1. What is Ruth Mott Foundation’s new strategy?
Our mission remains to: Promote the health and vitality of our home community of Flint and the surrounding area.
However, our strategic focus is shifting to a more targeted place-based approach focused on the area of north Flint, because we believe it’s the area where our efforts can make the biggest difference. At the core of this strategic focus is the assumption that the people of north Flint possess the inherent capacity to solve their own problems. Accordingly, we are especially committed to engaging the residents of north Flint, and to insuring that our work reflects their priorities.
We will seek to fund innovative solutions that have the potential for an outsized impact on long-standing problems. We will also facilitate best practices and consider capacity building in order to bolster our impact. Read the full Strategic Plan here.
2. Why did Ruth Mott Foundation change its strategy?
We embarked on a strategic planning process to review the evolving challenges of our community. We realize there is tremendous need in our community as well as limited resources, and we wanted to ensure we are allocating our resources to have the greatest impact on Flint.
Based on our research and reflection – including discussions with community leaders, foundation peers and grantees, and external initiatives such as the Master Plan for the City of Flint – we concluded that adopting a more targeted place-based approach to philanthropy is the best way for us to serve the Flint community.
It has been demonstrated that focusing on a defined area with significant needs while pursuing multiple opportunities for engaging residents and building partnerships can result in increased impact on a community. To that end, we are focusing our efforts on north Flint, the area where we believe our efforts can make the biggest difference.
While our mission will continue to be centered on promoting the health and vitality of Flint, we will be narrowing our grantmaking to serve the neighborhoods of north Flint in partnership with residents and community organizations in that area.
3. How does Ruth Mott Foundation define north Flint?
We define north Flint as the city limits on the west, north and east, and Flushing Rd./5th Ave./Longway Blvd. to the south. Our goal is to help residents of north Flint neighborhoods create and sustain opportunities to contribute and thrive.
4. When did new strategy and grant guidelines go into effect?
Our refined strategy went into effect beginning January 2016. All grants existing before then will continue unaffected through the end of their current grant period.
5. What will happen to grantees that no longer fit Ruth Mott’s strategy?
Unfortunately, some of the work we have supported in the past no longer fits our narrowed focus and will not be considered for grants beginning with our January 2016 grantmaking cycle. We will strive to work with these organizations to manage the impact of this transition. We have developed a general exit strategy that we will tailor for each organization.
In the future, should the work of any of these organizations change and become aligned with our place-based strategy, we would welcome the opportunity to consider supporting that work.
6. How many of your existing grantees will no longer receive funding?
There are a small number of current grantees whose work no longer fits our strategic focus on north Flint. We are working closely with these organizations to help manage the transition.
7. Will other aspects of your grantmaking change?
We will increase our focus on engaging the community of north Flint, including residents and community leaders; investing in community priorities; facilitating best practice sharing; and measuring our impact.
Additionally, we will seek to fund innovative solutions that have the potential for an outsized impact on long-standing problems. We will also consider capacity building in order to bolster our impact.
8. Will you continue to operate Applewood?
Yes, we will continue to operate Applewood. The estate is rooted in the Mott legacy of philanthropy and embodies the family’s commitment to the community. Accordingly, we will draw on Applewood as a welcoming place of beauty and contemplation to bring people together and as a resource for learning and the exchange of ideas.
9. How should potential grantees or partners learn more about Ruth Mott?
We are always looking for new partners and ideas that support our strategic focus on north Flint. We encourage potential partners to visit our website, www.RuthMottFoundation.org, to learn more about us.
10. Who do you collaborate with?
A critical element of our approach is to involve the residents of north Flint in shaping the solutions we support – by listening to them, connecting with them and integrating their ideas into our activities.
In addition to our grantees, we continuously look for opportunities to create partnerships and to lead or support collective efforts with area nonprofits, governmental agencies and other organizations that help strengthen north Flint. A critical element of our approach is to involve the residents of north Flint in shaping the solutions we support – by listening to them, connecting with them and integrating their ideas into our activities.