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Ford and UAW-Ford donate $6 million to Motown Museum

The investment will go toward planned expansion

What do Ford Motor Co. and Motown Records have in common aside from sharing the city of Detroit as their home?

According to the Motown Museum website, legendary music executive Berry Gordy modeled the hit-making machine after the Ford Motor Co.’s assembly line. It was 1959 when Gordy launched the company that dished out hits from acts such as Smokey Robinson, The Supremes and many more in Detroit until 1972, when the company relocated to California.

Now, the two companies share an even deeper bond. Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, announced they are making a $6 million investment toward the $50 million expansion of Motown Museum, the location of the Hitsville, USA, house.

Ford and UAW-Ford are the lead donors in the project that will help fund a state-of-the-art performance center and other programming. The expansion will include community outreach initiatives, the CARaoke Experience and the Ford Motor Company Theater. Ford will be the official vehicle of Motown Museum.

“We are thrilled to play a role in the next chapter of a global music icon,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas division of Ford, according to Motown’s website. “The enhanced museum will not only upgrade the visitor experience, it also fits with our commitment to investing in the cultural heritage of Detroit and southeast Michigan.”

The donation will also fuel educational, musical and other programming.

“Motown and Ford Motor Co. have wide and deeply connected roots,” said Robin R. Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum. “As two Detroit-born brands, they have had — and continue to have today — a transformative and profound impact on creativity and innovation around the world.”

The donation is part of Ford and the Ford Fund’s additional $10 million philanthropic commitment to the city of Detroit over the next five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.