The town of Flint, Michigan, has made the news quite a lot recently, and all for the wrong reasons. Due to a widespread lead contamination of the town’s drinking water and subsequent chronic mishandling of the situation, residents of Flint have been living without clean water, a crucial and basic human resource, for far too long. And now, instead of continuing to wait for the state and federal governments to take action, 10 organizations in Michigan or with roots in Michigan have stepped in to announce a joint donation of up to $125 million, to be used to provide aid in six areas that are very similar to The Suburban Collection’s Pillars of Community Outreach. Here are 3 ways in which these donations from some of Michigan’s biggest power players will benefit the community in and around Flint:

  1. The money will be used to solve the problem of Flint’s contaminated water. Clearly the most pressing issue, the drinking water in Flint is going to be the first target of this financial aid. Independent and ongoing testing of the water will be conducted, and experts will be recruited to create new systems of management for storm water, wastewater and drinking water so that Flint residents will no longer have to worry about having access to clean, drinkable water.
  2.  The money will be used to fund Family Health initiatives. This will include donations to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, which was founded by the pediatrician who blew the whistle on the Flint water contamination and brought the issue to public prominence. Specifically intended to assist the children in Flint who have been exposed to lead, the funding will also include a match program for up to $5 million through 2016 for any other children who have been impacted by the water contamination to date.  
  3. The money will be used to restore infrastructure to the town of Flint. The issue of Flint’s contaminated water has caused widespread and lasting damage to the town’s economy and done near-irreparable harm to the town’s small businesses. The 10 organizations have dictated that part of their charitable contributions must be allotted to the development of job training programs and classes on entrepreneurship, both of which are intended to help the residents in and around Flint get back on their feet economically in the wake of this public health crisis.

Of the 10 organizations that are contributing to the Flint donation, the largest benefactor is the Flint-based philanthropic organization Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which will be contributing up to $100 million of the gift. Speaking about why his organization is donating such a vast amount of money to the cause, Mott Foundation president Ridgway White stated, “Flint’s water crisis is far from over…today our foundations are stepping in to help. We envision a vibrant Flint with a robust economy, dynamic culture, and healthy, thriving residents, and we are committed to achieving these goals.

Other contributors to the fund include the FlintNOW Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and more. As passionate believers in the importance of giving back to one’s own community, we at The Suburban Collection are proud to see other Michigan organizations coming together to help our own as they rebuild the town of Flint, both physically and emotionally.