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Ford Media Center
BANGKOK, Thailand, Oct. 7, 2019 – Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, today opened its first Asia-based Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) in Bangkok’s historic Nang Loeng neighborhood.
FREC Bangkok is being funded through a THB 53 million (US $1.75 million) investment from the Ford Fund through 2023 – and is run by eight founding partners, which include some the city’s most creative and up-and-coming nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), social enterprises and foundations.
With the aim of serving thousands of Bangkok residents, FREC Bangkok’s partners run programs that focus on food waste, environmental protection, education, technology, community engagement and the arts.
To open FREC Bangkok, Ford is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Members of the community have been invited to drop by and explore the available services and activities.
“Like our first FREC in Detroit, Michigan, FREC Bangkok is a long-term commitment to a neighborhood brimming with untapped potential,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “In Bangkok, through food rescue programs, conservation projects, plastics upcycling, and some exciting technology, art, and urban planning initiatives, our FREC stewards have an opportunity to deliver services that directly benefit people in the neighborhood – as well as the city as a whole.”
FREC Bangkok is located at the Satri Julanak School in the city’s historic Pomprapsattruphai district, famous for its Nang Loeng food market – as well as its arts, dance and publishing history. Bangkok’s first book was published in the neighborhood, and several families in the community have for many generations created costumes and choreography for traditional royal Thai dance.
“Bangkok is changing rapidly, and this community has a special place in the city’s history,” said Wichit Wongwatthanakan, managing director, Ford Thailand. “FREC Bangkok is an opportunity for Ford to work with our NGO partners, community leaders and officials to help us retain the city’s heritage, while also moving forward with new technology, environmentally-friendly initiatives and exciting community projects.”
FREC Bangkok is part of a $15 million global network of community centers that Ford Fund launched in 2013. The original FREC in Detroit has returned $3 in services to the local community for every $1 invested by Ford and participating nonprofits. In addition to FREC Bangkok and two FRECs in Detroit, there are centers in Pretoria, South Africa, and Craiova, Romania.
“Our pioneering FREC network demonstrates how Ford Fund is taking a community-first approach to corporate philanthropy,” said Vella. “By listening to community leaders and working with strong local partners, we are leveraging the power of Ford to make people’s lives better.”
Ford CSR efforts in Thailand
Giving back to the community is a core part of what Ford stands for in Thailand and the Company runs several projects that focus on safety, education, and protecting the environment.
Ford’s award-winning Driving Skills for Life program was launched in Thailand in 2008 and to-date has provided training, free-of-charge, to more than 12,000 licensed drivers, equipping them with hands-on skills that can help save lives on the road.
The Company also responds to community needs during natural disasters – donating vehicles, supplies, human resources, and funds. For education, Ford runs the ‘Go Further Innovator Scholarship’, and ‘Building for Thailand’s Future’ work-study apprentice program with the Thai-Austrian (Sattahip) Technical College.
Touching both education and environmental protection, Ford’s clean water community project, ‘Water Go Green,’ has improved water access with purification systems, washbasins and restrooms in 13 rural schools.
ABOUT OUR FREC PARTNERS
The Bangkok center is a partnership between the Ford Fund along with their international grant making partner, GlobalGiving, and eight NGOs, social enterprises and foundations.
Scholars of Sustenance
Anchor FREC partner, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS), will use FREC Bangkok as headquarters for its food rescue operations and its fleet of six trucks that collect up to two tons of excess food daily from the city’s restaurants, grocery stores and hotels. After inspecting the food for safety, SOS distributes the food to more than 30 shelters across Bangkok.
Bangkok’s oldest environmental association, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BSCT), and conservation education organization, Love Wildlife Foundation, have teamed up at FREC Bangkok to create Nature Inc. – the city’s first nongovernmental organization co-working green space. At Nature Inc., environmentally-conscious nongovernmental organizations can share office space, meeting rooms and IT facilities, freeing up administrative resources to focus on programming.
Urban Studies Lab
Urban Studies Lab (USL) is an urban research center and consultancy based at FREC that offers a comprehensive suite of services to support their mission of taking action for a more inclusive, resilient and diverse city. USL brings academic, government, business and communities together to partner and collectively resolve contemporary urban issues. With deep focus on authentic participation and transparent decision-making processes, USL creates strategies and actionable plans for projects. USL collaborates with its robust network of universities on impactful research work and provides real-world learning opportunities for students in “urban classrooms.”
Precious Plastic Bangkok
Precious Plastic Bangkok (PPB) is a community-based plastic recycling solution that uses simple-to-build machines to turn plastic waste into new products. At FREC, PPB houses both a shredder and extruder machine so it can train people how to manage plastics recycling themselves. PPB’s goal is not simply just to recycle a small number of plastic bottles and boxes, but to change society’s attitudes towards plastic pollution in general and for people to start seeing plastic as a valuable resource that is too precious to throw away or discard on the street.
“Fab” refers to the “fabrication revolution” that is spreading across the world. The term stands for both “fabulous” and “fabrication” that is unconstrained by mass production and market theory. FabCafe is a space that conveys the FAB spirit in a fun, user-friendly way. FabCafe at FREC houses digital fabrication tools in a community space where people can gather, network and connect. FabCafe believes that, with the opening of FabCafe at FREC, the creative collaboration that takes place in this cozy setting will transform the next generation of fabrication.
Next door to FREC is our “sister project” Bangkok 1899 – a new cultural and civic hub that officially opened last month, representing an intersection of art, design, urbanism and social innovation.
Located at Bangkok 1899 are two FREC partners:
Creative Migration is an international arts nonprofit with the mission to advance cultural diplomacy through art, public engagement and sustainability. With a focus on art and social practice, this organization continuously supports projects to build relationships and develop collaborations through artist residencies, site-specific installations and transmedia projects. Creative Migration established Bangkok 1899 to encourage everyone to pursue the lost art of leisure through its open space and public garden. Its programming includes an international artist residency and locally/globally themed events with the goal of becoming a living model of sustainability through its everyday practices.
Na Projects is a collaborative space using food and drinks as a medium to connect, inspire and create social impact. Programs that run through its café include: vocational training programs for at-risk youth; training and workshops for urban refugees; a regular chef’s table; suspended coffee & beverage programs; zero Waste practices. Na is a platform that connects many nonprofits such as Sati, AAT and several others NGOs that work with at-risk communities.
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 190,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit corporate.ford.com.
As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 60 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ford Thailand manages the production, distribution, sales and servicing of Ford brand vehicles through its local market headquarters in Bangkok, and a nationwide network of 155 authorized Ford dealerships. Ford employs more than 10,000 people in Thailand between its corporate offices and two manufacturing facilities – its wholly-owned Ford Thailand Manufacturing and Auto-Alliance Thailand joint-venture.
Supported by the Ford Fund, the Company has trained more than 12,000 licensed drivers in Thailand through its flagship Driving Skills for Life campaign, which equips new drivers with hands-on training to drive more safely. Ford employees volunteer for a number of initiatives each year to deliver tangible benefits to local communities in Thailand, including building new homes with Habitat for Humanity for underprivileged families, and renovating schools near its manufacturing facility in Rayong.
For more information, visit www.ford.co.th.