PONTIAC, Mich., Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leaders of the Future, a Pontiac youth leadership incubator that is revitalizing the city of Pontiac through community service, is the recipient of a $100,000 AkzoNobel Human Cities grant.
Established by a group of high school students in 2014, Leaders of the Future is an organized force against poverty, blight and degradation in the city of Pontiac. The future of Pontiac will be determined by the next generation, and AkzoNobel is recognizing the Leaders of the Future for the grassroots, hands-on approach its members are taking to invigorate the city.
The grant is awarded through AkzoNobel's Human Cities initiative, the company's global commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world.
"Empowering the next generation of young people to take action helps build lifelong leadership skills and creates stronger communities," said U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). "I congratulate Leaders of the Future on this grant supporting their mission to strengthen and revitalize Pontiac, and I look forward to seeing all they accomplish as they work to help the City of Pontiac thrive. I thank AkzoNobel of Pontiac and Troy for their dedication to supporting the Pontiac community and the next generation of Michigan leaders."
AkzoNobel is a leading paint, coatings and chemicals company with more than 46,000 employees worldwide and operations in 80 countries. In North America, the company employs nearly 5,000 people across 45 sites with its regional headquarters in Chicago. At its Pontiac and Troy, Michigan sites, the company employs more than 300 people supporting customers in the automotive industry.
"AkzoNobel traces its origins in Pontiac back to 1902 and as a company that's proud of this heritage we were impressed by the sustainable activations the Leaders of the Future have introduced to revitalize the city," said Johan Landfors, President of AkzoNobel North America.
Accompanied by Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman and the Leaders of the Future organization, Landfors announced the donation during a press conference held at Pontiac City Hall.
"My theme for the city of Pontiac in 2016 is 'Bringing it Back Home,' because I want to draw attention to the fact that the city of Pontiac is rejuvenated, and we are working together—elected officials and citizens—to bring the city back," says Mayor Waterman. "I am very proud of the contributions made by the Leaders of the Future, and I commend AkzoNobel for supporting the mission and community focus of this exciting grassroots effort."
Over the next two years, the AkzoNobel Human Cities grant will provide $50,000 to support various sustainability-themed community projects that Leaders of the Future will activate in Pontiac. In addition, AkzoNobel will contribute $50,000 to establish a higher education scholarship fund supporting the educational ambitions of the group's membership.
Added Landfors: "This grant will help to expand the good work they do, while our scholarship program will give their members the opportunity to enter higher education and provide a springboard to what I'm sure will be very successful careers."
Leaders of the Future, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded by Anders Engnell and three of his high school friends. Over the past three years, with limited resources, they have completed a number of community projects, including house renovations, parks clean-up and restoration, and the group also provided training and developed the business and leadership skills of Pontiac youth.
"We at the Leaders of the Future are immensely excited to launch projects with greater sustainability and community impact thanks to AkzoNobel's generous donation," said Engnell. "For example, our first project in 2017 will be an orchard and apiary that we'll design and install on a set of two lots on the southwest side of Pontiac. Alongside AkzoNobel volunteers from the Pontiac operation site, we'll also plant peach, apple and cherry trees and place beehives for the community to care for and enjoy."
AkzoNobel creates everyday essentials to make people's lives more liveable and inspiring. As a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals, we supply essential ingredients, essential protection and essential color to industries and consumers worldwide. Backed by a pioneering heritage, our innovative products and sustainable technologies are designed to meet the growing demands of our fast-changing planet, while making life easier. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we have approximately 45,000 people in around 80 countries, while our portfolio includes well-known brands such as Chemcraft, Sikkens, International, Interpon and Eka. Consistently ranked as a leader in sustainability, we are dedicated to energizing cities and communities while creating a protected, colorful world where life is improved by what we do.
About Human Cities
AkzoNobel's Human Cities initiative is an active expression of our company purpose to create everyday essentials to make people's lives more liveable and inspiring. It's everything we do for and with society and is our commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world. The initiative has helped to revitalize favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as creating jobs for young people in the UK. It is also making sport more accessible to young people and helping to restore historic landmarks, such as Burkill Hall in Singapore and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
About Leaders of the Future
The Leaders of the Future is a teen-led 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to transform the city of Pontiac through community service and positive action. The LF was founded in September of 2013 by Pontiac School District students Anders Engnell, Courtland Sargent, Lauje Scott, Noel Waterman, and Steven Martinez
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