Ford Fund President Jim Vella to Retire; Mary Culler Named Successor

  • Vella will end 31-year career at Ford on Dec. 31
  • Culler to become president of Ford Fund, the automaker’s charitable arm; will retain her Office of the Executive Chairman and Michigan Central Station duties
  • Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion across 60-plus countries around the world, supporting education, safe driving, community enrichment and employee volunteering

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 16, 2019 – Ford Motor Company today announced that Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund, the company’s philanthropic foundation, is retiring on Dec. 31 after a career of more than 31 years with the automaker.

Vella, 63, will be succeeded as Ford Fund president by Mary Culler, a 19-year veteran of Ford with a deep background in government and community affairs. Culler will continue to serve as chief of staff for Ford’s Office of the Executive Chairman and development director for the company’s revitalization of Michigan Central Station in Detroit.

After joining Ford as a news producer in 1988, Vella, rose through a variety of executive leadership positions, including vice president of Corporate Public Affairs and chief of staff for Executive Chairman Bill Ford. He has been president of the Ford Fund since 2006, overseeing the growth of signature programs such as Ford Driving Skills for Life and a global expansion of charitable activities across more than 60 countries. 

“Whether it was a plant crisis or internal issue, Jim has been a trusted partner and advisor through an extraordinary era at Ford,” said Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman. “His devotion to helping others and commitment to expanding Ford’s role in the community have made us a leader in corporate philanthropy around the world.”

Launched in 1949, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving and enrich community life. Ford Fund also includes the Ford Volunteer Corps, which Bill Ford launched in 2005 to encourage employee participation in community service.

Related information

Related biographies:

Jim Vella

Mary Culler

For additional information on Ford Fund, click here

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 194,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit

View the official press release here.