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Posted at Fri, Mar 10, 2017 1:30 PM
  • Ford Motor Company Fund invests $25,000 in two non-profit organizations that are helping military veterans transition back to civilian life
  • Ford Fund President Jim Vella joined actor Blair Underwood to surprise veteran organizations with contributions as part of NBC’s GIVE television series
  • Ford Fund has been supporting America’s military veterans for more than 95 years with innovative programs that help improve the lives of veterans and their families

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2017 – Ford Motor Company Fund and NBC’s GIVE program joined forces to assist two non-profits in the nation’s capital that are helping improve the lives of U.S. military veterans.

During a veteran-themed episode that aired on Saturday, Ford Fund — the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company — surprised the Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) with $15,000 and Bunker Labs DC with $10,000.

The two small non-profits are having a big impact easing men and women back into civilian life from military service. GIVE host Blair Underwood consulted with Ford Fund President Jim Vella on how to split the investment between the two deserving organizations. It’s the type of decision Vella makes all the time.

“Most important is community need — you always want to meet the greatest need,” Vella told Underwood. “You make some of the decision with your head and some with your heart.”

The two non-profits receiving the Ford Fund investments provide unique support to military veterans. The organizations are having an important, positive impact on people’s lives and they are doing it in different ways.

  • Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) helps veterans, service members and military families reintegrate into their communities through the arts. ASAP promotes expression, skill-building and camaraderie through classes in stand-up comedy, storytelling and creative writing, providing participants with life skills, a renewed sense of purpose and healing.
  • Bunker Labs is a national not-for-profit organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans to become leaders in innovation. Bunker Labs provides educational programming mentors, events, and local networks to help military veterans start and grow businesses.

“This is incredibly humbling,” said Sam Pressler, founder, ASAP. “We will be able to take this check and empower hundreds of veterans to come home and find a voice and purpose in the community. It’s incredible. We’re so grateful.”

“You’ve all had the opportunity to serve our country and this is a way that our employees can serve you for a change,” Vella told veterans at Bunker Labs as the surprise was revealed. The Ford Fund grant will be used to create an app that will connect members around the country.  

“We’re all going to use it,” said Todd Connor, founder, Bunker Labs. “This will bring our whole community together.”

Ford Motor Company has been supporting military veterans for more than 95 years. Ford Fund has 67 years of experience working with non-profit organizations. Ford Fund supports programs and organizations that are innovative and making an impact in the lives of veterans including through scholarship, job training, medical transportation and other transition services. 

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