Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Helping Men Help Themselves

Judy Blake, C.S.J.

Young philanthropists working for the greater good of Genesee County-61 members of the Gen Forward Network-made their second grant award of $16,322 to St. Luke's N.E.W. Life Center in Flint. Funding will support blight elimination in the northwest quadrant of Flint through a new program designed to train and employ men. The "Clean and Safe Neighborhoods Building Community Pride Project" was one of 21 grant proposals evaluated by the Network's membership.

"Providing immediate impact is what the Gen Forward Network is all about," said Heidi McAra, Network chair and a member of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint Board of Trustees. "Our members come from diverse backgrounds, but we all share the same deep desire to give back to the community."

St. Luke's program focuses on job preparation for men who have not been able to secure employment elsewhere. Some are homeless, some are veterans, and some have served time in prison. The goal is to train them to have the potential to gain financial sustainability for them and their families, said Sister Judy Blake, C.S.J., co-founder of N.E.W. Life Center.

"The men will be trained to use chain saws, riding and push mowers and weed whackers. They will work in the neighborhood surrounding St. Luke's where blight is common and safety has become an issue, particularly for elderly residents," said Sister Judy.