FLINT, Michigan -- The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools across the country to take significant budget cuts, and Flint Community Schools are no exception. But Black Millennials for Flint (BM4F), a nonprofit organization, is raising money for resources and programs to keep students at three Flint schools engaged with their education.
According to the fundraiser’s website,
BM4F is looking to raise $9,000 for Brownell STEM Academy, Holmes STEM Academy, and Eagle’s Nest Academy. The funding, which will be split evenly between the three northside schools, will go toward digital device management and upkeep, personal protective equipment, and emergency family assistance for utilities, water, and food.
LaTricea Adams, founder, president, and CEO of BM4F, says the decision to raise funds for the three northside schools was very deliberate and inspired by input from educators.
Before the fundraiser began, Adams says BM4F held a panel discussion that invited Flint teachers to talk about the challenges their schools faced and how those challenges were affecting their ability to teach and their students' ability to learn.
“We wanted the voices of Flint educators, in particular, to be amplified," Adams says. " … That panel, it was absolutely powerful. A lot was unearthed that [included] some of the shortcomings … like budget constraints that came with living in this ‘new normal.'"
Though Adams says she wishes BM4F was able to collect resources for all of Flint’s schools, the scope of the project realistically had to be narrowed to include just a handful of students.
She says the passion and knowledge displayed by Eagle’s Nest Academy Principal Denisha Rawls-Smith and Holmes’ Family Engagement Facilitator, Ashley Strozier, made their two schools an obvious choice.
“We went back and forth," Adams says. " … Since Eagle’s Nest, Brownell, and also Holmes STEM Academy are literally right there together we said, ‘Okay, we want this to be feasible.' … Just based off the strength of the narratives and the voices of those two schools' leaders, it really inspired us to really just go a bit deeper than raising awareness.”
Originally, Adams says just Eagle’s Nest and Holmes were going to be included in the fundraiser. It was Strozier who insisted that Brownell and Holmes both be included.
“Ashley is just such a godsend. She said, ‘If we’re gonna do Holmes and Eagle’s Nest, then we have to bring in Brownell,’” Adams says.
The fundraiser is currently live and has received $900 toward its $9,000 goal.