MRO Magazine

Ford and USC Shoah Foundation Expanding IWitness Detroit Educational Program to Inspire Future Generations

September 10, 2015
By Business Wire News


Ford Motor Company Fund is building on its commitment to education by teaming with USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education and expanding the IWitness multimedia program in the Detroit area.

Ford Motor Company will sponsor the Institute’s IWitness Video Challenge for the next two years. The annual challenge invites North American students, inspired by the voices in IWitness, to use their innovation and creativity to bring positive value to their communities. Students then build a video based on testimony that tells the story of how they contributed to making their communities a better place.

IWitness is an educational website providing access to more than 1,500 full life histories, testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocides, including the Holocaust, from the Institute’s Visual History Archive. IWitness learning activities promote digital literacy and develop students’ 21st century skills, including teaching the basics of research, archival curation and ethical editing.

“The work of USC Shoah Foundation is incredibly inspiring, as it is making a huge difference in so many people’s lives,” said Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company executive chairman. “We are excited to partner with USC Shoah Foundation to engage young minds, bring history to life and encourage today’s youth to build a better future.”

Ford Motor Company Fund’s contribution will help expand the IWitness program in the Detroit area. The Fund will chair an advisory committee that will facilitate the program’s mission. Ford’s sponsorship will help support the annual challenge, and will be used as prize money in the form of scholarships to regional and national winners. Education is core to the mission of Ford Motor Company Fund, which invests more than $8 million a year in educational programs and initiatives around the globe.

Discovery Education, the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, will lead administration for the challenge.

Ford announced the donation and sponsorship with Steven Spielberg, founder of USC Shoah Foundation, prior to the Institute’s annual gala. Ford employees and Spielberg met with students from Henry Ford Academy who are participating in the IWitness program and recently completed projects on the subject of tolerance.

Bill Ford is this year’s recipient of the USC Shoah Foundation Ambassador for Humanity Award for his leadership and corporate citizenry around education and community. The award is being presented during the Institute’s gala at the Henry Ford Museum.

“I am so pleased that USC Shoah Foundation will be joining forces with Ford Motor Company to not only bring IWitness to a growing number of educators and students across the Detroit region,” said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith, “but also support the nationwide IWitness Video Challenge. I have seen how previous IWitness Video Challenges helped students gain insight, develop their values for a more tolerant world, and learn how to participate in their communities.”

USC Shoah Foundation and IWitness

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education IWitness program integrates testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocides, including the Holocaust. IWitness integrates testimony-based education to boost students’ knowledge while developing their critical-thinking skills and empathy for others.

Student assignments vary by activity, but include writing short essays, building word clouds, analyzing photos, creating art projects, writing poetry, making audio collages and constructing video essays. The goal is to spark a motivation to act, and ultimately, to help mold responsible participants in civil society.

According to USC Shoah Foundation, surveys show after participating in IWitness, students are 93 percent more likely to believe it is important to speak up against stereotyping and 61 percent less likely to believe stereotypes are really true.

Note: For additional photos of the Sept. 10 event, visit

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning and other inspiring programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit

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Ford Motor Company
Karl Henkel, 313.402.2310
Ford Motor Company Fund
Todd Nissen, 313.322.4898