Ford Motor Company contributed to Defund the Police movement
A claim going around the Internet is that Ford Motor Company donated to the “Defund the Police” movement. Slogans and banners of “Defund the Police” are being seen in the ongoing fight for racial justice in the country. And it’s a polarizing topic as well. Therefore, FoMoCo supposedly donating to “Defund the Police” is being questioned considering the automotive giant is the leading manufacturer of police cruisers. But Ford Motor Company has clarified their stance on this claim.
Did Ford Motor Company Donate to “Defund the Police?”
According to a report online, Ford Motor Company allegedly donated to the growing “Defund the Police” initiative. To support this claim, the report cites the work by the Ford Foundation, the leading philanthropic organization of the country, to end racial inequality.
The Ford Foundation was founded by Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford, who founded Ford Motor Company. Under Edsel and Henry Ford, the Ford Foundation was the charitable arm of the automotive company.
After the deaths of the founders, the Ford Foundation sold all of its non-voting shares in FoMoCo by 1974. The Ford Foundation and Ford Motor Company at present don’t have ties to each other. The Ford Motor Company Fund, founded by Henry Ford II in 1949, is FoMoCo’s current philanthropic arm.
However, for the first time since 1974, a member of the Ford family now has a leadership position in the Ford Foundation. In February 2019, Henry “Sonny” Ford III was elected to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
According to the report, Sonny Ford has been at the helm of the Ford Foundation’s education and social justice philanthropy. Under his charge, the Ford Foundation has donated millions to Borealis Philanthropy to support its work for gender, racial, and ethnic justice.
Borealis Philanthropy is an organization that helps social justice organizations connect to grantmakers. It helps multiple Black-led organizations through grants. However, there’s no record of it providing grants to Black Lives Matter since 2018.
The Ford Foundation has reportedly donated over $7.0 million to BLM through Borealis since 2016. The report cites this contribution to claim that Ford supports the “Defund the Police” movement.
It’s a surprising claim considering Ford Motor Company is the leading manufacturer of police cruisers. It’s unlikely that Ford would support an initiative that would make law enforcement unable to buy vehicles from them.
However, the Ford Foundation and Ford Motor Company are separate entities in their present-day forms. Sonny Ford’s work through the Ford Foundation has no bearing on FoMoCo’s operations.
Ford Motor Company Responds to Claim
In response to the claim that Ford Motor Company is supporting the “Defund the Police” movement, FoMoCo released the following statement:
Ford Motor Company and the Ford Foundation are completely separate entities and have operated independent of each other since the mid-1970s. Ford has no control of the Ford Foundation’s grant-making policies or decisions. Ford’s charitable arm is the Ford Motor Company Fund.
Ford is proud to be America’s long-time leader in producing police, emergency and first responder vehicles. Our Police Interceptor vehicles are by far the top choice of law enforcement and other emergency services agencies across the country.
To be clear, Ford believes racism, abuse of power and repression in law enforcement must be addressed and stamped out wherever they exist. Good law enforcement agencies and officers play a critical positive role in our communities, but safety and fairness must be inclusive of all, everywhere.
Contrary to some misinformed stories online, neither Ford Motor Company nor the Ford Motor Company Fund has provided funding to any campaign to “defund the police.” Rather, through technology and innovation, Ford will continue to play a positive role in promoting more safety and accountability in policing and produce even safer police vehicles. Ford will continue to work closely with local and state police associations across the country on positive solutions.”
The statement explicitly expresses that the automotive manufacturer and its current philanthropic wing haven’t contributed to “Defund the Police.” It also clarifies that FoMoCo and the Ford Foundation are independent of each other.