The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan, has announced awards totaling $1 million to eight projects voted on by Flint residents as most likely to strengthen the city's neighborhoods.
Announced last November, the Focus on Flint initiative asked Flint residents for ideas to improve their neighborhoods and received six hundred and twenty-five proposals; Mott staff then winnowed the list down to seventy projects and, from July 28 to August 11, asked residents how they would use $1 million to fund up to ten projects.
More than six hundred and forty people with a Flint ZIP code cast votes, and based on the average amounts suggested for each project, the foundation decided to fund the top seven projects and provide $76,680 to the eighth project, for a total of $1 million. The top projects include the demolition of vacant houses that are beyond repair (235 votes, $150,553); hiring young people to assist with neighborhood cleanups and beautification projects (215 votes, $109,860); and offering home improvement loan/grant funds for home repairs and upgrades (197 votes, $161,878). The foundation is reaching out to local nonprofits that can implement the projects.
"Listening to residents' concerns and priorities doesn't stop here," said Kimberly Roberson, director of the foundation's Flint Area grantmaking program. "This $1 million is in addition to the grantmaking we already do and will continue to do [across] the city of Flint. The community's priorities will remain part of our conversations about our grantmaking in our hometown."