The FlintNOW Foundation and Huntington Bank have announced a multi-million economic development partnership aimed at boosting the economy of Flint, Michigan, and providing relief to local businesses and residents affected by the ongoing water crisis in that city.
The initiative will provide $25 million to homeowners, businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents of Flint and Genesee County, including commitments of $20 million for Small Business Administration working capital loans ranging from $5,000 to $5 million; $2 million to fund microloans of up to $250,000 for small business owners; $2 million for specialized mortgage financing in support of home renovations associated with the crisis; and $1 million for grants to businesses that have been hurt by the crisis. In addition, the initiative will launch a Flint Youth Financial Entrepreneurship Program aimed at teaching children and young adults about business, entrepreneurship, and money management.
Partners in the initiative, including the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Metro Community Development, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, will help manage the program.
FlintNOW was launched in January by Tom Gores, chair and CEO of Platinum Equity and owner of the Detroit Pistons, to support immediate relief for victims of the water crisis as well as longer-term revitalization of the region's economy. Gores himself donated $1 million to what initially was a $10 million campaign, which included grants to CFGF's Flint Child Health & Development Fund, the United Way of Genesee County's Flint Water Fund, and the American Red Cross, Crain's Detroit Business reports. Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank is the second-largest SBA 7(a) lender in the United States and the largest such lender in Michigan.
"They're bringing $25 million to the table, which is an important and meaningful financial commitment," said Platinum Equity partner Mark Barnhill, co-leader of the initiative . "They're also providing experience and structure that will help our efforts to ensure that the capital gets to the people who need it most, and that the programs have long-term staying power."
"This is exactly the kind of private sector partnership we envisioned when we launched FlintNOW," said Gores. "The government is responsible for fixing the water supply in Flint, but we're all responsible for fixing the community. This partnership signifies the momentum we need for the future of Flint."