The Ford Motor Company Fund, and executive chairman Bill Ford, announced the award of $200,000 in funding as part of the Bill Ford Better World Challenge. This grant will support two international projects to improve health and sanitation conditions in India and Mexico. These two recipients will be joined by a third award allocated later in 2018.
The Bill Ford Better World Challenge is jointly funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the company's philanthropic arm, and Bill Ford himself, providing a motivating example for corporate leadership. The program works to give employee volunteers the opportunity to serve with community activists in places worldwide where Ford does business.
The Challenge encourages employees and community partners to submit ideas that will solve global problems including issues surrounding mobility, as well as the scarcity of food, water and shelter. An interesting part of this effort is that it is entirely pitched and developed by Ford employess around the globe.
The first grant for the 2018 year has been awarded in the rural district of Kancheepuram, India, just outside of Chennai, where toilets and private restroom facilities are nonexistent. The grant will provide 100 residential SMART toilets in three villages for a total of 300 toilets. The SMART toilet facility is equipped with lighting, allowing for hand washing, and provides twin pits for sustainable use and maintenance.
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Construction in Kancheepuram is slated to begin in January with planned completion in fall 2018. Installation of the toilets will be done using volunteer help from Ford employees at the Chennai plant and will be managed by Gramalaya, a nonprofit in India that works to install SMART toilets. Gramalaya, with 30 years of experience in sanitation programs, is dedicated to helping India become an open defecation-free country.
The second grant is to be awarded in Guayacan, Mexico, near Hermosillo, where potable water is a rarity. This project will build the Guayacan Community Center, where filtered water will be available to residents, along with access to bathrooms with toilets and running water for hand washing, and ffer up to 750 families the opportunity to have their own in-home water filtration system for a one-time payment of $5 (U.S.). Ford is working with Aqua Clara International, a Michigan-based nonprofit, to provide the water filters.
The Ford Fund focuses its giving efforts around three core areas: community life, education and driver's safety. The Bill Ford Better World Challenge is unique in that it is led by Ford employees, and has direct funding from Bill Ford to extend the impact of these investments in local communities.