The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is asking the community for help in deciding how to spend $1 million on neighborhood-based projects ranging from cleaning up parks and playgrounds to the demolition of vacant, blighted homes.
As part of the foundation’s Focus on Flint initiative, $1 million in grants will be awarded based on input from Flint residents. In November, Mott announced it would grant the funding to support neighborhood projects, and more than 440 people submitted 625 ideas in four categories: beautification/neighborhood cleanup, home improvements, demolition, and streetlight and sidewalk repair.
From now until Aug. 11, residents can vote online at focusonflint.org/vote from a list of 70 potential projects with the focus on neighborhood projects.
According to the Mott Foundation, the community will be notified of the winners as soon as possible, and the timeline will depend on the number of projects selected and the readiness of nonprofits to tackle the work.
“When we launched the Focus on Flint initiative last year, we met with residents and listened to their concerns and desires for the community,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “Strengthening neighborhoods emerged as their top priority, and we’re eager to help them do it.”
Through 30 community conversations and an online survey, residents were invited to share up to five priorities for the city of Flint. Residents mentioned four priorities most frequently: neighborhoods topped the list, followed by safety, education, and economic development.
The grant-making process is guided by the community and aims to connect to residents and understand their needs.
To vote, participants can:
* Go to focusonflint.org/vote.
* Select up to 10 projects.
* Vote to give up to $250,000 per project. Beginning with the minimum amount required to complete each project funds in increments of $5,000 can be added.
* For example, participants may vote for four projects to get $250,000 each, 10 projects to get $100,000 each or another combination to reach $1 million.
* Once $1 million is reached, no more votes will be accepted for more projects.
* Each resident may vote only once.
“We hoped to have more in-person meetings this year for the voting, but the pandemic changed those plans,” White said. “Although we have to ask people to vote online, we’re excited to hear from the community again so we can get money into the neighborhoods to address residents’ priorities.”