Mott Foundation grants $1 million to help community centers support students participating in virtual school

A woman helps a young student use a computer.
A Flint student gets help with virtual learning in Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village’s new Learning Pods program, where staff help facilitate students' online learning during the pandemic through an individualized approach. Photo: Courtesy of Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village

FLINT, Michigan — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted a total of $1 million to help five community centers provide Flint students with a safe space to participate in virtual schooling.

The centers will be open during the traditional school day and afterschool hours, providing an opportunity for kids who need a place to spend the day and participate in virtual learning. Staff members at the centers will help create a safe environment for students to connect with one another, participate in recreational and enrichment activities, log into class and complete homework.

“Every child deserves to have a safe and nurturing place to learn,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “Many parents and guardians still need to go to work and can’t be home to help with virtual learning. This is one step that can be taken right now to help support families during the school day and afterschool hours.”

The five community centers are:

The centers already serve as important hubs for Flint families by providing diverse programming, community activities and other needed resources. Support from the Mott Foundation will allow them to increase staff and purchase Chromebooks, internet upgrades, personal protection equipment (PPE) and school supplies. Funds also will be used to support tutoring and translation services where needed.

Each community center will ensure proper safety precautions are in place. Hiring additional staff will allow the centers to use more of their space so they can follow physical distancing standards for students.

Meals will be provided during both school and afterschool hours to students participating in the initiative. The community centers also will work closely with participating families to connect them to other resources and services as needed.

“The community centers in Flint are at the heart of their neighborhoods. Families and children count on them for resources and a safe place to learn, play and grow,” said Kimberly Roberson, director of Mott’s Flint Area grantmaking program. “These grant dollars will help them to continue to do what they do best, and that’s serve their community when it’s needed the most.”

Families who want more information can contact the community centers at the phone numbers listed below: