The Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Moto Co, recently opened its first Asia-based Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) in Bangkok’s historic Nang Loeng neighborhood.

FREC Bangkok is being funded through a US $1.75 million (Bt53 million) investment from the Ford Fund through 2023 – and is run by eight founding partners, which include some the city’s most creative and up-and-coming nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), social enterprises and foundations, the company said in a statement.
With the aim of serving thousands of Bangkok residents, FREC Bangkok’s partners run programs that focus on food waste, environmental protection, education, technology, community engagement and the arts.
“Like our first FREC in Detroit, Michigan, FREC Bangkok is a long-term commitment to a neighborhood brimming with untapped potential,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund.

Jim Vella

“In Bangkok, through food rescue programs, conservation projects, plastics upcycling, and some exciting technology, art, and urban planning initiatives, our FREC stewards have an opportunity to deliver services that directly benefit people in the neighborhood – as well as the city as a whole.”
FREC Bangkok is located at the Satri Julanak School in the city’s historic Pomprapsattruphai district, famous for its Nang Loeng food market – as well as its arts, dance and publishing history. Bangkok’s first book was published in the neighborhood, and several families in the community have for many generations created costumes and choreography for traditional royal Thai dance.
“Bangkok is changing rapidly, and this community has a special place in the city’s history,” said Wichit Wongwatthanakan, managing director, Ford Thailand. “FREC Bangkok is an opportunity for Ford to work with our NGO partners, community leaders and officials to help us retain the city’s heritage, while also moving forward with new technology, environmentally-friendly initiatives and exciting community projects.”
Wichit Wongwatthanakan

FREC Bangkok is part of a $15 million global network of community centers that Ford Fund launched in 2013. The original FREC in Detroit has returned $3 in services to the local community for every $1 invested by Ford and participating nonprofits. In addition to FREC Bangkok and two FRECs in Detroit, there are centers in Pretoria, South Africa, and Craiova, Romania.
“Our pioneering FREC network demonstrates how Ford Fund is taking a community-first approach to corporate philanthropy,” said Vella. “By listening to community leaders and working with strong local partners, we are leveraging the power of Ford to make people’s lives better.”