By Jan Worth-Nelson
In the third year of a strategy focused on Flint’s north end, the Ruth Mott Foundation has announced new grants totaling $1.9 million distributed among 25 projects, both large-scale and small-scale.
RMF officials say results from their multi-year efforts, which have corresponded to the worst phases of the city’s water crisis, are beginning to bear fruit: “bustling neighborhood hubs where there were none, formerly incarcerated individuals who have developed skills to help them in transition…and young people who learn how to find and maintain employment,” according to Raquel Thueme, vice president of programs.
“When we developed our north Flint Strategy with residents in 2015, we did it with the intent to focus our grantmaking on an area with limited resources and longstanding challenges in order to have the greatest impact,” Thueme said.
The grants, ranging from $22,000 for the Active Boys in Christ “ABC Youth Project” to $404,000 for the City of Flint’s Imagine Flint-Neighborhood Planning Initiative, will support arts education, music classes, sports projects, advocacy for safe neighborhoods, and a student journalism program.
Of these, six are new grantees – the ABC project, NEEC After School and Summer Program, Flint Beat-News Movement, STEMletics, Adult Skill Center Academic Training Program, and Advocacy and Engagement for Safe Neighborhoods in Flint.
That brings the Foundation’s grantmaking to 47 projects or programs new to the Foundation since the north Flint focus began.
“We’re pleased that word of the north Flint strategy is spreading and reaching new organizations that are making a difference,” Theume said.
The foundation has three grant cycles per year, with a final round in November. Awards granted this year are expected to total just over $5 million, “which is typical,” RMF officials said.
“With each grant cycle, we’re impressed with the organizations’ passion for improving the quality of life for the residents they serve, and we’re inspired by and proud to support our grantees’ work. We believe that supporting our youth, public safety, economic opportunities and our neighborhoods will make north Flint overall a stronger, more stable community,” Thueme said.
More than half the grants were to organizations serving young people. That is “in accordance with the No. 1 funding priority identified by north Flint residents: Youth,” Foundation officials stated.
The Foundation’s other priorities, clearly reflected in the grant distributions, include public safety, economic opportunity and neighborhoods.
Below are all 25 recipients, with summaries provided by the Foundation.
Active Boys in Christ – ABC Youth Project. $22,000 for age-appropriate introductory vocational job skill classes to north Flint boys and girls ages 7 to 17.
Catholic Charities of Shiawassee & Genesee County – Mr. Gaines Gardening Program PLUS 2018. $106,000 jobs and training for Flint teens in growing, harvesting, and selling produce from food garden sites and providing culinary and nutrition programming.
Eastside Compassionate Mission Center – Empowering through Employment 2018. $27,348 job training and summer employment program for north Flint youth ages 13-18, plus weekly hands-on literacy programming for children ages 5-9.
Flint Cultural Center Corp. – Educational and Cultural Youth Activities.$39,722 for the Whiting’s Youth Usher Corps teen employment program as well as Sloan/Longway’s Head Start STEM and literacy programs.
Flint Institute of Music – Community Programs 2018-2019. $60,700 for out-of-school-time music and dance programs facilitated by the Flint School of Performing Arts for approximately 400 north Flint children and their families.
Flint Institute of Music – Tapology General Project Support 2018. $135,000 tor youth development and jobs through tap dance to more than 200 north Flint youth.
GST Michigan Works – Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates-Out of School 2018.$54,000 for north Flint young people facing multiple barriers to education and employment with learning supports, job training and job shadowing.
Institute of Rhymes – Building Men of Excellence 2018. $30,000 for afterschool program of academic support, cultural activities, enrichment programs and mentoring to middle- and high-school boys at five north Flint sites.
Metro Community Development – Mothers of Joy University Project 2018.$24,000 for parenting education programs to north Flint families.
New Evolution Education and Youth Development Program – NEEC After School and Summer Program. $25,000 for a summer day camp and afterschool academic and enrichment programming for 100 north Flint youth in grades K-8.
Project SYNcERE – STEMNETICS 2018. $39,400 for elementary and middle school students for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) learning opportunities and to increase academic proficiency in math and science.
Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village – Flint Beat-News Movement.$75,000 for afterschool and summer programs in solutions-focused journalism for that train north Flint youth in grades 6-12.
United Way of Genesee County – STEMletics. $35,475 for hands-on afterschool and summer programming using sports to teach north Flint youth STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Sphinx Organization – Sphinx Overture: Music Education and Youth Development 2018. $108,500 for music education programming for youth at four north Flint schools, and increased engagement through recitals and scholarships for north Flint students for private lessons, summer camps, and programming.
Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County – North Flint Project 2018.$150,660 (for two years) to educate, engage and empower north Flint residents to anonymously share with law enforcement information that could help solve and prevent crimes.
Center for Higher Educational Achievement – Adult Skill Center Academic Training Program. $34,770 for intensive reading and math skills development for adults from north Flint who face academic challenges, do not have a GED or diploma, and are interested in pursuing postsecondary education or job training.
MADE Institute – General Operating Support 2018. $77,500 for job training, mentorship and transitional housing services to men returning after incarceration.
Re-Connections – General Operating Support 2018. $27,500 for job training, certification and coaching to community members with a felony record.
United Way of Genesee County – Flint SOUP 2018. $50,000 for a community-based micro-grant program to support creative concepts for north Flint startup companies through crowdfunding and collaboration.
University of Michigan – North Flint Unemployment Insurance Project 2018.$40,000 for a program in which first-year law students advocate for unemployed north Flint workers participating in job training programs and have been denied unemployment benefits.
Asbury Community Development Corp. – General Operating Support 2018.$112,500 for general operating support for water resource services; literacy, nutrition and job training; and meeting space for north Flint youth and adults.
City of Flint – Imagine Flint-Neighborhood Planning Initiative 2018. $404,000 (for two years) to engage at least four north Flint neighborhood groups and more than 100 community members in developing neighborhood plans.
Crim Fitness Foundation – Advocacy & Engagement for Safe Neighborhoods in Flint. $49,120 for the Safe and Active Genesee for Everyone (SAGE) Coalition to work with north Flint neighborhood associations in implementing neighborhood strategies; strengthen its Safe Routes to School work; and expand its collaborative advocacy training in north Flint.
Evergreen Community Development Initiative – Flint Development Center 2018. $150,000 for operation of the Flint Development Center, a neighborhood hub that houses youth, literacy and recreation programs at the former Bunche elementary school in north Flint.
Michigan League for Public Policy – Empowering North Flint Residents 2018.$80,000 (for two years) to advocate for statewide policies that promote economic security and well-being for vulnerable Flint residents; produce an annual Kids Count Flint profile and other data resources for Flint; assist in local efforts to ensure a fair and accurate U.S. Census count in 2020; and train and engage Flint residents in using data and analysis to advance community and policy changes.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.