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Posted at Thu, Apr 20, 2017 4:45 PM
  • Ford Motor Company Fund invests $25,000 in two non-profit organizations that are training students who are underrepresented in technical fields
  • Ford Fund President Jim Vella provided advice to journalist Jenna Bush Hager, who delivered the surprise grants on NBC’s Emmy-nominated GIVE television show
  • Over the course of two GIVE episodes Ford Fund has contributed $50,000 to four non-profits, two supporting military veterans and two helping drive tech careers

SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 2017 – Ford Motor Company Fund and NBC’s GIVE program joined forces to assist two small non-profits that are having a big impact helping African-Americans, Latinos and women develop their technical skills, while opening pathways to career opportunities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

During an episode focused on STEAM education that aired on Saturday, Ford Fund — the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company — surprised The Hidden Genius Project in Oakland, California with a $15,000 grant and Code2040 in San Francisco with $10,000. Last month, Ford Fund also provided $25,000 to two grassroots non-profits in Washington, D.C. that are helping military veterans transition back to civilian life.

Ford Fund President Jim Vella was part of an expert panel providing guidance to “GIVE” Host Jenna Bush Hager after she visited the two organizations. Hager consulted the panel on how to split the investment between the two deserving organizations.

“Working with local agencies such as these boosts the impact of our investments and allows us to help more people learn essential technical skills and steer their own course toward a successful career,” said Vella. “Equipping young people with STEAM skills will open up more opportunities to improve their lives and lift overall community prosperity.”

The two non-profits receiving the Ford Fund grants are having an important, positive impact on people’s lives and they are doing it in different ways. Not only are they encouraging and advancing tech education, but they are also creating partnerships that can remove obstacles to achieving career goals.

  • The Hidden Genius Project was founded by five African American men who were frustrated by the high unemployment rate among their peers while many good jobs were going unfilled in the technology sector. The program connects young African American men with technical skill development and pathways to a successful future.
  • Code2040 is a non-profit focused on supporting emerging technical talent in the African American and Latino communities. CODE2040 engages tech companies to craft partnerships and initiatives that will help them attract a diverse and talented workforce. Code 2040 Founder, Laura Weidman Powers, received the Ford Freedom Award in 2015.

“This is incredibly helpful,” said Karla Monterroso, vice president of programs, Code2040. “We’re really looking at what expansion of the program looks like.”

“We have so many needs to fill, from supporting our students with transportation to making sure they have computers, and keeping our great team so we can serve more students,” said Brandon Nicholson, founding executive director, The Hidden Genius. “It means a great deal. Thank you for this.

Education is a cornerstone of Ford Fund’s work to make people’s lives better because a diverse, well-trained workforce can transform community life and drive social mobility. In the years ahead, millions of good jobs in STEAM fields will be available and currently African Americans, Latinos and women are underrepresented in STEAM studies. Ford Fund supports innovative, sustainable programs that encourage diverse participation in STEAM so that more people will be empowered to grasp opportunities and compete successfully in the global economy.

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