Ford and North Texas Ford Dealers Fuel STEM Education and Invest Nearly $350,000 in Local Scholarships
The North Texas Ford Dealers and Ford Motor Company Fund wrapped up the school year by awarding nearly $350,000 in scholarships and technology prizes to North Texas students from more than 100 high schools located in the communities where Ford dealers operate.
Ford announced and celebrated the scholarship winners at a special event today that also brought together parents, educators and community leaders. Nearly 80 percent of the scholarship recipients plan to pursue a degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the majority will attend universities in Texas. The STEM fields represent tremendous job opportunities, especially in Texas. According to a study by STEM Connector, Where are the STEM Students? Texas ranks second as the state projected to have most STEM jobs in the country by 2018.
Participating Ford dealers worked with high schools in their neighborhoods and awarded up to three scholarships at each school. This localized approach ensures that Ford’s educational efforts reach the expansive North Texas area from Dallas and Gainesville to Fairfield.
“The North Texas Ford Dealers are part of the fabric of this community and by working jointly with Ford Fund, this year we have doubled our scholarship investment and are able to help our young people achieve a stronger future,” said Sam Pack, chairman of the North Texas Ford Dealers. “It’s been exciting to connect with our local high schools and close the school year knowing that Ford will make a college education more accessible for many local students.”
Scholarship recipient Selena Marroquin, 18, will be the first in her family to go to college and was inspired by a friend to pursue a degree in science. “During my middle school years, I had a best friend who had cancer. This experience moved me to become involved in science and medicine,” said Marroquin. “Currently I have a part-time job to make money to save for college and the Ford scholarship gets me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life and join the medical field to help others like my friend.” Marroquin graduated from H. Grady Spruce High School and plans to pursue a degree in biology at University of Texas, Dallas.
The scholarships are part of Ford’s overall education efforts in North Texas and concludes the Ford Driving Dreams initiatives for the 2014-2015 school year, which focused on promoting reading at an early age and helping students graduate from high school on time, and go to college. The scholarships were administered by Stars on the Rise, an education initiative by the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“There are so many talented students who are not able to achieve a college education due to financial limitations,” said Rick Ortiz, president of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, “The North Texas Ford dealers and Ford Fund are doing something about this and we commend them for helping make post-secondary education a reality for our North Texas youth.”
Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, invests more than $8 million a year in scholarships and other education initiatives. In addition to Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Fund educational programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning, Ford College Community Challenge and the Ford STEAM Lab.
North Texas is a Ford Operation Better World market. Launched in 2008, the Operation Better World framework enables Ford Fund, dealers and other groups to collaborate on a strategic approach to philanthropy and more effectively meet community needs. In North Texas, Ford’s main focus is education, but it also supports other community needs such as hunger relief efforts and teen driver safety. Ford’s local partners include the Dallas Independent School District, the Fort Worth Independent School District, Stars on the Rise, Parents Step Ahead, SER Jobs for Progress, University Cross Roads and the North Texas Food Bank. Statewide, Ford has invested more than $22 million in community building initiatives since 2000.