Ford To Award Transit Vans For Innovative Disaster Relief Solutions

The Ford Motor Company Fund, the Dearborn, Michigan auto manufacturer’s community involvement arm, will be awarding three Ford Transit vehicles to nonprofit organizations who provide the most “innovative” and “effective” disaster relief solutions, the company said in early June.

The Ford Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge will benefit three 501(c)3 organizations in the United States who propose a unique vehicle use to address a challenge facing the local community. The challenge comes just as hurricane season is beginning, giving nonprofits an opportunity to plan how they would protect and aid communities in the event of a potential disaster.

Ford said there will be multiple factors in awarding the three vans, including vehicle use, the community’s challenge and the best ideas.

“Winning entries will be selected based on proposed vehicle use, the unique challenge facing the community and the ideas deemed best at meeting that challenge with a Ford Transit,” the company said in a statement. “Three grants of up to $70,000 each will be awarded to purchase a Ford Transit cargo or passenger van, and for the cost of equipping and customizing the vehicle.”

Winners will be notified in September, which is Natural Disaster Preparedness Month, Ford said. Each winner will receive a grant of up to $70,000 to purchase and customize a Ford Transit cargo or passenger van to their needs.

Ford Fund President Jim Vella said it is integral that affected people get help as soon as possible during natural disasters, which is why Ford is hoping to strengthen communities through the challenge.

“When natural disaster strikes, it is critical to move the right people, the right materials and the right vehicles to impacted areas to help people as quickly as possible,” Vella said. “Nowhere is our mission to strengthen communities more urgent than in recovery efforts during the hours, days and weeks following a natural disaster.”

Ford held their first Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge in 2016, with the winning organizations using their vehicles to help relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. The three winning organizations were Catholic Charities, Team Rubicon and ToolBank.

Ford Fund Coordinator Kyle Green said the company hopes to give first responders an advantage before any disasters occur, so that disaster relief efforts can be as successful as possible.

“We want to give first responders on the ground every advantage we can as they carry out their life-saving work under extreme and unpredictable conditions,” Green said. “Ultimately, we want to be there with tools and necessities to help communities get up and running again, and get people back on their feet.”

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