Mott Foundation pledges $15M to initiative that will provide cash payments to Flint mothers

FLINT, Michigan — Last week, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation publicly announced that it intends to grant up to $15 million over the next three years to support Michigan State University’s new Rx Kids initiative. Rx Kids is a community health initiative that will provide mothers in Flint with direct cash payments during pregnancy and throughout the first year of their child’s life. 

“Since our founding nearly a century ago, the Mott Foundation has worked alongside our hometown to help create opportunities for Flint kids. We’re supporting Rx Kids because of its bold approach to reducing childhood poverty and associated negative health effects,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

With the foundation’s support of the program and the advocacy of leader Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, the program hopes to improve child health equity in the Flint community. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is joined by outstanding collaborators, including one of the nation’s foremost experts on anti-poverty measures as well as strong community partners.

“With Rx Kids’ expansive approach, they’ll be able to take prior efforts to the next level,” said White. Dr. Hanna-Attisha echoed this sentiment as she described the Mott Foundation's contribution to Rx Kids as extremely pivotal to maximizing the impact they will have on the Flint community. 
Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha.
“It's a rubber stamp of approval and commitment to our big idea,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. “They also understand that this is not just about Flint, but it has the potential to change state and national policies and investments. We are so grateful that they were the first supporters.”

According to Hanna-Attisha, this initiative is especially important because all pregnant moms and infants in Flint will be eligible. “The beauty and novelness of this program is that it is for the entire city — this has never been done before. We are saying that we see you and we hear you. Society is walking alongside you during this difficult and important time,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha.

“While there have been similar projects elsewhere, this is the first to be done on a citywide scale,” said White.

The root cause of poor health and health inequity has been linked to economic instability and poverty. We have learned for generations that being born into and growing up in poverty can be detrimental to one's health, but increasingly over the past decades, we now understand how it may implicate brain development, illnesses, injuries, obesity, chronic diseases, and even life expectancy. Poverty is a recognized stress which impacts many body systems.

“This should help to expand our nation’s understanding of what works to keep kids healthy and help them thrive. We’re excited to see how it will help children and families in Flint, and ultimately, throughout the country,” said White.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha and the Rx Kids team are currently raising money now to meet the $15 million Mott Foundation match. Enrollment for the program is expected to open in 2024.

“We are also growing our list of endorsers,” said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. “We want folks to be excited, happy, full of joy. This is going to be huge and exciting and another example of Flint leading the way for kids and communities across the nation.”

To learn more about Rx Kids and to contribute to the initiative, visit:
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Brianna Nargiso.