C.S. Mott Foundation gets involved in border debate with $150,000 contribution

Mott Foundation President Ridgway White
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FLINT (WJRT) (7/5/2019) - The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint is getting involved with the border debate after making a $150,000 contribution to Hispanics in Philanthropy for the Family Unity Fund.

Foundation President Ridgway White wrote in a blog post that he traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border last summer and was appalled by the situation. He said the conditions there run counter to American ideals of welcoming immigrants with open arms.

"I do not think it’s okay," White wrote. "I think what’s happening on our southern border is an abomination and a stain on the soul of our country."

He believes the number of immigrant families being separated when they reach the border is much higher than has been reported -- and the government lost track of some children.

"We cannot let the ever-worsening treatment of our fellow human beings become our new normal," White wrote. "We must raise our collective voices and demand change now."

That led the C.S. Mott Foundation to seek an avenue to get involved and the $150,000 emergency grant to Hispanics in Philanthropy. The money will go toward border groups working on reunifying families, helping with their legal needs and counseling for separated families.

White acknowledges the border and immigration issues are complex and the solution will not be simple. The C.S. Mott Foundation's Civil Society team is working on "innovative" solutions, which led to $700,000 in additional grants to Hispanics in Philanthropy and Alianza Americas.

The foundation plans to continue working on the issue, drawing on its experience helping with issues of democracy in Eastern Europe and South America by supporting local solutions.

"Though we’re acutely aware that we don’t have all the answers, we won’t sit on the sidelines while such suffering continues at the doorstep to our nation," White wrote.