Flint Native, Pistons’ Owner Tom Gores Pledges $10 Million To Water Crisis

Local boy and Pistons owner Tom Gores has pledged $10 million to help his neighbors in Flint, where a water crisis is crippling the city.

Tom Gores has pledge his own money and is dedicating resources for both short-term relief and long-term projects, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“Families and children who live in Flint are suffering, but this is a national issue,” Tom Gores said in a release. “Flint was once a cornerstone of American industry that gave a lot to this country. We need help now more than ever and ask that people from coast to coast continue stepping up.”

In addition to pledging his own fortune, Gores, who is also the chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity, plans to encourage support from the private sector and inspire business and civic leaders to help provide relief for Flint residents right now. The money will also be put toward long-term projects that will help the city’s economy and focus on health care and nutrition for those affected by the water crisis.

Tom Gores’ goal isn’t small: he intends to raise at least $10 million to help Flint, pledging financial and intellectual capital. Pistons’ vice chairman and a partner at Platinum will lead a task force that will encourage support, collect funds, and distribute them where they’re most needed.

The money will also be raised through basketball and concert benefits, as well as small business assistance. Tom Gores intends to solicit support not just from business leaders in Michigan, but from across the country, because it’s not just the responsibility of governments to help ease the water emergency. The private sector must get involved, too.

“I am committed to helping drive that effort. I grew up in Flint, my family has strong roots there, and I believe in the people who live there.”

In the short-term, Tom Gores’ efforts will help provide safe drinking water in Flint, fund nutrition programs for children, and spark economic revitalization in the long term.

In an attempt to save money, the water in Flint was pulled from the Flint River starting in April 2014 and through October 2015, rather through the water system in Detroit. The water was contaminated when it was sent to the city through pipes corroded with lead. Local and state governments told everyone the water was still safe even though it stunk, smelled bad, and was discolored. Now, after two years spent drinking the poisoned water, thousands of Flint residents have high levels of lead in their blood, and a serious health crisis has resulted.

Even if you don’t have millions of dollars to donate, there are ways for everyone to help ease the water crisis in Flint, and Mashable has provided a summary of the various ways to donate and provide support.

To help the people in Flint, you can donate to the Flint Water Fund through the United Way, which will help buy filters and bottled water. The Salvation Army will accept money, too. The organization will also to pay for filters and bottled water and to pay for residents’ overdue water bills. The American Red Cross is also helping Flint; donate here to help.

You can also support local efforts to support Flint residents’ medical needs, as many people there are suffering the irreversible side effects of lead poisoning. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint is collecting donations.

Support research efforts through the Flint Water Study or help undocumented immigrants who can’t get clean water through Action of Greater Lansing.

[Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]