In the fall of 2015, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) was invited to apply for a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF) to support the Foundation's response to the Flint Water Crisis. The mission of the MHEF is to improve the health and wellness of children and seniors. The Fund was created as part of 2013 state legislation that allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to become a nonprofit mutual health insurer.
In December, CFGF received a $514,825 MHEF grant to support initiatives aimed at improving the quality of health for children and/or seniors in the region. To date, three grants totaling $510,664 have been awarded from the MHEF Healthy Food and Safe Water Fund of CFGF.
Edible Flint's "Enabling Healthy Choices" program was awarded a $60,664 grant to support the organization's work in growing and accessing healthy food. Edible Flint has a Demonstration Garden located across from Hurley Medical Center at Fifth and Begole Streets. Last year the garden produced 1,795 pounds of produce that was given away to volunteers and neighborhood residents. Other services offered include the Food Garden Tour, Garden Starter Kits and Garden Starter Services, all aimed at teaching Flint residents how to garden successfully, at a low cost, during the growing season.
Another program expansion that will provide greater access to healthy foods is the Fair Food Network's Double-Up Food Bucks program. A $200,000 grant was awarded to support the expansion of access to fruit and vegetable consumption in Flint. Healthy food is essential to mitigate the effects of lead, especially in children. The project is designed to support Double-Up Food Bucks usage at the Flint Farmers' Market, but also to increase access and redemptions at two more stores; allow recipients to spend on any produce (not just Michigan grown); incorporate specific dairy products high in calcium; and improve technology.