Flint, Michigan — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted a total of $192,007 to the Neighborhood Engagement Hub (NEH) to coordinate neighborhood cleanups and hire young people to assist with the work.
Mott announced in August that it would fully fund seven neighborhood projects and partially fund an eighth project — for a total of $1 million in related support — based on how Flint residents voted between July 28 and Aug. 11.
The grants to NEH will fund two of the top eight projects residents said they wanted to see happen. The efforts the grants will support, along with the dollar amounts residents voted to allocate to each, are as follows:
— Hire young people to assist with neighborhood cleanups and beautification. | $109,860
— Place dumpsters throughout the city during designated times of the year (e.g., spring cleaning and fall winterizing). | $82,147
This is the first time NEH has received a Mott Foundation grant.
“C.S. Mott used to say our Foundation exists to help people partner with their communities in meaningful ways, and the Neighborhood Engagement Hub really embodies that philosophy,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “They’re already very involved in neighborhood projects throughout Flint, and they collaborate with community leaders and residents to drive positive change all across the city. So we’re excited to work with them and pleased to support their efforts.”
The organization’s youth employment program will begin in late winter or early spring, said Ashley Everhart, NEH director. The program will include robust training in neighborhood work, leadership, facilitation and how to fund community projects.
NEH plans to work with Flint community centers and other local youth programs to make this an engaging and empowering program for all participants. For more information about the program, email Everhart at email@example.com.
“In launching the youth employment program, our focus is both on providing opportunities for young people to earn money and — perhaps even more important — helping them to develop leadership skills and deepen their connections to neighborhood and community revitalization,” Everhart said. “We hope this pilot program will begin to inspire the next generation of Flint neighborhood leaders.”
Placing dumpsters throughout the city is also an important part of supporting neighborhood cleanups.
Everhart said NEH will create a plan for where and when dumpsters will be distributed based on conversations with neighborhood leaders across the city. Beginning in the early months of 2021, NEH staff will reach out to community leaders and Flint City Council members to coordinate what is needed for each ward. They also will coordinate the work of volunteers and the distribution of supplies.
NEH hopes to be able to coordinate multiple neighborhood cleanups on a single day next year as one more way to bring the city together for something positive.
“After such a difficult year of social distancing, we are eager to get to work safely planning cleanups throughout the city. Now more than ever, we all know the importance of working together,” Everhart said. “Neighborhood groups have always been the champions of the community, and we are grateful to be able to support them even more with the help of the Mott Foundation grants.”
The grants to NEH are the latest awarded through community-led grantmaking that’s part of the Mott Foundation’s Focus on Flint initiative. A complete list of the eight projects that will be supported by the $1 million in Mott funding and further information about the Focus on Flint initiative are available at focusonflint.org/updates.
To learn more about the work NEH is doing throughout the community, visit neighborhoodengagementhub.org.