June 15, 2015
Tom Walsh

To mark the 50th anniversary of the The Ark, Ford Motor is making a $500,000 donation, the largest gift in the history of the Ann Arbor folk and roots music venue.

Ford's gift, to be paid over five years, puts the nonprofit Ark's anniversary capital campaign more than 70% of the way to its $2.5-million goal, which executive director Marianne James said "will position The Ark for the future of the next 50 years."

The Ford gift, which involves 20-year naming rights to the venue's main stage as the "Ford Listening Room," was announced Sunday night to Ark patrons at a special fundraising performance by Jeff Daniels, honorary chairman of the anniversary campaign dubbed "50 Folkin' Years."

Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and community affairs, said the automaker and its philanthropic arm are contributing to the gift, hoping it will not only give the Ark long-tern financial stability, but also enable more outreach beyond Ann Arbor.

Detroit Free Press