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Ford announces grant opportunity for West Tennessee cities

Blue Oval Ford Fund

The philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Company has announced it will make $1 million in grants available to West Tennessee municipalities and nonprofits. 

The Ford Motor Company Fund will provide capital grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to nonprofits and municipalities in Haywood, Fayette, Tipton, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Madison counties. The grants are intended to enable capital improvements in the region, including physical infrastructure like playgrounds and construction of new or renovated spaces like community centers. 

Yisel Cabrera, senior manager for economic mobility with the Ford Fund, told the Memphis Business Journal that this round of grants is targeted at “social infrastructure.” 

“It's about supporting those buildings that help improve the overall community,” Cabrera said. “Anything from playgrounds, community centers, parks, and job training centers. It's about supporting that infrastructure for those types of projects.” 

 Municipalities and other non-tax-exempt organizations must apply for grants through the United Way of West Tennessee. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, and the results will be announced by early April.  

Cabrera said the Ford Fund has spent the past 10 months trying to figure out how the organization can best help and stressed that this $1 million in grants is just the first round.  

“We've been meeting with nonprofit organizations, because our approach is not to come into a new community and have all the solutions and answers to whatever the pressing needs are of that community,” Cabrera said. “We've been listening and learning, and this is our first attempt to help. We heard from a lot of our nonprofit organizations and partners that this was an area of need and capital improvements to some of those structures already in place. … But we will be making other investments in the community after this. This is just the beginning.” 

Cabrera said the initial round of grants will be looking for “quality” and causes they can support with “continued engagement” as Ford continues to have a presence in West Tennessee.  

She gave the example of a hypothetical job training center that would be eligible to receive a grant from the Ford Fund to renovate classrooms. Additionally, if it looked to provide EV training, for example, that would also be eligible for potential support. 

For more information on the grants or how to apply, visit