Ford Partners With North Texas Nonprofits to Promote Literacy

Ford Partners With North Texas Nonprofits to Promote Literacy
Elena Ford, the first woman in the Ford family to hold an executive position with the Ford Motor Company, stopped by David Crockett Elementary School in Weatherford on Tuesday in hopes of increasing that access, boosting opportunities for literacy and encouraging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education for children. | Image by 5 NBC DFW

Ford Motor Company is teaming up with local nonprofits to boost literacy in North Texas. 

In a study by the Department of Education, 54% of United States citizens, or 130 million people between the ages of 16 and 74, do not know how to read or write. 

The numbers are bleak, but Ford Motor Company is stepping up to the challenge, with Elena Ford leading the way, starting with donating some of her time Tuesday to help promote literacy at a local school. 

Ms. Ford recently visited the students at David Crockett Elementary School in Weatherford to host a reading, discussion, and donation of books related to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). Ms. Ford has teamed up with local nonprofits to make similar school visits across the country. 

For Tuesday’s visit to Crockett Elementary, Ms. Ford joined forces with North Texas Ford Dealers and First Book, a local literacy nonprofit. Harvest Project Food Rescue also participated in the day’s events and brought its Ford Transit retro-fitted mobile library to the school, equipped with healthy food and books for the students. 

“Education gives children opportunities in the world,” Executive Director of the Harvest Project, Danae Gutierrez, told The Dallas Express. “Food plays an important part; if a child is hungry, they can’t concentrate on learning.” 

Income is strongly linked to literacy, according to statistics provided by Gallup, Inc. Based on 2017 data, the average annual income of adults who reach the minimum level of literacy proficiency (Level 3) is almost $63,000.

This is much more than the average of almost $48,000 earned by adults who score just below proficiency (Level 2) and significantly more than the average of just over $34,000 earned by those at low literacy levels (Levels 0 and 1).

According to a report by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, eradicating illiteracy would have tremendous economic benefits.

“Getting all U.S. adults to at least a Level 3 of literacy proficiency would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country. That is 10% of the gross domestic product,” per the report. 

NBC DFW reported that the Ford Fund will have contributed more than $750,000 toward stamping out illiteracy by the end of 2022, and more than 145,000 books will have been distributed in Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Kansas City, Puerto Rico, and San Antonio. 

As reported in The Dallas Express, similar nonprofits have engaged with DISD students to help boost struggling literacy rates. The STAAR scores for 2020-2021 show that 39% of third-grade DISD students have not met the required “At Approaches Grade Level or Above” status. 

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