DETROIT -- General Motors is donating $5 million to a nonprofit organization founded by the patriarch of its largest American rival.
Mark Reuss, GM's head of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, announced the donation Tuesday as part of a new partnership between the automaker and the Henry Ford, a National Historic Landmark in Dearborn, Mich., established by Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford in 1929 to display his personal collections and other innovations.
"The Henry Ford is a national treasure," Reuss said at the Henry Ford Museum, one of the organization's five attractions. "One that all of us who grew up around here feel a lifelong very personal connection with."
With the gift, GM will sponsor the museum's rotating exhibit that will now be known as the Gallery by General Motors. Reuss said the mission is to offer exhibits that help promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
Reuss did not shy away from the irony: GM now supports an educational effort that includes the Ford name, but the gift is meant to ensure GM is part of the museum's innovations for future generations.
"We know that Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co. have always been and will always be inextricably linked. There's no getting around that," Reuss said. "But the museum is a celebration of American innovation, particularly in the transportation space, and you can't tell that story without General Motors and Ford together."
The collaboration has been years in the making, according to officials. Nearly four years ago, Reuss and Edsel Ford II, a trustee of the organization and great-grandson of Henry Ford, had lunch to first discuss GM playing a bigger role in the Henry Ford.