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The MADE Institute Partnering On The Cool Lot Grant Project

Written by: Leon El-Alamin, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Leon El-Alamin

Climate resilient Flint grant program launches. The MADE Institute provides services to individuals returning to Flint, Michigan following incarceration. Flint is the birthplace of General Motors and was the location of the water crisis in 2016 which has dramatically impacted the people who live here.

People crossing the streets during daytime

MADE provides job training, transitional housing, and access to health programs along with a myriad of other support services to returning citizens. Since 2016, our programs have provided training and services to 1,000 individuals.

The Cool Lot grant is part of the Climate Resilient Flint, a community-led climate literacy project that includes the Neighborhood Engagement Hub, the Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint, The M.A.D.E. Institute, Kettering University, and the Genesee Conservation District as program partners.

Climate Resilient Flint seeks to develop climate resilience literacy in Flint, Michigan through neighborhood placemaking projects and green workforce education and training. Building on evidence illustrating that social cohesion, education, and a sense of place are key factors in communities’ abilities to adapt to outside shocks or stressors, this project aims to foster climate resilience by engaging underserved and vulnerable neighborhoods in a three-year science-to-civics learning program.

The Genesee Conservation District strives to improve the quality of life in Genesee County by connecting people with nature. The district prioritizes resources toward soil and water conservation, local food systems, urban land reuse, improving production agriculture, and the long-term viability of Genesee County's resources.

“We are excited to be a part of the Cool Lot Grant project with our partners. We look forward to working with community organizations to repurpose vacant lots into spaces that can help reduce the impact of climate change in our city,” said Leon El-Alamin.

Through the Cool Lot Grant Program, neighbors and community organizations across Wards 1, 2, and 3 are eligible to apply for grants of up to $4,000 to revitalize a vacant lot on a residential street. More funds may be granted based on lot size or the goals for lot use.

The awarded funds can be used to purchase trees and/or plant life and relevant planting materials (e.g., mulch, wood chips) to design a lot with passive cooling strategies. Anyone who receives an award will work with Climate Resilient Flint and Genesee Conservation District to select plants and design lots. Funds cannot be used for construction or demolition projects.

Climate Resilient logo

Grant applications are due Friday, September 8. Applications can be accessed here.

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Read more from Leon!

Leon El-Alamin Brainz Magazine

Leon El-Alamin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Leon El-Alamin is the founder and Executive Director of the M.A.D.E. Institute, that stands for Money, Attitude, Direction and Education. Growing up on the North Side of Flint, Leon was a good kid who took refuge at his grandmother’s house to escape the challenges he faced at home and out on the streets. After graduating from high school, the allure of earning fast money made Leon start selling cocaine. A few years later, a shootout over a drug turf war landed him in the hospital where he spent a month in a coma. The incident led to his eventual arrest and imprisonment on drug and weapons charges. At the age of 30, Leon was released from prison after serving part of his sentence then founded MADE.


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