Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.


A Look at the Flint Kids Fund 3 Years Later

Next month marks three years since the Community Foundation for Greater Flint (CFGF) established the Foundation for Flint as a supporting organization to serve the long-term health and development needs of Flint children and their families impacted by the water crisis through the Flint Kids Fund.

CFGF is sharing an impact report on its work through the fund, a water funds transparency report and what the foundation has learned through this evolving work.

"We've learned nothing philanthropy can do alone is as powerful as what it can do if it's willing to let go of control, to follow as residents lead and take lessons from those who live the challenges day in and day out," Isaiah Oliver, president and CEO of CFGF told CMF.

Oliver said their grant strategy offers a long-term response through sustained and thoughtful interventions focused on four areas: high quality early childhood education; healthy food and nutrition; access to a medical home and child health team; and family, social and emotional supports.

"As we began to develop our grantmaking strategy, we were delightfully surprised by the innovative grant proposals we were receiving from local organizations," Oliver said. "A pop-up pre-school, mental health services on wheels and fresh vegetable boxes delivered to the homes are only a few examples."

In the first year alone the Flint Kids Fund raised $17 million from nearly 15,000 donors from every U.S. state and 13 countries around the globe.

Highlights from CFGF's reports:

  • Between November 2015 and December 2018, the community foundation and Foundation for Flint received $39.2 million in funds and grants.
  • At least nine CMF members have provided grants in a range of topic areas including building the city's public health capacity, lead prevention, access to healthy food, independent water testing, resident engagement, the Flint Promise Scholarship and support for early childhood education.
  • Several grantees are highlighted in the report, one of which is the Flint Development Center. The Flint Kids Fund supports programming at the center's new digital library and literacy lab which serves more than 100 children and their families.

"Prior to the water crisis, Flint children already faced significant adverse childhood experiences associated with poverty and racial disparities resulting from decades of economic decline," Oliver said. "Today, foundation investments in Flint are helping our children access community-based systems that optimize learning, school achievement, health and development, social skills and confidence. Foundation support has been critical in providing interventions that support positive outcomes for Flint children."

The Flint Kids Impact Report shares that the goal is to seek $50 million in private support over the next decade to address the challenges created by the water crisis and the "40 years of serious, community-wide economic decline."

Oliver said the community foundation continues to work with evaluators to better understand the impact of grantmaking investments from the Flint Kids Fund.

"Moving from crisis toward recovery is hard because it isn't simply about replacing lead serving lines and celebrating the day Flint residents can drink from the tap," Oliver said. "We have to be intentional about jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value, dismantling systems of inequity and building trust across our community."

Want more?

Check out the Flint Kids Fund Impact Report.

View the Water Funds Transparency Report.

Learn more about CFGF's work.