Business Community Youth

Grants totaling nearly $1.1 million support teen employment, small business resources

Pictured: Summer Youth Experience Program (SYEP) teens experience sailing on the Saginaw River aboard Appledore IV. Bay Sail provided some environmental and boat-related education.

Recently, the Flint & Genesee Group announced that the Genesee Area Focus Fund (GAFF) and Flint & Genesee Chamber Foundation (FGCF) – two nonprofit, supporting entities of the organization – received nearly $1.1 million in Q2 of 2023. The grant funding supports teen employment and small business resources in Flint & Genesee.

Three grants – including $825,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (awarded to GAFF); $75,000 from the Marin Community Foundation (FGCF); and $15,000 from United Way of Genesee County (GAFF) – support two key programs of the Flint & Genesee Education & Talent division. This includes TeenQuest, a pre-employment and leadership training program for Genesee County high school students, and Summer Youth Initiative, which connects TeenQuest graduates to summer employment opportunities.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) awarded $70,000 for the Summer Youth Employment Program, which supports the Michigan DNR’s initiative to introduce youth in urban areas to outdoor career opportunities. In addition to their assigned jobs, the teens complete park maintenance and beautification projects at nearby state parks and participate in a variety of recreational activities.

“With the support of these generous funders and others, we continue to prepare Flint & Genesee teens to ‘stand up and stand out’ on the job,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Group.

“This summer alone, our programs have helped nearly 200 students secure employment with local businesses and organizations,” Herman added.

The Marin Community Foundation also awarded $95,000 to FGCF in support of the Flint & Genesee Business Bridge, a digital business directory that aims to connect buyers with small businesses in Flint & Genesee. Marketing efforts focus on including businesses owned by individuals who are Black, Indigenous and/or a person of color (BIPOC).

According to Herman, the funding will support the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance’s efforts to continue building the directory and implement related small business trainings on a monthly basis, starting this fall. Details about these trainings, as well as the second annual Flint & Genesee Business Bridge event, will be released by September.

To learn more about the Flint & Genesee Group and its divisions, visit



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