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Supporting cultural assets in Flint is focus of $3.7 million in Mott Foundation grants
The Flint Cultural Center entertains, educates and engages visitors of all ages.
FLINT, MICH.- Recognizing the value of arts and cultural resources in creating vibrant and attractive communities, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation today announced a package of grants totaling $3.7 million for the institutions of the Flint Cultural Center.

The one-year, general operating grants are:

•$1.5 million to the Flint Cultural Center Corporation (FCCC), including support for Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum and The Whiting;

•$1.5 million to the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA); and

•$700,000 to the Flint Institute of Music (FIM), including the Flint School of Performing Arts, Flint Symphony Orchestra and Flint Youth Theatre.

The Flint Cultural Center entertains, educates and engages visitors of all ages. “Just as they entertain and educate, the arts also engage people, creating shared experiences that connect individuals with a community,” said William S. White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “The cultural center, by creating such connections, is providing residents and visitors with opportunities to discover and celebrate both the city and each other.”

The Foundation’s support of the cultural center has totaled $104.88 million since 1928. That funding has allowed the member institutions to improve and expand their facilities, provide best-in-class programming, and develop outreach activities to engage underserved audiences, including children and senior citizens.

This latest round of Foundation grants will support the core programming and day-to-day operations of those institutions, and enable them to offer more free and low-cost activities, expand their efforts to work with local schools, and host more community events.

Mott’s longstanding commitment to its hometown is further reflected in the more than $786 million that the Foundation has invested in the greater Flint area over the past 85 years – $31.85 million in 2012 alone. That funding has included support for programs serving children and youth; economic and downtown development; job training; public safety; and emergency and family services.

One of the country’s first cultural districts, the Flint Cultural Center attracted more than 630,000 people over the last year. Half of those served are children, and the cultural center’s various programs and events bring thousands of visitors from outside Genesee County each year.

The Mott grants will also support a number of unique community outreach initiatives, including:

•“What’s Up at the FIA,” which makes that institution’s collections accessible to individuals living with memory loss and Alzheimer’s diseases, and their caregivers;

•The Flint Youth Theatre’s “Signature Series,” which presents plays that, in partnership with area nonprofits, engage area residents affected by such key social issues as youth violence; and

•The Whiting’s Entertainment Express, which brings live performances to facilities serving local senior citizens.

“To say that the Mott Foundation’s support has been vital to our ability to reach an ever-increasing audience would be understating the facts,” said FIA Director, John B. Henry, III. “These grants put into practice a vision that the arts have the ability to enhance a community’s sense of pride and place. It’s a belief I fully share, that the cultural center institutions are essential components to the future of a vital and healthy city.”

The Mott grants will also support ongoing efforts – both at the cultural center and local schools – to serve and engage area children and young people. For example, during the 2012/13 school year:

•Staff from Sloan and Longway used a portable dome theater to bring planetarium and other educational programs directly to 4,230 students at 22 schools in Flint and Genesee County, and one school in Kalamazoo.

•More than 34,000 area students in grades K through 12 were served through various educational programs offered by FIA.

•FIM’s “Troubadours” program used music and storytelling to advance learning in geography, writing, social studies and character education for more than 42,000 local children.

“Mott’s support of the arts and culture in Flint has been critical to our long-term efforts to help build a prosperous, vibrant and diverse community, where children and adults recognize the value and potential growth from quality music, dance and theater in their everyday lives,” said Paul Torre, president at FIM.

The impacts of institutions like those of the Flint Cultural Center extend further into the community. For example, ArtServe Michigan – a Mott grantee – reports that every dollar of public investment in the state’s nonprofit arts sector returns $51 to the Michigan economy. This includes income generated by the cultural institutions through ticket sales and other revenue, along with profits realized from restaurants, gas stations and other businesses that share customers with the arts community.

“The cultural center district, by providing high quality arts, cultural and educational opportunities in a safe and vibrant environment, is supporting the new growth that is taking root in Flint,” said Marsha Barber Clark, interim president and CEO of the FCCC. “That work is made possible, in large part, through the Mott Foundation’s clear vision of the essential role that cultural institutions play in a flourishing society.”

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