Focus: HOPE gets $4.5M in corporate contributions

Associated Press

Automotive and technology firms including Ford, General Motors and Microsoft have pledged about $4.5 million to a Detroit organization’s workforce development and educational programs.

Focus: HOPE announced Sunday that Microsoft Corp. is offering $2 million in software and cash, Magna International is giving $1 million and robotics equipment, and Lear Corp. and GM Foundation both pledged $500,000. Ford Motor Co. donated $360,000.

The nonprofit said the contributions support its goal to train roughly 12,000 people during the next 15 years in manufacturing and information technologies.

Officials said the contributions are a step toward securing $30 million in private funding during the next five years. The nonprofit also is getting a $3 million apprenticeship grant from the U.S. Labor Department.

James Tobin, Magna’s chief marketing officer, said in a news release the companies recognize the mutual benefit of the donations.

“As industry leaders, we are deeply committed to providing opportunities to underrepresented residents in our community while ensuring that we replenish our pipeline of qualified, valuable employees,” he said.

Since 1981, Focus: HOPE said it has trained about 12,000 people, including machinists, information technologists and others.

Focus: HOPE was founded in 1968 after the 1967 riots widened the rift between Detroit’s black and white residents. The organization provides job training, food for mothers, children and senior citizens, and other programs.