• Ford donates $250,000 and new Ford Transit Connect to American Red Cross
  • Oklahoma Ford dealers donate $150,000 to United Way
  • Ford offers $500 toward replacing vehicles damaged in Oklahoma tornado

Ford announced it will donate funds and a vehicle to help relief efforts in the wake of the devastating tornado that struck an Oklahoma City suburb earlier this week. Ford Motor Company will donate $250,000 to American Red Cross and will provide a Ford Transit Connect to help with relief and emergency preparedness education. Oklahoma Ford dealers will pitch in, too, with a $150,000 donation to United Way.

Ford is also offering help to those directly affected by the disaster. Residents in affected areas whose vehicles were damaged by the tornado can get $500 toward the purchase of a new Ford vehicle.

For its donation to American Red Cross, Ford will match up to $250,000 in contributions by employees, dealers and the public. Donate to American Red Cross on Ford's corporate giving page and the automaker will match your donation. Ford is a partner in the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program. Partners pledge in advance of disasters to help ensure that funds will be available and Red Cross can act quickly in an emergency.

Oklahoma Ford dealers, some of whom are located in storm-ravaged areas, will provide $150,000 to United Way. Craig Billingsley, chairman of the Oklahoma Ford Dealers, says those in the area are particularly sensitive to the needs of victims.

"We know how much this tragedy is impacting our customers, neighbors and friends," Billingsley said. "Oklahoma Ford dealers encourage everyone to step up to help those impacted by these devastating tornadoes."

Automakers often help out with donations and special deals in the wake of a natural disaster. Many offered special pricing on new vehicles after Hurricane Sandy, when approximately 230,000 vehicles were destroyed by flooding. Volkswagen and GM, for example, have already made donations to help with the tornado-relief effort, too.

What it means to you: You can donate to the Oklahoma tornado-relief effort and Ford Motor Company will match your contribution. If your vehicle was damaged in the storm, you may be eligible for $500 toward a replacement.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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