Mott Foundation to fund eight neighborhood projects based on Flint residents’ votes

Flint, Michigan — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will grant $1 million to fund the top eight projects Flint residents voted on to strengthen the city’s neighborhoods.

The Foundation announced the initiative in November 2019 and solicited ideas from residents. More than 440 people submitted 625 ideas. Mott staff reviewed all ideas submitted and, from them, created a list of 70 potential projects to vote on. From July 28 to Aug. 11, residents were asked to vote on how they would use $1 million to fund up to 10 of the projects. The Foundation then looked at the top vote-getters and the average dollar amounts suggested for each project.

“While we regularly talk with Flint residents, this process allowed us to hear from more people regarding their immediate priorities for neighborhoods,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “The residents have spoken, and we’re eager to get money into the neighborhoods based on what they said was important to them.”

More than 800 people voted. After votes associated with ZIP codes outside the city of Flint were removed, votes from 640 residents were tallied.

The top vote-getters are listed below. Based on the average amounts suggested for each project, the Mott Foundation will fund the top seven projects, along with $76,680 toward the eighth project, to equal $1 million.

  1. Demolish vacant houses that are beyond repair.
    235 votes | $150,553
  2. Hire young people to assist with neighborhood cleanups and beautification.
    215 votes | $109,860
  3. Offer a home improvement loan/grant fund for home repairs and upgrades.
    197 votes | $161,878
  4. Take down properties that have been burned.
    193 votes | $139,378
  5. Demolish homes listed on the City’s Property Portal that are designated as needing demolition but currently no funds are available.
    184 votes | $158,098
  6. Offer a home repair program for seniors who want to stay in their homes but are unable to do minor repairs themselves.
    160 votes | $121,406
  7. Place dumpsters throughout the city during designated times of the year (e.g., spring cleaning and fall winterizing).
    156 votes | $82,147
  8. Build upon the City’s Blight Elimination Task Force.
    146 votes | $139,966

To see a complete list of how each of the 70 projects ranked, visit focusonflint.org/updates.

“Listening to residents’ concerns and priorities doesn’t stop here,” said Kimberly Roberson, director of Mott’s Flint Area grantmaking program. “This $1 million is in addition to the grantmaking we already do and will continue to do throughout the city of Flint. The community’s priorities will remain part of our conversations about our grantmaking in our hometown.”

The Mott Foundation will now begin reaching out to local nonprofit organizations that could potentially tackle the eight projects. To sign up for updates on the Focus on Flint initiative, go to focusonflint.org/get-involved.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. With year-end assets of approximately $3.1 billion in 2019, the Foundation made 364 grants totaling more than $133 million. For more information, visit www.mott.org.
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