LOS ANGELES – March 10, 2016 – Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores today announced that FlintNOW, the campaign he founded to help rally support for relief and revitalization efforts in Flint, Mich., is teaming up with Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV and its "Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families" (#flintkids) statewide telethon on Tuesday, March 15 to raise money for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund (www.flintkids.org), an initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. On air from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern, partnering stations are participating across the state of Michigan in Flint (WEYI-TV), Lansing (WILX-TV), Grand Rapids (WOOD-TV) and Northern Michigan (9&10).
Mr. Gores has pledged to match all donations generated by the telethon up to a total of $1 million. FlintNOW and the Detroit Pistons will help promote the event and continue raising awareness about the impact of the water crisis and the long-term needs of the residents in the city.
"What's happened in Flint is wrong, but there are things we can do to turn it around," said Mr. Gores. "Children and families affected by this crisis need our help and we can make the biggest impact for them by working together. The government is responsible for fixing the water supply in Flint. We're all responsible for helping fix the community."
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.
"On behalf of all Flint's kids, we are grateful to Mr. Gores and FlintNOW for their continued support," said Dr. Hanna-Attisha. "We created the Child Health and Development Fund to ensure that children will have access to the resources they need. We appreciate every dollar people can give to create a brighter tomorrow."
Mr. Gores applauded the Child Health & Development Fund's efforts and also underscored that while the water crisis has been a catalyst, the challenges facing Flint are deeply rooted and require long-term thinking.
"We are partnering with likeminded organizations that take a long view and people who are committed to making a lasting difference for the people of Flint," said Mr. Gores. "It's also important to understand how resources will be used, and it's clear that Dr. Mona and her team are doing great work that makes a real impact."
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.
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.
On January 29, Mr. Gores sent out donations totaling $1 million to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, the United Way of Genesee County's Flint Water Fund, and the American Red Cross. On February 5, the Detroit Pistons announced another $500,000 in donations from the club's 15 players and key executives. On February 23, FlintNOW announced a partnership with Earvin "Magic" Johnson to develop programs focused on early education and scholarships.
Partnering with WDIV-TV and the "Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families" telethon further extends FlintNOW's reach and helps continue building momentum.
"Thanks to this partnership with Tom Gores and FlintNOW, on March 15 people that want to help the children of Flint will have an opportunity to double the impact of every dollar they give to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund," said WDIV-TV Vice President and General Manager Marla Drutz. "When viewers make that donation, they can rest assured that their gift will go directly to providing critical interventions for Flint youth."
During the telethon, viewers will have the opportunity to make donations by calling 844-FLINT KIDS or visiting any of the news station's websites, all of which will be accepting credit card contributions through www.flintkids.org.