The first-ever Flint Homecoming concluded with more than 60 expatriates returning to Flint to reconnect, rediscover and invest in the future of their hometown. In all, more than 150 participants – including sponsors, and business and community leaders – came together over 1-1/2 days to partake in panel discussions, site tours, networking opportunities and reminiscing about the city that helped shape them personally and professionally.
Signature events were held at The Durant as well as the Durant-Dort Factory One on Wednesday, Aug. 16, and Thursday, Aug. 17, respectively.
In addition, pledges totaling $50,000 for two Flint projects were announced by expats during the event. Dr. William Pickard, CEO, Global Automotive Alliance pledged $40,000 to the Friends of Berston Field House for the construction of a Family Literacy Classroom at the historic community center. Herb Washington, President & CEO of H.L.W. Fast Track, a food and beverage company, pledged $10,000 toward ongoing renovation of the historic Capitol Theatre.
“Flint taught me you don't get ready, you stay ready,” said Washington, at the Homecoming.
A list of distinguished speakers and dignitaries greeted the Flint expats, including: Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver; Rich Baird, Senior Advisor to the Gov. Rick Snyder; Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Ridgway White, President, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Mary Kramer, Group Publisher, Crain’s Detroit Business & Crain’s Cleveland Business; Mark Reuss, GM Executive Vice-President of Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain; and Mike McDaniel, Coordinator, FAST Start Initiative.
“If you give Flint a chance, I think you'll be impressed by how much Flint will give back,” said White, in his welcome remarks.
Thursday, day two of the Flint Homecoming, was packed with informative panel discussions to update the expats on the ongoing initiatives to move Flint forward. The panel discussions:
- Flint Works for Me. It Can Work for You
- Philanthropy’s Changing Role in Flint’s Revitalization
- Education’s Role in Moving Flint Forward
- Economic Development Strategic Initiatives
- Entrepreneurism in Flint
- The Young Professionals – How I Contribute to Moving Flint Forward
There was also a presentation on the status of two-dozen Flint projects.
In his closing remarks, Flint & Genesee Chamber CEO and Flint Homecoming Co-Chair Tim Herman encouraged expats to “stay engaged and stay connected.”
“Over the past day and a half, you’ve seen evidence of the revitalized Flint,” said Herman. “You’ve heard stories of resilience, collaboration, innovation, and vision as well as plain, hard work and perseverance. We have a solid foundation in place in which we’re rebuilding a sustainable, livable community.
“With your support and engagement, I know we can rise to greater heights.”
Flint Homecoming 2017 was made possible through the work and support of the following partners: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Deloitte, Diplomat, Flint Cultural Cultural Center, Flint Downtown Development Authority, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, General Motors, Hagerman Foundation, Huntington Bank, Kettering University, Plante Moran, Ruth Mott Foundation, United Way of Genesee County, and University of Michigan-Flint.
Please visit Flint Homecoming for more information about the event. Below is a brief video of some participating expats discussing why they attended the event and what they thought about the experience.