Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, and the Charles H. Wright Museum are offering community-focused barbershops in the Metro Detroit area the opportunity to compete for a $10,000 grant as part of the Ford Men of Courage Detroit Barbershop Challenge – a grassroots program designed to educate and empower African American men. The runner up in the challenge is eligible to select a local nonprofit to receive a $5,000 grant. 

The barbershop challenge is part of the Ford Men of Courage program, an initiative aimed at building communities by advancing the narrative of Black men through storytelling, educational events, intergenerational forums, community visioning sessions and other curated events. 

Now through August 1, 2021, state-certified barbershop owners ages 18 and up can submit innovative applications that state why their barbershop should be distinguished as a Ford Men of Courage shop and what that would mean for their community. 

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“The challenge centers on a keystone in African American communities — the barbershop — and encourages owners to utilize this as a launch pad to turn ideas into community outreach and success,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Detroit is a city filled with men who change and improve our world every day and we are excited to celebrate and honor them with this program.”  

Up to three finalists will be selected to receive a branded Men of Courage barbershop makeover and compete by developing community engagement programming focused on education, entrepreneurship and empowerment for adults and youth. Ford Fund will support their efforts by leveraging partnerships with the Charles H. Wright Museum and Microsoft to facilitate fun and engaging activities including a workshop on how to develop and “Rock Your LinkedIn Profile” and free coding classes. Barbershops also will be provided with free mobile XBox units for community gaming nights and friendly competition among clients.

To apply, shop owners can visit fgb.life/moc-barbershop-challenge and submit their application online.

“Because history has proven how courage has shaped who we are as a culture, as a people and as a nation, we enthusiastically support and are honored to partner with Ford Motor Company on this very meaningful initiative,” says Neil Barclay, President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum.

The Barbershop Challenge is a grassroots activation designed to complement the upcoming exhibit, Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. Exhibition opening at the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit this fall. Created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Men of Change is made possible through the support of Ford Motor Company Fund and highlights revolutionary African American men – including Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, W.E.B. Du Bois and Kendrick Lamar – whose journeys have altered the history and culture of the country through politics, sports, science, entertainment, business, religion and more. For more information visit sites.si.edu.  

Launched in 2015, the Ford Men of Courage initiative has convened curated events in Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles with national influencers and leaders including New York Times bestselling author and activist Shaka Senghor, former Detroit mayor and NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing, NFL Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and former United Nations Ambassador and civil rights icon Andrew Young.

For more information on programs that support the African American community, go to fgb.life.