearly 78,000 rides for about 2,800 clients.

"In one recent instance, we helped a client regain their driver's license after 17 years," said Megan Thibos, director of community impact innovation. "This investment from Ford Fund will enable us to enhance our systems, laying the foundation to scale our impact and help more people more efficiently and effectively overcome long-standing transportation barriers."

Additionally, Ford Fund's investment extends to several other organizations and programs, including Disabled American Veterans for transportation to medical appointments, Wayne Mobile Health Unit for wellness checks and prescription management in Detroit neighborhoods, and Vision to Learn for mobile eyecare services in Northeast Ohio. Partnerships with DoorDash and other organizations like Detroit Bus Company, EVHybridnoire and Governors Highway Safety Association further underscore the fund's commitment to addressing transportation challenges across the country.

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