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Gettysburg Foundation Recieves $3 Million Grant for New Ford Education Center

DEARBORN, Mich., May 26, -Ford Motor Company Fund announced today a $3 million grant to establish the "Ford Education Center", which will be the heart of the new Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum and Visitor Center’s educational program.

"The Battle of Gettysburg played a major role in shaping the final outcome of the Civil War," said Ziad Ojakli, Ford Group Vice President, Corporate Affairs. "At Ford, we understand the value of preserving our American heritage, and we believe it vitally important to share the historical impact of Gettysburg with generations to come."

In partnership with the National Park Service, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation is embarking on a large-scale capital campaign to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of Gettysburg and its role in the fate of democracy. The Battle of Gettysburg is viewed as the watershed for the Civil War and the battlefield is where President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg address in recognition of the impact of the Civil War on the direction of the United States.

On June 2, the Gettysburg Foundation will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the museum and visitor center, and also announce Ford's gift for the Ford Education Center. Pennsylvania, congressional, and Park Service officials, Gettysburg Foundation supporters and other corporations are expected to participate.

"The Gettysburg Museum Foundation is enormously grateful for this gift, which will help ensure that the lessons Gettysburg teaches reach the widest possible audience," Museum Foundation President Robert C. Wilburn said. "The Gettysburg battlefield is one of the greatest classrooms in the nation. The lessons of Gettysburg - of sacrifice, visionary leadership and reconciliation - have educational value that resonates around the world. Through the generosity of Ford Motor Company Fund, we have the opportunity to make Gettysburg a classroom of democracy."

The Ford Education Center will initially reach more than two million on-site visitors, which includes 200,000 students in school groups and 15 million off-site students each year. Through on-site activities, distance learning, and web-based programming, the Ford grant is expected to substantially increase those visitor and off-site numbers.

"We are pleased to be a part of the Gettysburg Foundation's project to accomplish its critical education and preservation goals," Ojakli said. "It is important to provide visitors and students with a better understanding of the Battle of Gettysburg within the context of the full story of the Civil War and the reasons why these events remain relevant today."

Ford Motor Company Fund has a history of supporting education programs and historical places that epitomize pivotal times and individuals in history. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2004 for the Ford Orientation Center at the historic Mount Vernon Estate of George Washington, in recognition of his role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of this country.

Ford Fund also is a major sponsor of the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington, D.C., in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his role in the Civil Rights Movement.