Taking the long view has been a hallmark of the Mott Foundation’s support for community foundations, beginning with its hometown community foundation in Flint, Michigan. This ongoing relationship between a national funder and its local community foundation offers insight for the broader field of community philanthropy, especially as it relates to the value gained by engaging in a vibrant partnership and providing long-term support. Mott’s involvement with community foundations began with a $1,000 administrative support grant to the Flint Public Trust in 1950. Mott also helped launch the Flint Area Health Foundation in 1978.
Empowering the people in communities to be able to realize their own dreams is a very important thing.
A decade after the health foundation’s creation, it was apparent that Flint actually had two small community foundations — the trust and the health foundation. “If combined, the new institution could be better positioned for growth and have greater impact on the community through its grantmaking,” said William S. White, chairman, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Consequently, White brought together community leaders and other residents to talk about merging the two organizations; they integrated to become the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) in 1988. “Empowering the people in communities to be able to realize their own dreams is a very important thing,” White said.
The Mott Foundation has granted the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) more than $48 million since its creation in 1988. Of this total, $36.2 million was earmarked for endowment building, and the remainder has been for general support and special projects, including funding youth activities. Ongoing support has helped the CFGF, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013, to thrive as a vital entity in Mott’s home region of Genesee County, Michigan. In 2013, the CFGF made more than 500 grants totaling $4.2 million and ended the year with assets totaling $163 million.
All of these good people coming together, focusing on just trying to make things better - that’s what keeps me engaged.
Even though the Mott Foundation has deep roots in the Flint area, its local grantmaking is greatly enhanced through collaboration with the CFGF. Below are some of the many CFGF/Mott joint projects – either through leveraging resources and expertise, making grants, or in direct partnership.
“All of these good people coming together, focusing on just trying to make things better – that’s what keeps me engaged,” said Lawrence E. Moon, Community Foundation of Greater Flint (trustee 1995-2003 and 2005-present, chair 2006-2009).