CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ford Motor Company Fund today launched the Ford Driving Dreams Tour, a $105,000 education initiative for seven Chicago-area high schools with significant Latino student populations which promotes on-time high school graduation and college enrollment. Today’s launch will be held during National Hispanic Heritage Month, with a kick-off rally at 9:30 am with students at Curie Metropolitan High School located at 4959 S. Archer Avenue in Archer Heights.
“Education has been a top priority for Ford Fund since its start more than 60 years ago. We have a longstanding commitment to investing in programs that provide access to opportunities and resources that will make a life-changing impact on young people,” said Joe Avila, Manager of Community Relations, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are excited to add this initiative to our extensive philanthropic efforts in Chicago, an important community where we live, work and do business.”
The Ford Driving Dreams Tour incentivizes students through pep rallies, scholarships, college and career preparedness activities, and prizes. Ford is partnering with the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) and ASPIRA, IL to implement the program at ASPIRA Antonia Pantoja Community Charter School, ASPIRA Early College High School, ASPIRA Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School, Curie Metropolitan High School, East Chicago Central High School, George Washington High School, and Roberto Clemente Community Academy.
Chicago Public Schools is the nation’s third largest school district. CPS students in School Year 2013-2014 (SY 13-14) set a record graduation rate of 69.4 percent which marks an all-time high for the district. The FDD Tour is designed to boost these efforts.
“Chicago Public Schools partners with companies that demonstrate a commitment to student achievement, and Ford has succeeded in supporting our district’s mission to foster growth and prosperity in our students,” said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. “When a student graduates, it’s indicative of much more than just the individual effort – it reflects the strengthening of a community as a whole."
Nationally recognized empowerment speaker Roy Juarez, Jr., will kick off the program at a pep rally-style assembly today at Curie Metropolitan High School. Roy, whose powerful story was featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Extraordinary Teens, will speak at four additional rallies kicking off the program this week.
The tour will be implemented in seven Chicago area schools in the 2014-15 school year, and will include scholarships, career and college preparedness grants, high-energy student assemblies and an essay contest–What Drives Your Dream?–in which thousands of students are invited to share their dreams.
The contest reinforces the importance of education while pursuing a dream, and giving back to the community. It is intended to serve as a tool for college readiness by connecting their high school writing assignments to their essay for college application. Ford Fund will award $25,000 in prizes consisting of iPads and gift certificates ranging from $100 to $500.
Seniors from the participating high schools also can apply for college and post-secondary scholarships. Ford Fund will provide $50,000 in scholarships for students in the seven high schools.
In addition to Curie Metropolitan High School, other rallies will be held at these schools:
- October 8: East Chicago Central High School, 9:00 am
- October 9: Roberto Clemente Community Academy, 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
(Students from ASPIRA Charter Schools: Antonia Pantoja Community Charter School; Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School; and ASPIRA Early College High School will attend the morning rally. Clemente students will attend the afternoon rally).
- October 10: George Washington High School, 12:30 pm
Ford Driving Dreams initiatives, including the Tour, are designed to help Latino youth graduate on time and pursue higher education. These efforts have provided nearly $1,400,000 in direct educational resources such as college preparedness, tutoring programs, parental engagement, scholarships, and motivational activities. The Ford programs have reached more than 26,000 students since 2010. Ford Motor Company Fund is launching more than $1 million in new scholarships, grants and career outreach programs this month to further its commitment to education.
Ford has been investing in Chicago programs and initiatives through Operation Better World which is designed to increase Ford's philanthropic and community-related commitment in select communities around the world. In Chicago, national programs include the Henry Ford Academy: Power House High, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), Ford Calumet Environmental Center and Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. Local Chicago Initiatives include: After School Matters, Midtown Education Foundation, Friends of the Parks, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and the Youth Enrichment Program at El Valor
For more information visit fordscholars.org/drivingdreams. Follow us on Twitter at #forddrivingdreams.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.