- Masks will go to national and local nonprofits, schools, veterans and other at-risk communities facing shortages of personal protective equipment
- Project Apollo is ramping up production of masks through the end of this year to meet company and additional community needs
- Latest donation is on top of the more than 75 million pieces of PPE Project Apollo has manufactured to protect healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting COVID-19
DEARBORN, Mich., August 28, 2020 – Ford’s Project Apollo, in cooperation with the Ford Motor Company Fund, are launching a community donation program that will initially deliver 10 million face masks to at-risk communities across the U.S. with limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Project Apollo — Ford’s codename for its efforts producing PPE, including respirators, face shields and medical gowns, and ventilators for COVID-19 patients — has improved its ability to produce 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 more than 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 U.S. 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 PPE remains an obstacle to safe reopening of small businesses in many African American communities. Ford Fund and the National Urban League (NUL) will provide masks to businesses in cities hard hit by COVID-19, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York.
- DAV – The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) require access to PPE 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 fall approaching and the debate over reopening schools heating up, it’s clear the need for PPE 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 on 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 PPE 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.
Nonprofit groups such as DAV will use the masks to continue providing needed services.
“From providing disabled veterans free rides to VA medical appointments to free claims assistance and other much needed services in the community, DAV has continued making all of our no-cost services available to disabled veterans and their families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Kleindienst, DAV’s national voluntary services director. “We simply could not continue these operations without our many selfless volunteers and dedicated employees. Ford’s donation of these masks demonstrates its unwavering commitment to America’s disabled veterans and ensures DAV can continue its mission of supporting them though this pandemic as safely as possible.”
Ford, in partnership with the United Auto Workers, has produced more than 75 million pieces of PPE to meet the enormous demand for personal protective gear and other healthcare equipment:
- More than 18 million face shields and 56 million face masks
- More than 47,000 patient ventilators
- More than 32,000 powered air-purifying respirators in a collaboration with 3M and,
- 1.4 million washable isolation gowns a week for three months with suppliers
Ford’s workforce was able to quickly shift gears to develop 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 assist nonprofits helping people manage challenges related to the pandemic, including more $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.