The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation granted $1 million to the YMCA of Greater Flint to help the organization maintain its services in the community as it deals with significant financial loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-year grant will allow the YMCA to continue to serve residents through its downtown Flint and Pierson Road facilities, as well as Camp Copneconic, while simultaneously planning for long-term sustainability.
“The YMCA has been a key part of the Flint community for more than a century, providing residents with access to recreational opportunities and essential services,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation.
“During the pandemic, these services are more important than ever,” White added. “We hope this grant will not only allow the YMCA to continue serving the community during a time of crisis, but also provide a little more breathing room for the organization to chart its path forward.”
Like many organizations, the YMCA has been profoundly impacted by COVID-19. To protect public health during earlier stages of the pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered gyms and recreational facilities to remain closed for a large portion of 2020. When they were permitted to reopen, they were still subject to reduced capacity limits to ensure social distancing. The YMCA’s traditional summer and school-based programs at Camp Copneconic also were canceled throughout 2020. All of these factors decreased revenue for the organization.
Despite that, YMCA staff have worked to meet families’ needs throughout the pandemic. Since the stay-at-home order was issued in March 2020, they have served over 135,000 meals and snacks to the community. Camp Copneconic has become a site for School Year Day Camp, which aims to help Flint area students who are participating in virtual learning. Last summer, YMCA staff also provided resources to 390 youths who participated in virtual summer programs.
“We are incredibly grateful for this grant because it will let us continue to help Flint and Genesee County survive the pandemic,” said Shelly Hilton, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Flint.
“We can help to heal the mind, body and spirit of our residents,” Hilton added.
Since 1961, the headquarters building in downtown Flint has provided essential services for physical and mental health and wellness, while also serving as an important gathering place for the community. The facility provides health and fitness opportunities for individuals, families, school groups and aquatics teams, as well as afterschool programs for area youth.
The YMCA Pierson Road facility opened in 1984 and provides similar services for residents of the greater Flint area. YMCA also operates Camp Copneconic, which offers camp experiences and summer and school-based programs for area youth.
Short-term Mott support will allow the YMCA’s board of directors to keep the facilities open and available to the Flint community during the pandemic.
As a part of its pandemic response, the YMCA also provides free meals daily at three locations in the city of Flint. Learn more at flintymca.com/feeding. To learn more about all other programs, visit flintymca.com.