$5.25 million project will grow food access in Eastern Michigan
$2.5 million pledge by C.S. Mott Foundation kicks off public fundraising efforts
FLINT, Mich. — Plans by the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to improve food access for residents in 22 counties across the state are getting an important boost from a $2.5 million, two-year pledge of support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the two organizations announced today. A $1.5 million grant towards that pledge will kick off the public phase of a $5.25 million capital campaign by the Food Bank to transform a 62,000-square-foot warehouse in Flint into a new Hunger Solution Center.
“Being able to get enough nutritious food every day is a major challenge for so many people,” said Kimberly Roberson, program director for Mott’s Flint Area grantmaking. “This new facility will help ensure that families in Eastern Michigan have the opportunity to enjoy a healthier diet.”
The new center will triple the Food Bank’s distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in Eastern Michigan.
Photo by Rick Smith
Mott’s pledge of support is the largest single contribution to the campaign so far and the first in the public phase of the fundraising effort. The Foundation’s pledge balance of $1 million is contingent upon the Food Bank raising $600,000 in new matching funds by the end of 2014.
The center, which is expected to open in fall 2014, will double the Food Bank’s overall capacity to collect, process and distribute food; triple its yearly delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables from 4 million to 12 million pounds; and provide new space for volunteers to support the Food Bank’s work.
A new commercial-style kitchen will help residents acquire life- and job-skills training in the culinary arts. It also will allow the Food Bank to add new menu items to the more than 2,500 meals it prepares and distributes each day to agencies serving children.
In 2013, the Food Bank partnered with 400 agencies to distribute 23 million pounds of food, an increase of 13 percent over the year before. Mott supported those efforts in December 2013 with a $100,000 grant that allowed the agency to buy such high-protein foods as meat, eggs, peanut butter and beans. The Foundation’s overall grantmaking related to the Food Bank has totaled more than $4 million since 1990.
Community support will be crucial to raising the new matching funds required by the Mott pledge and to leveraging that investment in the health and well-being of families in Mid-Michigan, says Food Bank President and CEO William E. Kerr.
“With the Mott Foundation and the community embracing the Food Bank’s mission and the fresh possibilities of the Hunger Solution Center, we’re confident that we will be able to help far more people in need,” he said.
Support for the new center also comes from a number of area hospitals, businesses, individuals and other foundations that contributed a total of $1.7 million during the campaign’s recent start-up period. Those pledging $25,000 or more include:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Community Foundation of Greater Flint
Consumers Energy Foundation
Genesys Health System
HealthPlus of Michigan
Hurley Medical Center
Kroger Company — Michigan Division
Dr. and Mrs. Paul Lafia
The Landaal Family
McLaren Flint/McLaren Health Plan
Joe Serra — The Serra Foundation
United Auto Workers and General Motors Co. — Center for Human Resources
United Auto Workers Region 1-C
Walmart Stores, Inc./Walmart Foundation
WJRT— ABC 12
Established in 1981, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has grown into a major affiliate of Feeding America, the nation’s only food bank network. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan distributes food to hungry children, families and seniors through a network of 400 partner agencies in 22 counties. Learn more at www.fbem.org.
The 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 located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with year-end assets of approximately $2.5 billion in 2013, made 400 grants totaling more than $101 million. For more information, visit www.mott.org.