You spoke up, and we listened. As the Ruth Mott Foundation embarked on its new strategic plan, we asked north Flint residents: What one piece of advice would you give us as we begin this work in north Flint?
We received hundreds of responses and the advice was and still is used to inform our work. Here is a sampling of what you said:
Listen to the needs of the citizens, then act on it.
Community center for the north end of Flint so the children can have things to do.
Make the grant process easier.
More community forums and outreach.
Help marginalized people become empowered by providing more resources to ex-offenders and providing seed money for small business creation within the community.
Continue to seek community involvement and community voices.
Take care of the neighborhood—if this is done, the other priorities will fall into place.
Get new perspectives.
We have to feel safe, we need jobs, we need training and safe places to go to assemble as a community.
Youth need to be at the table to make recommendations about what they want to see happen.
Make sure the money is spent wisely and the end results show a difference.
Require total accountability from the groups that receive grant funding. Ensure that the numbers have actual progress reports behind them.
Be open-minded and observe what the needs are by listening, watching, and feeling. Don’t focus on one subject and forget about the others.
Include resident voice in any strategy.
Help new organizations with a great vision to help revitalize Flint.
Report out on progress.
Invest in youth programs. They are the grass roots of a healthy and safe neighborhood.
Listen to neighborhood associations. We know what’s going on.
Remember that there is strength in community and each individual has strengths and talents.
Be sensitive to the specific context of the neighborhoods in which you work. One north Flint neighborhood may be very different from another.