Charles Stewart Mott began his career running a family business, the Mott beverage company which was later sold to the Duffy Company. The Mott name continues to be used on some products, including juice and applesauce.
Simultaneously, he established the Weston-Mott Company which manufactured hubs, wheels and axles. In 1908, General Motors attained 49 percent this company in exchange for GM stock. The 51 percent remainder was acquired in 1913, making Mott the corporation’s majority single stakeholder.
Mott served three terms as mayor of Flint, Michigan (1912, 1913 and 1918). During his tenure, he instituted equitable property assessments, systematic accounting audits, various health and safety ordinances, building codes and a housing cataloguing system.
Philanthropy and Sponsorship
During his tenure as Mayor, Mott founded a camp and medical and dental clinics for Flint’s children. He helped establish non-profit organizations, including the Whaley Children’s Centre, the Boy Scouts and the YMCA, that are still in existence.
In 1926 Mott formalised his philanthropic efforts under the auspices of The CS Mott Foundation in response to the needs of Flint’s booming population.
Mott’s words, “What I am worth is what I do for other people”, help explain his reason for creating the Mott Foundation.
From 1926 it functioned essentially as a vehicle for his family’s philanthropic interests until 1935 when a nationwide community education movement was born implementing school-based educational and recreational activities throughout the city and later nationally in collaboration with the Flint Community Schools. This model, using school buildings after-hours for augmented educational and recreational services, spread widely and was adopted in hundreds of school districts both in the USA and abroad. It is still regarded as the innovator of community education.
The well-being of communities and all that they encompass is at the heart of the Foundation’s philanthropic interests. Improving the lives of individuals, families, neighborhoods and civic organizations continues to be the motivating factor for grant-making in Flint and abroad.
In the USA, the Foundation funds various programmes aimed at “at risk youth”, economic development, community foundations, and the environment.
Through its Civil Society program, the Foundation has extended funding to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in South Africa aimed at developing and strengthening civil society. These organisations promote civic participation in democratic processes at local, national and regional levels. They also work toward strengthening philanthropy and the non-profit sector, and addressing racial reconciliation and transitional justice.
Sustainable community advice offices, support networks including advocacy and infrastructural support organisations, and related community-based organizations are funded in order to assist deprived and relegated communities by providing free and accessible legal advice and related services, thus ensuring local community development and accountability at local government level.
In an effort to improve responsiveness to the needs of said communities, community foundations and indigenous grant-makers that encourage a culture of local giving and thus sustainable community development, as well as infrastructure organizations focused on growing the philanthropy sector through capacity building and tracking local giving trends are also funded.
During 2015, GBP1 135 000, 00 was granted to 10 South African NGOs for the purpose of capacity building within these organisations.