Ford Extends Commitment to African American Community with Forum, National Outreach Honoring Men of Courage

  • Ford convenes Men of Courage forum where diverse group of men take
    action to provide social and financial capital for projects honoring
    black men
  • National Men of Courage contest calls on black men to share stories
    and solutions for building communities; winner to be announced May 17
    at Ford Freedom Awards in Detroit
  • Ford continues work with 2016 Grammy nominee Big Sean and former
    Detroit mayor and NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing to elevate positive
    stories from a range of audiences

BALTIMORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ford Motor Company Fund is celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by
launching a national initiative around Men of Courage – a program that
honors and amplifies the accomplishments of African American men with
the goal of strengthening communities and creating positive social

The initiative consists of a national contest of inspirational stories
from which Ford will select a winner to honor at Ford Freedom Awards May
17 in Detroit. Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, is also
developing a free online curriculum and teaching guide that profiles 20
prominent African American men. The program seeks to enable junior and
secondary high school students to create visions for success. Visit
for contest and curriculum information.

The national contest is being launched as part of a Men of Courage
gathering at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American
History & Culture in Baltimore. Ford, Baltimore Gas and Electric
Company, and 100 Black Men of America convened a diverse group of 60
black men ranging in age from 17 to 70 for a daylong forum of
storytelling, visioning and developing plans for action.

“Ford has a long history of supporting the African American community
and is a trusted source when it comes to building communities,” said
forum participant Burt Jordan, Ford vice president, Global Vehicle and
Powertrain Purchasing & Supplier Diversity. “Men of Courage has the
power to bring together African American men in a way that will
positively impact people throughout the country.”

Group members have made more than 300 commitments to provide social and
financial capital to projects honoring black men. These include support
for a yearlong program at Reginald F. Lewis Museum around the theme Year
of the Black Male, which explores past, present and future issues facing
black men. Members also have pledged to help scale Shop Talk – a monthly
panel discussion; the series was developed by Sebastian Jackson, a
Detroit-based entrepreneur and owner of Social Grooming, an innovative
barbershop and community meeting place.

“I believe we have the talent and skills to solve today’s social
challenges right in our own communities,” said Calvin G. Butler Jr.,
CEO, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. “Men of Courage is an important
program because it provides support to those who are developing
solutions, and gives our young people a guide to how they can create a
brighter future for themselves.”

Launched as a pilot program in Detroit last year, Men of Courage
connects diverse black men from local communities with a growing list of
renowned advocates and celebrities. Together, these groups seek to
support one another and align to build relationships in an effort to
help improve the perception of African American men in society.

“After being a part of the Men of Courage pilot program and witnessing
the benefits of uplifting our community, I am proud to lend my voice and
take this effort to the national level,” said Big Sean, Grammy-nominated
multi-platinum-selling artist.

Ford is also continuing to work with former Detroit mayor and NBA Hall
of Famer Dave Bing to elevate positive stories from a range of audiences.

The company’s support of the African American community dates back to
the early 20th century when Ford was the largest employer of African
Americans in the auto industry. Now, with signature initiatives
including Men of Courage, the annual Ford Freedom Awards and
Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Challenge, Ford is
building on that support.

Follow the online conversation using #MenOfCourage.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community
and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community
life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with
ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is
free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development
and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and
impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford
Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning and other inspiring
programs that enhance high school learning and provide college
scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists
more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local
projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in
more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit

About Ford Motor Company

Motor Company
, a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 197,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the
company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company
provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more
information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

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Lisa Wilmore, 313.980.4766
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Xina Eiland, 703.785.4358