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$1.9 million to expand educational programs in Mid-Michigan

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Congressman Dan Kildee awards $1.9 million to local non-profits

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A federal grant of more than $1.9 million will be spread among several nonprofit organizations throughout Genesee County.

Congressman Dan Kildee announced the federal funding as a part of his community project funding initiative to improve and expand afterschool educational opportunities for the youth of Genesee County.

A large chunk of money was secured to help five local nonprofits -- two of which will support workforce development and educational programs in STEM.

"There have been studies that really show the impact of student scores approved 20% if they get rich high-quality afterschool programs so we're excited to bring this to more kids," said Todd Slisher, CEO of the Flint Institute of Science and History, which oversees the Sloan Museum of Discovery.

The Sloan Museum is receiving the largest amount at $1 million and the Soap Box Derby is receiving the least at $100,000. Slisher said these funds will benefit a shared mission -- engage youth on a learning journey in STEM education.

"This grant is for afterschool and out-of-school programs, and so that allows us and our partners to really effectively serve all of the kids in Genesee County with these really important programs," he said.

The Flint Soap Box Derby is a hands-on STEM learning environment, where Director Kevin Cronin gives kids a space to create, build and bring to life their own cars to showcase at the annual races.

Cronin's goal is to restore the Cronin Derby as a multi-use racing venue.

"What we're going to do with this grant is transform our program from just a simple race into a year round experiential learning and workforce development program," said Cronin.

That includes restoring a space for the Cronin Derby Downs for several uses, including one that will help put young people in the driver's seat of their future.

"And then ultimately identify and attach what those interests are to what a future career might be," Cronin said. "Rather it be in the automotive industry, the defense industry, transportation, or anywhere in between."

The other nonprofits to receive grants include:

  • Crim Fitness Foundation -- $463,500
  • Flint Institute of Music -- $193,921
  • Flint Institute of Arts -- $148,00

The Sloan Museum of Discovery plans to implement all new programming starting this summer. Flint Soap Box Derby will hold its first open house of the year on March 11.

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