Year after year, generation after generation, the business community in Flint & Genesee shows up when it matters most. The results of their contributions are easily seen in times of economic growth, when investment and development are happening throughout Genesee County. But moreover, when there are strides to be made toward opportunity and prosperity in our region, the impact of that collective effort is especially significant.

Tim Herman
Flint & Genesee Group CEO Tim Herman

I had the occasion to reflect on this at a recent gathering of the Flint & Genesee Group’s Regional Leadership Council, where partner businesses came together for networking and a dialogue with Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Since its founding in 1926, the Mott Foundation has granted nearly $1.5 billion to support charitable efforts in Flint and Genesee County. (Adjusted for inflation, that would be more than $3.4 billion.) As Ridgway reflected on the work of the foundation in its nearly 100 years, we talked about what will be most important to our community’s future success. He noted, “C.S. Mott said, ‘As a community succeeds, so does the individual.’ We all rely on others to succeed. We need to make sure that we’re working as hard as we can – and collectively.”

It’s a theme that comes up often in our work, the interconnected nature of moving the community forward. For example, this is why Genesee County’s collaborative vision for economic vitality was titled “Forward Together” when it was developed in 2019. We knew that a countywide vision statement – that Genesee County will be a top-five community in Michigan based on jobs, talent, livability, and equity by 2040 – can only be realized through combined effort and collective impact.

As our conversation came to a close that evening with the Regional Leadership Council, I asked Ridgway what lessons he’s learned that might benefit others working to make a positive difference in Genesee County. He shared that he approaches every new opportunity by asking, “How can I help?”

Taking his words to heart, I encourage us all to ask: How can Flint & Genesee’s business community help in the effort to go “forward together?” How can we each, as businesses and individuals, support jobs, talent, livability, and equity in Genesee County?

Ridgway said it so succinctly. The way forward begins with reaching out to one another – business to business, town to town, neighbor to neighbor. We can ask, “How can I help?” and truly listen to the answer. And we can each show up for our community, one conversation at a time.

Committee members sit at round tables as they listen to two men discuss the status of a project
A meeting of the Flint & Genesee Group’s Regional Leadership Council