Flint Development Center
Michigan is located in the heart of the Great Lakes Basin, which holds more than 20% of the world’s freshwater. The region’s abundant and clean water resources provide significant social and economic benefits to area residents, businesses and visitors, but at the same time, the state is experiencing the lasting impact of a water crisis. Given local needs around human access to clean and safe water, Wayne County Airport Authority (DTW) and Delta Air Lines partnered with Change the Course (CtC) to build the Flint Community Water Lab to house a youth water testing initiative at the Flint Development Center.
The Flint Development Center houses three individual community-based organizations; including, Evergreen Community Development Initiative, Flint Neighborhood Coalition, and the Environmental Youth Program. Once the Flint Community Water Lab is complete, local youth will engage in an educational program to provide free water testing to Flint residents. In addition to free testing, the Flint Community Water Lab has partnered with Genesee Health, Health Alliance Plan (HAP), and the University of Michigan to offer participants with a positive water test result with an individualized plan of action, which was not possible before the Flint Community Water Lab was created. The investment provides the opportunity for the program to build capacity and grow their operations from community to commercial. Funding for the Lab was a collective effort including 9 Foundations and 51 individuals.
The benefits of the Flint Community Water Lab are grassroots solutions implemented by community members. In addition to water testing, the lab provides educational opportunities for youth interested in environmental justice and science and increased civic engagement. The first 3 years will be dedicated to testing all 50,000 homes in Flint and will expand to other Michigan cities. This self-sustaining, community-led effort would not be made possible without collaborative contributions from all partners DTW and the instrumental partnerships developed by Flint Development Center.
* Project supports urban water use efficiency AND raises public awareness of water issues and/or provides community benefits