A wave of support from across the city and around the country is helping the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s home community of Flint, Mich., respond to its water crisis.
“We’re encouraged by the incredible level of care and concern being directed to the people of Flint,” said Mott President Ridgway White. “As a Foundation that’s been committed to our hometown since our founding 90 years ago, we also recognize the roles that each of us, from individuals to institutions, can play in helping the community through this terrible situation.”
How You Can Help
Work is underway in Flint to help the community respond to the water crisis. Here’s how you can support those efforts:
Help provide clean water to Flint residents
Donations to the Flint Water Fund, created by the United Way of Genesee County, are used to help provide affected residents with bottled water and home filtering systems, as well as supportive and prevention services related to the water crisis.
Support efforts to address lead exposure among Flint children
The Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint is targeting public health, medical and other key interventions for addressing lead exposure among the city’s youngest residents.
Among Mott’s related efforts:
Helping to bring better drinking water back to Flint.
On October 8, 2015, the Foundation committed $4 million to help the community return to the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) system pending the completion in 2016 of a new water pipeline from Lake Huron. With an additional $2 million from the City of Flint and $6 million from the State of Michigan, the city successfully reconnected to the GLWA system on October 16.
Mott also made a $100,000 grant to the United Way of Genesee County to help provide residents with free water filtering systems.
Providing major support for organizations that are addressing lead exposure among Flint children.
Mott has been one of the main drivers and financial supporters of the city’s Health & Wellness District. This has included more than $11 million to expand the local presence of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and its public health research program, as well as $1 million to help locate the new Hurley Children’s Center above the Flint Farmers’ Market. The Foundation also supported the market’s move to its new downtown location.
That funding helped position these anchor institutions to respond to the public health crisis in critical ways, including coordinated efforts to prevent the long-term effects of lead exposure among Flint’s youngest residents, and helping families incorporate healthy nutrition as an integral part of their children’s health care.
Expanding national service resources in Flint.
With more than $2 million in Foundation support since 2011, Flint’s National Service Accelerator has leveraged more than $3 million in additional funding and is deploying approximately 100 members — AmeriCorps, VISTA and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) — in the city each year.
“Exploring how Mott can best help the community address its needs… will remain a priority for the Foundation.”
— Ridgway White
Today, these members are helping to distribute donated water; distribute and install water filters; and plan and deploy nutrition and education interventions for Flint children and families. Those ongoing activities will be further strengthened in February by the arrival of a team of NCCC emergency response members in the community.
Assisting Flint Community Schools in ways that help them support the community.
Mott is engaged in a multi-year strategy to strengthen the Flint Community Schools and cultivate a new approach to community education that’s currently in place at five elementary schools in the city. Both of these previously funded, ongoing efforts include a focus on health and nutrition interventions for local children, which is essential to addressing the effects of lead exposure. The community education component will also continue to respond to the ongoing health, education and wellness needs of Flint students and families.
Exploring how Mott can best help the community address its needs — now and over the long term — will remain a priority for the Foundation, says White.
“We know this crisis will have implications for Flint residents in the months and years to come. The Foundation will continue to be here to help the community respond to those challenges, to help improve the lives of our children and to leverage a better future for the people of Flint.”