Ford Friendship Express Awards New Ford Vans to Buffalo Police Athletic League, Cradle Beach and Rural Transit Service

BUFFALO, NY – Surrounded by more than a century of automobile history at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum, the Western New York Ford Dealers added the Buffalo Police Athletic League, Rural Transit Service and Cradle Beach to a list of over 70 local groups to receive a new Ford Transit van through its Ford Friendship Express program. The Ford Transit vans’ customizable interior and Built Ford Tough strength makes it incredibly versatile to suit each non-profit’s widely varying needs.

As a nod to Ford’s deep roots in Western New York, the WNY Ford Dealers also donated a specially-created piece of art to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. The custom-made piece is a compilation of vintage and contemporary photographs of historical moments in Ford’s past spanning more than seven decades. The photo montage includes several shots of Ford and its dealers in the WNY community. Jim Sandoro, founder of the museum says he plans to display this piece in the upcoming Ford exhibit.

“We have always been invested in the Western New York area. You can see our history all around us at the Pierce-Arrow Museum, and you see our investment today in the Ford Friendship Express program,” said Scott Bieler, chairman of the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee. “To us, one of the best ways to ensure that our community thrives is to support important organizations like Cradle Beach, Buffalo Police Athletic League and Rural Transit. The people who work there and provide services to improve the lives of others in our community inspire us all. We’re proud to help provide reliable transportation for these groups and the residents they serve.”

“The key to this van represents a real opportunity for growth for us,” said Tim Boling, CEO, Cradle Beach. “The services we provide are only as valuable as the people who can use them. Lack of transportation is the biggest obstacle for children’s attendance to Cradle Beach programs, so this new van will allow us to connect more kids with our activities. Our goal is to expand services from 800 kids to over 2,000 kids annually.”

Also providing resources to the city’s younger community is Buffalo Police Athletic League. Modie Cox, executive director, added, “Our organization is focused on Buffalo’s youth and continuing to provide organized opportunities and activities on a day-to-day basis. The sheer logistics and breadth of our work means that reliable transportation is key. We’re in constant need of vehicles to carry teams, staff and equipment between our seven local community centers, fundraising events and sports leagues throughout the year.”  

Recognizing that Buffalo’s adult and senior population is also in great need of more widely available transportation, Ford Friendship Express awarded a 2015 Ford Transit to Rural Transit Service.

“Our organization is built around the ability to safely transport senior citizens and low-income housing residents in surrounding Buffalo regions that would otherwise be housebound,” said Brenda O’Neil, executive director, Rural Transit Service. “Other than the suburban ring of towns surrounding the city of Buffalo, affordable transportation in Erie County is sporadic at best. For the handicapped and elderly, this is synonymous with isolation. We are so thankful for the Ford Friendship Express program for helping these residents feel engaged and part of the community again.”

Since its inception in 1996, the Ford Friendship Express program has donated new vehicles to over 71 different local organizations. The Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County, Buffalo City Mission and Meals on Wheels for Western New York each received a new passenger van for their organizational needs in 2014. With the goal to donate at least three vehicles to local nonprofit groups annually, the program invites charities to apply by sharing stories that demonstrate their need for improved transportation.

“Ford Friendship Express allows us to support the incredible local organizations who are making a difference in our neighborhoods every day. To help them do what they do best, we are providing them with what we do best – dependable and versatile transportation,” said Bieler. “We’re proud to be here today to help these organizations carry out their mission to serve.”

About the WNY Ford Dealers:

The Western New York Ford Dealers are part of the Western New York Ford Stores, an advertising cooperative comprised of 39 dealer locations that provides support for Ford vehicle sales and service in the 13 counties of Western New York and Rochester, and three counties in Northern Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit: