Five Michigan Projects Among Ford College Community Challenge Winners

DEARBORN — The Ford Motor Co. fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Co., is awarding $250,000 in Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) grants for student-led projects.

The program is in its eighth year of supporting sustainable efforts to address urgent community needs focused on “Building Sustainable Communities.”

Ford C3 winners are required to present proposals for sustainable projects with significant student input, involvement and leadership. Water conservation, renewable energy, urban gardening, recycling and mobility are among the proposals submitted by these creative teams of students. Each of the winning projects will receive a $25,000 grant to support their project.

Among the winners were:

* Michigan State University: Rainwater Catchment for Primary School in Buyuni, Tanzania. In Tanzania, a rainwater water collection system is necessary to obtain precious water. This project focuses on capturing rainwater at a primary school in Buyuni, Tanzania, filtering the water, and then storing it for use by the wider community.
* Michigan Technological University: Plastic Recycling to 3D Printer Filament. The MTU team will work with the local community to incorporate a wider variety of plastics into recycled filament, and upgrade machinery to use this recycled product to produce the filament.
* University of Michigan: Fostering Environmental and Community Ownership in Vila Santa Marta, Brazil. The aim of the project is to counter the results of trash dumping in public places in Vila Santa Marta, Brazil by deterring dumping, increasing communication, building community pride and improving security.
* Wayne State University: Ford Warrior STEAM Saturday Challenge. Detroit K-12 students and their families will participate in the Warrior STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – Challenge. Participants will use STEAM skills to solve community-based problems or create a finished product to better the community.
* Wayne State University: From Volunteering to Career Paths – Student Leadership in Community Food Systems. This project will engage students in hands‐on internships with community-based partners, to enhance skills and expand knowledge and thereby help further their careers in community food systems.

The other winners were from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass.; Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.; the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.; Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.; and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

“Innovation and sustainability are two essential elements that will help strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for the people who call them home,” said Mike Schmidt, director of education and community development at the Ford Fund. “Education is how we open the door to a better world and inspire a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs to lead us into a successful future.”

The Ford C3 grants are part of more than $1.7 million in new and ongoing global educational investments by Ford Fund, which contributes more than $8 million annually in scholarships, grants and other initiatives.

Ford Fund this year also worked with the American Indian College Fund to run a C3 program with Tribal Colleges and Universities in the U.S. for the first time, while also continuing the Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Community Challenge. Ford C3 last year launched in Brazil and China, and expanded this year to include Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.

Campus Compact, a national higher education association dedicated to campus-based civic engagement, again partnered with Ford Fund in the U.S. to inform some 600 schools about this year’s grant program.

To view this year’s winning U.S. projects and get more information, visit

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