As Americans welcome 2021, Ford is kicking off a new initiative to encourage people to come together, protect each other and help save lives in the months ahead until COVID-19 vaccines become more widely distributed.
“We’re in this together and Ford’s goal since the pandemic started has been to try to help save lives,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group. “While many are weary from the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, now is the time for us to pull together, protect each other and finish strong until COVID-19 vaccines arrive more broadly. Lives are on the line.”
If more Americans embraced COVID mitigation protocols, such as wearing masks, 50,000 or more lives could be saved between now and the end of March when vaccines are more readily available, according to officials at the IHME, University of Washington’s School of Medicine*.
The cornerstone of Ford’s public call to action is a 30-second commercial – #FinishStrong – which was created by acclaimed filmmaker Peter Berg, known for “Friday Night Lights,” “Patriots Day,” and “Lone Survivor.” The spot is narrated by award-winning actor Bryan Cranston.
Berg and Ford approached the storytelling as an appeal to Americans’ shared sense of patriotism and what’s right – rather than preaching at people or using fear as a motivator. Woven within the video are brief portraits of front-line workers and people affected by COVID, like survivor John Williams, 68, from Kansas City, who beat COVID-19 after 20 days on and off a ventilator. He’s shown leaving the hospital in his wheelchair as doctors and nurses line the halls to cheer him on.
According to Berg, it was critical to show the strength and spirit of the country in troubled times – and to offer inspiration to Americans to stay vigilant about protecting themselves and others.
“The COVID pandemic has tested us all in ways we could not have imagined a year ago,” Berg said. “People are weary, beat down, and it would be easy to let our guard down now. But we have to keep fighting for each other; we’re almost there. As we enter 2021, we wanted to help inspire Americans to come together and save lives until the vaccines arrive in numbers. We need to finish strong. We got this.”
The #FinishStrong initiative is the latest effort by Ford to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ford has been a leader in COVID mitigation efforts since April and one of the first manufacturers to pivot toward making personal protective equipment (PPE). To date, Ford has manufactured 55 million masks and will hit 100 million masks for donations by mid-2021.
The company, in partnership with the UAW, has produced tens of millions of pieces of
personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet the strong demand. These include:
- 20 million face shields
- 50,000 patient ventilators
- More than 32,000 powered air-purifying respirators in collaboration with 3M
- 1.4 million washable isolation gowns
Throughout its 117-year history, Ford has stepped up in moments of global crisis: creating Iron Lungs in the polio epidemic and leading the Arsenal of Democracy in WWII. Ford’s latest effort builds on the company’s support for those affected by the pandemic – from creating programs allowing customers to defer car payments to transforming its plants to make ventilators.
In collaboration with the UAW and Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford also has donated more than 50 million face masks to nonprofit organizations, state and local officials, first responders, schools and underserved communities in all 50 states. The next round of masks, including masks for children, will be available on Jan. 12 in six states across the eastern U.S., from New York to Virginia at local Ford dealers. Details are available at FordFund.org.
“At Ford, serving people is a long-held tradition,” says Galhotra. “We’re proud to earn our customers’ trust – and we’ll always step up when people need us.”
Ford Motor Company PR