The Henry Ford in Dearborn received a $10 million grant from the Ford Foundation to help make the 90-year-old institution more inclusive and accessible to all regardless of background or barriers. The Ford Foundation Equity Initiative will focus on education, community engagement, and infrastructure improvements.
The grant also will allow The Henry Ford to offer free field trips to fourth and fifth grade students enrolled in the Detroit Public Schools Community District for the next five years and help the organization offer its digital Innovate curriculum to middle school students from the district.
“It is critical, more than ever in today’s society, that all students hone the habits and mindsets of innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford. “Young people are eager to make their mark in this world but aren’t always given the opportunity. We want to ensure that our region, our state, and our country can successfully compete with any other in terms of innovation, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. All children should have the opportunity to activate their own innovation journey.”
The initiative will help The Henry Ford create accessible environments, updating restrooms and other amenities to accommodate guests with a range of abilities; build on its sensory-friendly programming and tactile tours; create partnership with universities regionally and nationally to inform students of internships and apprenticeships at The Henry Ford; increase the reach of The Henry Ford’s Youth Mentorship Program to offer more opportunities and support for at-risk high school students; and welcome historians, community leaders, and the general public to regular town hall meetings.
“I am thrilled to partner with The Henry Ford with an investment in the futures of young Detroiters with this Equity Initiative,” says Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “I believe strongly in the revitalization of the city of Detroit, and it is the youth, with their creativity, innovation, and dedication, who will continue the upward trajectory and leave their own legacy. But we must ensure every child has an equitable opportunity to do just that.”
The Henry Ford includes the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center, and Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school.
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant making organization based in New York. It has worked to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement for more than 80 years. It has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.