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Mott Foundation fortifies Flint's Cultural Center

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Sept. 27 announced a package of grants totaling $3,635,400 in ongoing support of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation, the Flint Institute of Arts and the Flint Institute of Music. Together, these institutions, in a 33-acre campus in the heart of the city of Flint, have served local, and increasingly, regional audiences for more than 50 years.

The one-year, general operating grants are:

  • $1,350,000 to the Flint Cultural Center Corporation (FCCC), including support for Longway Planetarium, Sloan Museum and The Whiting.
  • $1,635,400 to the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA).
  • $650,000 to the Flint Institute of Music (FIM), including the Flint School of Performing Arts, Flint Symphony Orchestra and Flint Youth Theatre.

"These grants, like those that have been awarded during the past several years, represent an investment in Flint's future," said William S. White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation.

"It is difficult to imagine what Flint would be like without the cultural center and its anchor institutions," White continued.  "In addition to serving as an important social and artistic resource for Flint and mid-Michigan residents — and increasingly, for students of all ages — the FCCC, the FIA and FIM also serve as key economic and educational assets that should bolster area-wide efforts to rebuild a stronger, more vibrant community."

One of the country's first cultural districts, the Flint Cultural Center was established in the early 1950s after more than $20 million was raised from community donors, including $6 million in small gifts from local residents and school children. Over the years, the Mott family and the foundation have supported the development of the cultural center as it exists today, one of the region's premiere artistic and educational venues.

With more than 617,600 visitors in 2010, the FCCC, FIA and FIM draw many patrons from areas outside Genesee County. During the past year, more than 1,200 volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to support various activities at these institutions. Like other cultural entities around the country hard hit by decreasing earned income and reduced endowment income, the FCCC, FIA and FIM have worked hard to maintain facilities and operate programs. This latest round of foundation grants will support the core programming and day-to-day operations of the various cultural center institutions, enabling them to use other grants, gifts and income to offer more free and low-cost activities, school-busing subsidies and other outreach services.

"The cultural center holds enviable arts, science, and history opportunities and the continued support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation ensures that this treasure will be available to engage current and future generations," said Marsha Barber Clark, interim president and CEO of the FCCC.

"In these challenging economic times, it is of critical importance to maintain a community gathering place that provides world-class performances, workshops, exhibits and school outreach activities. The foundation's continuing commitment will help make it possible to achieve these collective community goals."

The grants also will enable all cultural center institutions to continue to develop programming for kindergarten through high school students, who are experiencing diminished opportunities to participate in arts and music activities as area districts cut programs. At the Sloan Museum, said Clark, a series of outreach programs on the history and culture of Michigan and Genesee County that align with the state's achievement benchmarks for social studies are being developed for third-grade students. In addition to holding two popular national touring science and technology exhibits in the coming year, FCCC also plans to purchase a portable dome theater to expand its educational outreach capacity to schools and community centers throughout the county.

Nearly 302,000 children and adults participated in or attended performing art events offered this past year at FIM's Flint School of Performing Arts, the Flint Symphony Orchestra and the Flint Youth Theatre — onsite and in schools and other venues throughout Genesee County.

According to FIM President Paul Torre, every Genesee County elementary school received a visit from the FIM's Troubadours, a musical performing group. The school for performing arts offers more than 100 different classes, group and private lessons, master classes and workshops, said Torre, noting that FIM also works with local community organizations and schools to offer tuition-free activities serving more than 1,000 children and seniors.

"From free programs for thousands of urban youth, to opportunities for Michigan residents in east-central Michigan, FIM continues to be on its way to becoming a regional performing arts center with the help of its primary partner, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation," he said.

About 14,000 students from Genesee and 10 surrounding counties visited the Flint Institute of Arts this past year, notes FIA Director John B. Henry III. As part of its ongoing efforts to expand accessibility to an ever-wider audience, two new programs were developed as therapeutic resources for individuals struggling with the effects of serious illnesses and Alzheimer's disease.

Nearly half of FIA's 146,000 visitors last year came to see one of 16 special exhibits. To enhance the gallery experience, FIA now offers audio guides as well as narrated tours for adults and students.

"Over the past several years, the staff has worked hard to reshape the FIA's role in the community and the success we've experienced would not have been possible without the ongoing financial commitment of the Mott Foundation," noted Henry.

"With the foundation's support, we have been able to create a much more welcoming space for local residents, visitors and students as well as make some huge leaps in the kinds of programming, exhibitions and studio experiences we are able to offer."

The C.S. Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs — Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The foundation, with 2010 year-end assets of about $2.2 billion, made 492 grants totaling $92.9 million. Visit Mott.org for more information.

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)

 

 

 

 

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