92ND STREET Y
Ford Partners With Y
In Making A Difference
Story and Photos by Tim Boxer
O other business enterprise in the 20th century had a greater impact on the world than Ford Motor Company. They put the world on wheels by producing a vehicle that the average family could afford.
The fascinating story is recounted in The Ford Century, an officially commissioned elaborate volume (San Diego: Tehabi Books) on the history of the world’s second largest auto manufacturer.
To its everlasting credit, the beautifully designed coffee table book minces no words in describing the anti-Semitic screed in Henry Ford’s weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, in the 1920s.
Ultimately, the auto pioneer apologized in print for the Jew-hatred material, which he claimed was written without his knowledge. In a 1942 letter to the Anti-Defamation League, he flatly denounced anti-Semitism and all sectarian hatred.
Since then the company has gone to great lengths to make amends. When he took hold of the helm, Henry Ford II fired the man responsible for publishing the hate articles.
In 1972, he visited Israel, making a pit stop at the Western Wall. The following year he supplied Israel with Ford trucks during the Yom Kippur War.
For the last 15 years, Ford Motor Company partnered with the 92nd Street Y, New York’s premier cultural institution, in developing unique educational programs.
To kick off Ford’s centennial this year, the 92nd Street Y honored the company with its Global Citizenship Award at a gala dinner at the Grand Hyatt where $1,406,500 was raised for the Y.
President Matthew Bronfman presented the award, in the shape of a tzedaka box, to James J. Padilla, president of Ford North America and executive vice president of Ford Motor Company.
“Our partnership with the Y prospers,” Padilla said, “because we are both committed to diversity and reaching out around the world. Together we make a difference.”