DETROIT, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, the FlintNOW Foundation and WDIV-TV tonight announced they raised more than $1.1 million dollars for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund through a statewide telethon.
The "Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families" telethon aired from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern in Detroit (WDIV-TV), Flint (WEYI-TV), Lansing (WILX-TV), Grand Rapids (WOOD-TV) and Northern Michigan (9&10). The event drew more than 1,500 donations totaling $566,982. A pledge from Mr. Gores to match the funds raised from today's event helped encourage people to give and pushed the final tally to $1,133,964.
"Days like today show the power of bringing people together to rally behind a community in need," said Mr. Gores. "It also sends the people of Flint an important message of hope. There is a lot more we need to do, but we are in this for the long haul and we will help turn things around."
Mr. Gores, who launched FlintNOW to help rally private sector support for relief and revitalization efforts in Flint, said he's proud of the way individual donors and companies stepped up to the challenge. Leading corporations from around Michigan made generous donations, including Meijer-$25,000, Bank of America Merrill Lynch-$20,000, WDIV/Graham Media Group-$20,000 and Kroger-$10,000.
"It was wonderful to see five television stations across Michigan, businesses and individuals come together to raise over $1,000,000 for the families and children of Flint," said WDIV-TV Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz. "Although the telethon is over, this situation is not going away, so we encourage people and organizations near and far to continue to support the Flint Child Health and Development Fund well into the future."
Alec Gores, a Flint native like his brother Tom, started his first business Flint and today stepped up with a $100,000 donation that helped make the final push over the $1,000,000 mark.
According to Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is the founding donor of the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 Flint children have been exposed to lead in the water. She said the fund was created to provide wraparound services for children and families that are not provided by state and federal government support.
"We created the Child Health and Development Fund to ensure that children will have access to the resources they need," said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. "We appreciate every dollar people gave to create a brighter tomorrow." Dr. Hanna-Attisha noted that many of the services the fund will provide – things like optimal child health and development, early childhood education, educational and student support services, nutrition education and access to healthy food – will not only help mitigate the impact of the water crisis, but will contribute to the long-term health of the community for all residents.
FlintNOW and the Detroit Pistons helped promote the event, with Pistons legends Rick Mahorn, James "Buddha" Edwards and Earl Cureton joining Palace Sports & Entertainment Vice Chairman Arn Tellem in answering phones to take donations.
In January, Mr. Gores, a Flint native, announced a $10 million pledge to help support a broad range of short and long-term relief and revitalization efforts in Flint. He created the FlintNOW Foundation as the cornerstone of that campaign and quickly set about forming strategic partnerships and deploying capital into the region. Partnering with WDIV-TV and the "Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families" telethon further extends FlintNOW's reach and helps continue building momentum.
FlintNOW (www.FlintNOW.org) was created by Tom Gores to provide private sector support for immediate relief efforts during the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and for long-term programs focused on economic development, nutrition and health care for residents of the city. Mr. Gores is a Flint native, Chairman and CEO of global investment firm Platinum Equity, and owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E).
About The Community Foundation of Greater Flint
The Community Foundation of Greater Flint serves the common good in Genesee County—building a strong community by engaging people in philanthropy and developing the community's permanent endowment—now and for generations to come. CFGF helps donors support the causes they care about, today or through their estates. Since 1988 the Community Foundation has granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations to build a thriving community. CFGF serves Flint and all of Genesee County including its Community Funds in Clio, Davison, Fenton, Flushing and Grand Blanc.