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Ford Fund is Driving Dreams with Educational Opportunities

MIAMI, Oct. 14, 2013 - The Ford Driving Dreams Tour hit the gas in Miami with a series of high-energy, motivational pep rallies. The program, which promotes on-time high-school graduation and college enrollment, launched in four Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS): Miami Jackson Senior, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior, Booker T. Washington Senior and Miami Senior.

"The Ford Driving Dreams Tour is giving our students a wealth of resources to motivate them to successfully complete high school on time and move on to college," said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "This is an exciting time for M-DCPS – we've been making great strides – and we're grateful to Ford for bringing us this innovative initiative and helping us to continue to put our students first."

M-DCPS officials report much progress with improved graduation rates for Hispanics and minorities during the past few years. The FDD Tour is designed to augment these efforts. The FDD Tour brings Ford Motor Company Fund educational initiatives and partnerships to the community to impact students. The program engages students with motivational pep rallies, scholarships, contests and prizes, as well as leadership and peer-to-peer student support programs. The contest reinforces the importance of pursuing a dream and giving back to the community while igniting school spirit through a healthy interschool competition.

"We look forward to working with partners CNC and ASPIRA to inspire students to take advantage of their educational opportunities," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Ford has a longstanding commitment to education and investments in programs that help build communities."

Ford will award five prizes at each of the four schools for the "What Drives Your Dream?" essay contest. The top essays, selected by a panel of educators and community leaders, will enter a public online video competition. One finalist from each school will win technology prizes and work with a producer to develop a video based on his or her essay. Starting next spring, the public can vote on their favorite video. The winner of the online vote will receive a scholarship for $5,000, and a $4,000 grant will be donated to an approved school program of his or her choice.

Seniors from the participating high schools also can apply for college and post-secondary scholarships. Ford Fund has partnered with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute to provide $10,000 in scholarships for students in the four high schools. The deadline for seniors to apply is April 16, 2014.

The Ford Driving Dreams Tour launched in 2012 with the Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas, reaching nearly 9,000 students. In the 2013-2014 school year, the Tour is visiting 10 high schools; four in M-DCPS; four in the Dallas Independent School District and two in the Fort Worth Independent School District.