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Flint & Genesee Chamber and GM Launch Small Business Grant Program

(From l-r) Mark Miller, Regional Director, GM Customer Care and Aftersales; Mike Perez, GM Flint Assembly Plant Executive Director; Jane Worthing, CEO, The Genesee Group & RLC Chair; Lori Wingerter, GM Chief Philanthropic Officer; Terry Rhadigan, GM Executive Director of Corporate Giving; and Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber.

Today, General Motors (GM) and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce announced a grant program to help Flint neighborhood businesses address challenges that impede their ability to grow and thrive. Known as the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program, the $200,000 GM-funded initiative aims to expand revitalization efforts across the city’s neighborhoods by supporting local businesses and increasing the capacity of nonprofits doing vital work there to support residents.

(From l-r) Mark Miller, Regional Director, GM Customer Care and Aftersales; Mike Perez, GM Flint Assembly Plant Executive Director; Jane Worthing, CEO, The Genesee Group & RLC Chair; Lori Wingerter, GM Chief Philanthropic Officer; Terry Rhadigan, GM Executive Director of Corporate Giving; and Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber.

The competitive program will award grants up to $10,000 to help eligible small businesses in Flint expand, make repairs and leasehold improvements, purchase inventory and equipment, and make façade improvements. In addition, the businesses receiving grants will support nonprofits to address a variety of challenges, such as transportation, blight, infrastructure, housing, youth and senior services, education, public safety and health and well-being to create stronger connections for residents to each other and other valuable resources.

“General Motors cares about the communities where we live and work and about building a stronger future for us all. We look forward to partnering with small businesses throughout Flint to remove barriers to their success and to contribute to the economic growth of their neighborhoods,” said Terry Rhadigan, GM’s executive director of corporate giving.

“The collaborative effort between GM and the Flint & Genesee Chamber – announced during the Chamber’s Regional Leadership Council (RLC) meeting at Factory One – is the newest phase of the Moving Flint Forward initiative that began at the height of the Flint water crisis,” said Chamber CEO Tim Herman.

“Flint’s recovery and revitalization must extend beyond downtown and include our neighborhoods to see long-term, sustainable change,” said Herman. “The grants will help accomplish this by empowering neighborhood small businesses to address their challenges but also support the needs of local nonprofits. That’s why we are excited to partner with GM on this unique grant program.”

“GM was born in Flint and continues to thrive here, so the community’s livelihood is extremely important to us. From the wages we pay our Flint-area employees to our spending with local suppliers, this grant program is another opportunity for us to invest in our community,” said Mike Perez, plant executive director for GM Flint Assembly.

Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis after completing an application, which includes explaining how the funds will be used and the impact the improvements will have on the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, businesses will be required to support a nonprofit neighborhood organization and show evidence of assistance delivered, such as volunteering, coordinating a service project or providing pro bono services.

The program is open to anyone who owns and operates a small business within the city of Flint. Small businesses for this program will be defined as 20 or fewer employees and may not be a franchise operation. Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from GM, the Flint & Genesee Chamber, the City of Flint, local grant-making organizations and community members.

Technical assistance will be provided to assist with the application process, implementation and tracking of grant activities to ensure requirements are met and businesses are using funds appropriately, and connections to resources that will bolster the businesses’ capacity beyond the grant period. Grantees will be required to meet as a group several times during the grant period to network, provide updates on grant activities, share best practices/lessons learned, discuss service projects and possible connections and receive technical support.

More information about the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program, including the online application, process for completion and submission deadline, is available at FlintandGenesee.org/Moving-Flint-Forward.

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