Ford Foundation to Send $200M to Metropolitan Development

The Ford Foundation, created seven decades ago by a U.S. car industry scion, notably diverged from its past today by announcing a new, $200 million grant program aimed at promoting the local integration of transportation and land use planning and a movement beyond auto-based development.

Fruitvale_Village.jpgA "transit village" in the San Francisco area, cited by the Ford Foundation as an example of projects eligible for its new grants. (Photo: Bay Area MTC)

The foundation’s president, Luis Ubiñas, revealed the move in a speech to local community leaders gathered at the invitation of the White House to discuss the future of the nation’s once auto-dominant cities.

Ubiñas cited several examples of existing transit and urban development projects that would be good candidates for the foundation’s five-year grant program. The Bay Area’s residential-commercial "transit villages," Detroit’s public-private M1 light rail plan, and New Orleans’ push to rebuild its Claiborne Avenue corridor topped the list.

“When we look at metro regions and see pockets of serious unemployment
but also pockets of employment opportunity, and disjointed transit systems that
fail to connect people to the services they need and the jobs they seek,
it’s clear that a different approach is needed,” Pablo J. Farías, a vice
president at the foundation, said in a statement on the grants.

The foundation was established in 1936 with an initial gift from Edsel Ford, son of the automaker Henry Ford, and managed by members of the Ford family for several decades after its founding.

(ed. note. This post was corrected from an earlier version that referred to the meeting as taking place at the White House.)

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