Ford’s Project Apollo, in cooperation with Ford Motor Company Fund, is launching a community donation program that will initially deliver 10 million masks to at-risk communities across the U.S. with limited access to personal protective equipment.
Project Apollo – Ford’s codename for its efforts to produce personal protective equipment, including respirators, face shields, medical gowns, plus ventilators for COVID-19 patients – has improved its ability to build medical-grade masks and is now manufacturing more than the company needs to keep its employees safe.
Ford Motor Company Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, is engaging its substantial network of nonprofit partners, state and local officials, schools and community groups to mobilize and distribute 10 million masks to help fill the essential needs of hospitals, businesses and communities across the United States.
“Protecting the health of students, families, workers and others at risk in our communities is the top priority as we continue to fight back against this unprecedented pandemic,” said Mary Culler, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are proud to add these masks to our ongoing community support, knowing we are at our best when we all come together to help.”
Masks are being sent to select cities and states with Ford plant locations, as well as other organizations around the country. Recipients for the 10 million masks have been identified and distribution has already started. Additional donations will be made as mask production increases through the end of the year. Decisions on those recipients will be made later. Ford plans to leverage its dealer network where possible once manufacturing ramps up.
Among the first groups to receive masks are:
• African American community – The lack of personal protective equipment remains an obstacle to safe reopening of small businesses in many African American communities. Ford Fund and the National Urban League will provide masks to businesses in cities hard hit by COVID-19, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York.
• DAV – Disabled American Veterans require access to personal protective equipment so they can continue to transport veterans to VA hospitals for medical care. Ford has a 98-year relationship with DAV, longer than any other company in the U.S.
• Food insecure – Food banks and organizations providing food to individuals and families will receive masks to keep volunteers and clients safe.
• American Red Cross – Masks are needed for protection during blood donations.
• Schools – With the ongoing debate over how to proceed with opening schools, it’s clear the need for personal protective equipment will increase, especially in underserved communities where students will be going back to the classroom. The national network of Ford Next Generation Learning will target resources to schools in plant communities needing masks. Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities will also be included.
• Southeast Michigan – Demand remains high for personal protective equipment among many community organizations in southeast Michigan, Ford’s home base. Ford Resource and Engagement Centers in Detroit will be utilized as distribution sites for area neighborhoods.
• State of Michigan – Ford is providing 1.5 million masks to the state for distribution to COVID-19 testing sites, health centers, homeless shelters and more.
Ford, in partnership with United Auto Workers, has produced more than 75 million pieces of personal protective equipment to meet the enormous demand. Altogether, this amounts to:
• More than 19 million face shields and 42 million face masks
• 50,000 patient ventilators (by the end of August)
• More than 32,000 powered air-purifying respirators in collaboration with 3M
• 1.6 million washable isolation gowns
Ford’s workforce was able to quickly shift gears to produce urgently needed medical supplies in part because of its strong U.S. manufacturing footprint. Ford employs more hourly workers in the U.S. than any other automaker and assembles more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker.
Ford Fund has contributed nearly $3 million to nonprofits helping people manage challenges related to the pandemic, including more than $1.1 million delivered by employees and others through the COVID-19 match program. To learn more about Ford Fund’s response to hunger,
shelter and safety issues surrounding COVID-19, and ways you can help, visit www.fordfund.org/covid19.