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Old 09-02-2002, 05:44   #1 (permalink)
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Ford Division gives scholarships to students

By Mary Connelly
Automotive News / September 02, 2002

Ford Division and its dealers have awarded college scholarships in 11 Western states to underscore the company's interest in rural communities.

The Ford Country Scholars program is a three-year, $4 million program to assist students pursuing careers such as logging and farming.

Ford Motor Co.'s scholarship initiative in the West follows the company's run-in with ranchers, loggers, miners and agricultural business interests in the region last fall.

The groups protested Ford's environmental stance - specifically, a

$5 million contribution to the National Audubon Society. Ford dealers complained they lost sales because of the protest.

In August, Ford Division awarded $5,000 scholarships to 250 students in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,

Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The company will award a similar number of scholarships in each of the next two years.

"Dealers had asked for something of this caliber that we could do together,'' said Jack Palazzolo, Ford Division brand communications manager.

The scholarships were available to any high school junior or senior. More than 2,600 applications were received. Ford dealers, Ford Division representatives, local educators and civic leaders in each state judged the applications.

"Ford's goal is to be a good community partner in all of the communities we do business with,'' Palazzolo said. "We are supporting the aspirations and goals of students who are future leaders in the rural communities of the West.

"Whether or not we are able to take it national is something we will look at down the road," he added. "Typically when we develop programs, we look at a two- or three-year time frame to assess the reaction before we proceed."
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