Fords start $10M campaign to support Detroit youth

Bill Ford is using the conversion of a long-vacant train depot into the centerpiece of a Ford Motor Co. mobility campus in Detroit to launch a major fundraising campaign to support the city’s youth.

The Michigan Central Station Children’s Endowment Campaign, established by the automaker’s executive chair and his wife, Lisa, aims to raise at least $10 million by the end of June. Ford Motor plans to open the depot June 6 after six years of renovations.

The campaign, announced Tuesday, will create permanent endowments for 10 nonprofits in the Detroit area that will be selected in a community-led process.

“The station is a symbol of opportunity and progress, and its reopening is a celebration of possibilities,” Bill and Lisa Ford said in a statement.

“The best investment we can make for the future is in our children. We have long supported youth organizations because we believe in the power of next generations. This endowment campaign, in partnership with the Children’s Foundation, will bring us together in new and unique ways, creating a sustainable commitment to serving the children of Detroit.”

In addition to receiving seed money to begin their endowments, the 10 selected groups will receive two years of financial and technical support. Details about the application and selection process for nonprofits will be announced closer to the station’s opening in June.

Ford Motor bought the depot, which became one of Detroit’s most notorious ruins after being abandoned in 1988, for $90 million in 2018. Michigan Central and surrounding properties will have offices for engineers and software developers, as well as a vehicle testing site, a hotel and restaurants.

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