Ford Driving Dreams Salutes Students with Virtual Ceremonies, Shifts Course Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Signature Ford Fund education program remains focused on helping students achieve success

Still image of Tania Gonzalez on left in off the shoulder top, long dark hair, Ford Driving Dreams and Ford oval logos centered, still from video of Gonzalez in V-neck long-sleeved top.
Screen grab from Ford Driving Dreams virtual event in Houston (Photo courtesy of Comunicad)

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Driving Dreams is steering a new path around COVID-19, but the destination remains the same—to inspire students of all ages to achieve academic success.

Since 2012, Ford Driving Dreams—a signature education initiative of Ford Motor Company Fund—has been providing scholarship awards, contests and pep rallies to inspire multicultural youth and celebrate the benefits of staying in school, graduating on time and pursuing higher education.

As social distancing requirements put limits on group gatherings, Ford Driving Dreams quickly shifted plans for students in Texas in June. In-person events transitioned to virtual ceremonies held via Zoom, which featured motivational speeches from local celebrities, Ford dealers and Ford executives, along with representatives from League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Education Service Centers. The highlight of each online event—in San Antonio, Houston and North Texas—was the announcement of winners of the What Drives Your Dreams? essay contest, which awarded scholarships to high school seniors who wrote about their dream and the positive impact it could have on others.

Ford Driving Dreams Texas: Virtual Event Recap


San Antonio – $50,000 in scholarships awarded to 25 high school students from 25 schools
Houston – $100,000 in scholarships awarded to 50 students from 40 schools
North Texas – $500,000 in scholarships awarded to 250 students from 146 schools

Across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Ford Driving Dreams is supporting students and their families through its annual grant program with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Now in its 10th year, the program provides funding to LULAC Councils nationwide to implement programs that encourage Latino students to graduate from high school and help them pursue higher education. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 program has been adapted to support students and their families with needs related to the global pandemic. Throughout this summer, Ford Driving Dreams is awarding $100,000 in grants for projects focused on providing hunger relief, access to mobility, mental health services and online education opportunities in Hispanic communities around the country.

Twenty-four individual in Zoom displays.
Screen grab of participants in Ford Driving Dreams Spain virtual event (Photo courtesy of Comunicad)

Ford Driving Dreams is inspiring students internationally, as well. At the end of May, Ford Driving Dreams conducted a virtual ceremony in Spain to announce winners of a hackathon focused on developing projects addressing global sustainability and socioeconomic challenges. The top three teams were announced and awarded with grants, mentorship and social entrepreneurship training.

In Panama, Ford Fund has supported the educational needs of students through scholarships since 2015, and in response to COVID-19, more than 185 students and their families received financial grants for their most pressing needs.

Ford Driving Dreams will have a busy second half of the year, as well. Highlights include:

    • This September in Argentina, 85 Ford Driving Dreams scholarships will be awarded and complemented by a virtual mentorship and coaching program.
    • In September and October, virtual rallies and scholarships in Puerto Rico and across the U.S. will be offered for high school students participating in programs focused on social entrepreneurship and innovation.
    • In Mexico, 200 students from Ford schools will continue to receive three-year scholarships until 2022.
Older, thinning white-haired male in print shirt to right of young female in black T-shirt and jeans. She holds laptop box.They stand in a living room.
Charlie Leiva, President of LULAC Council #4619, delivers a new laptop to San Antonio student Esmerelda Lopez as part of the Ford Driving Dreams LULAC grant program (Photo courtesy of Comunicad)

"Ford Driving Dreams is pleased that we are able to make adjustments and add flexibility to continue providing educational resources that empower students to be their best," said Joe Ávila, manager, U.S. & Latin America, Ford Motor Company Fund. "We’re proud of these young men and women and see a bright future ahead."

Since 2012, Ford Driving Dreams has delivered more than $10 million in educational resources and impacted more than 200,000 students across the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Europe. For more information, visit FordDrivingDreams.com or join us at @FordDrivingDreams on Facebook and Instagram and follow the stories with #forddrivingdreams.