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Huntington Bank Commits $25M for Comprehensive Economic Development Programming in Flint

April 07, 2016

As the water crisis in Flint, MI, continues to capture headlines, details on potential relief efforts are beginning to emerge. In January, President Obama granted $5 million in emergency funding to address the crisis, while the state has approved $67 million in funding since October. To provide for more immediate relief efforts, The FlintNOW Foundation, created by Flint-native Tom Gores, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity and the owner of the Detroit Pistons, seeks to deliver private sector support in the wake of the crisis. FlintNOW announced late last month that Ohio-based Huntington Bank would help to support the foundation’s mission for comprehensive economic development programming in the region, providing $25 million to support businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents.

Originally seeded with $10 million from Gores, FlintNOW focuses on three core priorities:

  • Immediate support for short-term relief efforts to ensure access to safe drinking water and infrastructure associated with volunteer programs, distribution of resources and other logistics;
  • Funding for programs that help children, including healthy food and nutrition campaigns, education, and healthcare initiatives; and,
  • Long-term support for economic development and revitalization initiatives in Flint and surrounding communities.

In particular, the funds from Huntington would go toward addressing the third priority. Examples of economic development activities within the FlintNOW and Huntington economic development program, according to the foundation’s press release, include:

  • $20 million to make specialized Small Business Administration (SBA) working capital loans available to businesses in Flint, with loans from $5,000 to $5 million made available for qualified businesses, featuring priority processing and funding, no SBA fees for up to $150,000 in loans funded, and waived bank fees;
  • $2 million to fund microlending for Flint small businesses, targeting small business owners who could not otherwise obtain traditional bank financing;
  • $1 million  to provide grants to small businesses in Flint that have been hurt by the water crisis, made available through Moving Flint Forward; and,
  • The launch of a Flint Youth Financial Entrepreneurship Program that will include a comprehensive set of educational tools designed to teach business, entrepreneurship and money management.

The announcement of Huntington’s support came one week after FlintNOW, The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint unveiled the Moving Flint Forward initiative, focused on addressing the immediate and long-term business development needs arising out of, or magnified by, the Flint water emergency. At the center of this initiative is the Moving Flint Forward Fund, housed within the Community Foundation, which seeks to improve overall quality of life by funding programs that:

  • Foster economic growth and diversification;
  • Increase access to quality products and services;
  • Help existing businesses and entrepreneurs create jobs;
  • Stabilize neighborhoods; and,
  • Attract visitors.
Michiganprivate initiatives, foundations, entrepreneurship