Thursday, October 21, 2010

Florida A&M University Wins $50,000 Grant from Ford College Community Challenge

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., October 20, 2010 – Florida A&M University (FAMU) has been selected as one of the 2010 winners of the Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) and the recipient of a $50,000 grant to develop a student-led community project focused on sustainability in the farm community. Ford C3 is a national initiative of Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, which challenges students from within Ford’s national network of higher education partners to develop innovative programs to create sustainable change in their communities.

Students at Florida A&M University will implement an on-farm demonstration and education model for renewable biofuel production that provides an essential alternative energy road map for the future. This innovative, student-led demonstration project will test the use of biofuel made from oil seed crops and waste vegetable oil for use as an alternative energy source for farm machinery in the university’s StateWide ® Small Farm Collaborative. The project will involve students from the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA), the School of Architecture, as well as community stakeholders including schools interested in green and alternative energy, local businesses and governmental entities.

“We are honored to receive the Ford Motor Company Fund C3 Grant to implement an organic farm alternative energy demonstration and education model for small farms and innovative communities,” said Jennifer Taylor, FAMU’s coordinator for the Small Farms Program. “This project will provide a unique opportunity to partner with community collaborators, provide education and training experiences to FAMU students, while equipping small farms and the community with exciting options for a thriving sustainable future.”

The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a national challenge grant competition that recognizes colleges and universities that utilize a school's resources to address an urgent community need related to the grant's theme: Building Sustainable Communities. This year's proposals were expected to incorporate the use of alternative energy in a unique way. Unlike many traditional college grant programs, Ford C3 requires colleges to create proposals that have significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end.
“Winning proposals have a distinctive student perspective on what it means to have a sustainable community,” said Mike Schmidt, director of Education and Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are pleased to be able to support the millennial spirit of innovation in these students, whose projects help address critical needs within their communities.”

Response to the Ford College Community Challenge was significant this year, with 23 proposals from 16 of Ford's partner colleges and universities. Five winning proposals were selected. Each school will receive a one-time $50,000 award from Ford Motor Company Fund to implement their proposed project.

“The Ford C3 project will bring together students and faculty from many of our disciplines in the college,” said Makola Abdullah, dean of FAMU’s College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture. “We all are aware of the positive environmental impact of alternative energy sources and we are proud to be a part of the solution.”

Ford Fund grant funding is designed to launch and sustain the projects through the first year of implementation, and then projects will continue with support from university and local resources. This is the third year that Ford C3 has awarded grants to partner universities for sustainable community projects.

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