Woman adjusting the rear view mirror in the car

Expanding Access to Education and Economic Opportunities

Education is the foundation to economic opportunity and upward mobility. With a growing wealth gap, income inequality and other structural barriers limiting educational and economic opportunities for far too many, our investments are designed to empower students for success and create pathways to high-quality jobs through skill training programs and higher education. Our entrepreneurship programs build economic opportunity for those who have traditionally lacked access to capital and other business resources. Below are examples of some of the ways we empower students and elevate entrepreneurs.

Ford Driving Dreams

Inspiring kids to graduate from high school and giving them the tools they need to navigate the future of work, our Ford Driving Dreams initiative has reached students across the United States, Latin America, including Puerto Rico, and Spain – delivering scholarships, tutoring programs and other resources to prepare them for success. In collaboration with North Texas Ford dealers, we have now expanded our scholarship program to reach students pursuing automotive technician training as well.

Young man writing on a whiteboard with spanish road signs around the classroom

Ford First Gen

The Ford First Gen program is designed to improve graduation rates among first-generation Black college students. Launched at Spelman College, a Historically Black College, the program pairs first-generation college students with a Ford Motor Company mentor and provides them with access to other resources and opportunities.

Students attend monthly seminars focused on networking, career development and building healthy support systems – all designed to help them succeed throughout their four years in college. Upon completion of their sophomore year, students have an opportunity to become program mentors themselves, gaining valuable leadership experience as they guide a new cohort of first-generation college students through their first year in college. Students meet with industry professionals for insight into today’s workplace, work with Spelman faculty and complete Ford-sponsored summer internships.

Ford College Community Challenge

The Ford College Community Challenge is a global grant competition that empowers student entrepreneurs to envision and lead change in their communities. Student teams develop and submit project ideas aimed at meeting community needs – ranging from food insecurity to access to clean water, transportation and more. Winning teams receive grants to implement their projects, often in partnership with organizations in their communities.

Launched in the U.S. in 2008, the program has expanded to now operate in 10 additional countries. In most countries, the program is run in collaboration with Enactus – an international nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action.


University students in Scotland developed job opportunities for homeless people on campus.
Standing and sitting audience of women clapping


Powered by Ford Fund and 1863 Ventures, HERImpact seeds and scales social enterprises created by women.

The program builds a community of women founders and entrepreneurs, creating a network that provides expertise, coaching and mentoring support. Funding is awarded to founders who pitch their business plans in a competition decided by women in leadership at Ford and 1863 Ventures representatives. 

Since 2017, Ford Fund has invested $350,000 in women-led social enterprises and provided business development resources to more than 500 social entrepreneurs in Detroit; Kansas City, Missouri; Miami; and Washington, D.C.