Mott Foundation grants $750,000 to support Flint senior centers

Beverly Lewis, executive director of the Hasselbring Senior Center, shares a smile with Justus Thigpen while standing together in the doorway of the Hasselbring Center's recreation room.
Beverly Lewis, executive director of the Hasselbring Senior Center, shares a smile with Justus Thigpen, a Flint resident, former professional basketball player and senior member of the Center. Photo: Cristina Wright

Flint, Michigan – The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation granted a total of $750,000 to the city of Flint to support upgrades to the buildings, systems and interior spaces at Brennan Senior Center and Hasselbring Senior Center. The two grants aim to address critical needs and create community gathering spaces that are safe, vibrant, efficient and sustainable.

“It’s important for all residents — and especially seniors — to have places where they can spend time, build relationships and stay connected to their community,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “We’re happy to provide funding to the city of Flint to help ensure these two senior centers will be welcoming for residents — today and into the future.”

The Mott Foundation made two grants to the city: $450,000 to support the Hasselbring Senior Center and $300,000 to support the Brennan Senior Center. The grants are part of an effort to support upgrades and new spaces at multiple Flint community centers. They follow a $575,000 grant to Latinx Technology & Community Center that was made earlier in the year to redevelop the organization’s second floor to provide additional space for community programs, staff offices, and youth and adult educational programming.

Image of a brick building with a basketball court in front of its doors.
The Mott Foundation granted $300,000 to the city of Flint to support interior and exterior upgrades at the Brennan Senior Center, located at 1301 Pingree Ave.
Photo: Cristina Wright

Grant dollars to support Brennan Senior Center will be used to: repair the roof, sidewalk and lighting; upgrade air conditioning, ventilation, electrical and alarm systems; fully remodel the kitchen to accommodate culinary programming; and upgrade rooms to support activities that seniors enjoy.

“The Brennan Senior Center has been serving the city of Flint for 14 years, addressing the health, education, recreation, socialization, nutrition and transportation needs of seniors,” said Deborah Holmes, executive director. “We have had structural deficits in our building, causing safety issues that have not allowed us to use the full facility. These funds will allow us to provide a safe fitness room, prepare healthy meals on-site and offer more activities with the expanded use of our space. We’re thrilled to beautify and enliven the Brennan Senior Center — and welcome more residents to it!”

Hasselbring Senior Center, located at 1002 W. Home Ave., will benefit from upgrades made possible through a $450,000 grant from the Mott Foundation to the city of Flint.
Photo: Cristina Wright

The grant to support Hasselbring Senior Center will be used to update electrical and plumbing systems throughout the building, install a new air purification system, resurface the parking lot, purchase new computers, and spruce up its program space with new furniture and activity tables. Funds also will be used to upgrade the center’s banquet room and kitchen, enabling Hasselbring not only to host events, but also to generate revenue as a rental facility.

“This grant will make a difference by providing improvements that will create more accommodating access for our senior population and others who frequent the center by increasing satisfaction, comfort and safety during involvement in activities, programs and services offered,” said Beverly Lewis, executive director at Hasselbring. “These improvements will result in sustained operations, increased productivity during the hours of operation and the ability to utilize the entire facility to the fullest. This, in turn, will result in an increase in service levels to a larger number of households in the area due to a more comfortable and more efficient environment for residents to gather. I’m overwhelmed with excitement for this opportunity to give our seniors and other residents what they truly deserve!”

“Staff and volunteers at these centers put so much heart and energy into working with residents,” White said. “The Mott Foundation made these grants so the centers can focus more on that important work and worry less about physical improvements that need to be done.”