2016-20 Strategic Plan

Thank you to the 500+ people who told us what matters as we shifted our focus to north Flint during our strategic planning process.  We listened!

2016-20 Strategic Plan to Focus on North Flint (Full document here)

The seeds for the Ruth Mott Foundation’s strategic plan were planted in 2012 as a review of the Foundation’s beautification work prompted broader inquiries into our potential to more closely align with community priorities. In the intervening years, important changes in context – internally and externally – shaped the process of developing this plan. Internally, we saw staff leadership changes and the addition of new board members. Externally, the City of Flint underwent its first Master Plan in more than 50 years, which provided a new sense of collective direction.

From 2016–2020, the Ruth Mott Foundation will pursue its mission by finding and fostering place-based interventions, including social innovation, that emerge from and are focused on achieving positive outcomes in north Flint. At the core of this strategic focus is a commitment to support community voiced and driven priorities and plans. Through this approach, the residents of north Flint will shape those solutions intended to strengthen their neighborhoods and help create and sustain opportunities to contribute and thrive.

“We are focusing on north Flint because it’s the area in our community where we believe our efforts can make the biggest difference,” said Maryanne Mott, Ruth Mott Foundation’s Chairman.

Additionally, we will seek to fund resident-driven, 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.

Our Approach
Our goal is to help residents of north Flint neighborhoods create and sustain opportunities to contribute and thrive. As we deploy the Foundation’s resources to achieve this impact, we are committed to the following approach:

  • Engage the community: A critical element of our strategy is to directly engage 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.
  • Invest in community priorities: We will focus our grantmaking on key areas identified by the north Flint community as well as those where we have relevant expertise.
  • Facilitate best-practice sharing: As a convener, we will gather ideas and lessons from inside and outside the community, bring organizations of all sizes together to share solutions and brainstorm about challenges – and build a vibrant future together.
  • Integrate Applewood into our activity: Applewood is rooted in the Mott legacy of philanthropy and embodies the family’s commitment to Flint. It’s a welcoming place of beauty and contemplation, which we will draw on to bring people together for learning and sharing ideas.
  • Support innovative solutions: We look for opportunities to fund innovative solutions that have the potential for an outsized impact on long-standing problems.
  • Measure our impact: We are committed to tracking our grants and activities to make sure they are making a measurable difference on the vitality of north Flint. (Draft Theories of Change).

The Process
Starting in December 2015, we held a series of community forums that reached a total of more than 500 people, most of whom were north Flint residents, to help us understand what was most important to them. We started by asking about six initial priorities based on recurring themes from existing engagement processes and residents helped us refine and rank them.

The Ruth Mott Foundation will focus on the priorities that residents said mattered the most: youth, safety, economic opportunity and neighborhoods. The other two areas we asked about—community health and arts—ranked much lower. Going forward, any grants must address youth, safety, economic opportunity, or neighborhoods—and specifically the themes within them that residents identified as most important.

Public Safety
Economic Opportunity

Youth development programs outside of school hours 

Small business development/support
Neighborhood centers/community school
Job training/employment
Community policing
Job training
Neighborhood engagement supports
Parenting education/daycare
Ex-offender programs

We are committed to acting to improve outcomes related to these priorities. We see a need within these realms to work to close racial disparities, which is critically important to our community. We also highly value community engagement and successful applicants will demonstrate how they are doing projects “with” rather than “to” the north Flint community.