Gen Forward Network — In Third Year of Giving


Genesee County’s next generation of philanthropists is up and coming. The Gen Forward Network, which started as an initiative of the Greater Flint Community Foundation, is a group of emerging young humanitarians working for the greater good of Genesee County. Now in its third year, the network members contribute to a common grant-making pool to support annual awards in a focus area of their own choosing.

Members of the Gen Forward Network share a commitment to work together for the benefit of Genesee County. According to Heidi McAra, Chairperson, membership is open to people between the ages of 20 and 49. Individuals and families earn a vote by making an annual contribution. “It’s a democratic process,” Heidi says, “and the amount of the grant is directly related to the number of members.” During the next few months, Gen Forward members will be working to determine the recipients of this year’s grant by hosting various networking events. Through a voting process, they will narrow down specific topics to help determine what type of organization will be considered for the charitable dollars. “We learn as much as we can by bringing different speakers to educate us,” Heidi explained. Last year, the chosen topic was Community Development. The recipient of the second-year grant of $16,322.21 was St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center in Flint, which they used to fund a new program designed to train and employ men.

What are the benefits of becoming a Gen Forward Network member? Heidi says it is an opportunity to join with others committed to the community. It is also a chance to broaden and deepen your knowledge about community needs and issues, expand professional and social connections and develop leadership skills. “I became a member of the network because it is a way of maximizing my charitable dollars and getting the biggest bang for my buck,” says Heidi.”It’s really a great way to network and get to know the area’s community-minded philanthropic leaders.” ♦

Gen Forward Network Guiding Principles:
1. To increase the impact of their charitable dollars by learning and working together,
2. To be involved in addressing the needs of the community, and
3. To continue the community’s legacy of generosity by fostering a new generation of philanthropists


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