Spelman College was announced the winner of the Ford Motor Company’s 2nd Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Challenge.
The all-female HBCU took in $75,000 in scholarships and grants from Ford Motor Company and the Ford Motor Company Fund. The Spelman team took home the award for “its innovative program addressing the need for healthier meal options through the creation of in-home vegetable gardens in the West End Atlanta community where Spelman is based.”
The participating colleges were required to present ideas that creatively address a community need in one of four areas: mobility, alternative energy, sustainability/water and a systematic approach to meeting community needs.
Spelman College was chose the victor among three finalists — Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University.
According to Ford:
Now in its second year, the HBCU Community Challenge builds on an existing Ford Fund educational program that focuses on helping to create sustainable communities. It is done in collaboration with national radio personality Tom Joyner, a judge in the competition, as well as the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, the country’s No. 1 hip-hop morning show hosted by nationally renowned standup comedian Rickey Smiley. The program awards a total of $100,000 in scholarships and grants.
“We received a great deal of quality proposals this year,” said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford Multicultural Marketing. “It was extremely hard to narrow the submissions down to the top three, and even tougher to select the winner this year.
“All of the proposals demonstrated the students’ shared commitment to uplifting their respective communities, as well as their understanding of the importance of creating sustainable communities,” added Thompson. “We look forward to seeing these projects blossom and impact communities throughout the country.”
The contest continues Ford century-long legacy of supporting and giving back to the community. Ford is also the presenting sponsor for iconic African American events and awards programs, including the Essence Music Festival, The Tom Joyner Cruise (also known as the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage) and the Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards.
“The HBCU Community Challenge not only allows us to continue our efforts to give back to the African American community, but to do so in a way that encourages innovation and educational empowerment while directly supporting Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development for the Ford Motor Company Fund.
The HBCU Community Challenge reflects Ford’s century-long commitment to supporting the African American community, and its focus on education. Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, invests more than $8 million a year – about one third of its annual financial support – in scholarships and other educational initiatives.