Crowdfunding campaign launched for Flint Community Water Lab

Monday, May 6, 2019

$35,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – Flint will gain a fully functional water testing lab operated by Flint residents, helping to rebuild the trust that was broken during the Flint Water Crisis through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Freshwater Future and Evergreen Community Development Initiative announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $35,000 by July 31, 2019, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“This space represents a different type of placemaking – one that is a community-driven effort to provide free water sampling for all Flint residents,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The Flint Water Crisis is no longer making front pages, yet countless residents continue to use bottled water. Recent surveys show that most residents don’t trust that their filters are working properly or don’t know how to maintain them. The Flint Community Water Lab at the Flint Development Center (FDC) will be a space open to the entire community, unifying residents around one common goal – ensuring the safety of Flint's water. The chief objective of the lab is to empower residents by educating the community in water safety and offering resources to help citizens maintain safe water as thousands of pipes are replaced in the City of Flint in an effort to improve the system.

During a summer pilot program launched by Freshwater Future and Evergreen Community Development Initiative, 15 Flint youth completed more than 170 water tests in just six weeks, discovering that more than 30 percent of sampled homes still lacked working water filters.

“The experience last summer was great. The community really appreciated the free testing and resources,” said Daryl Sparks, a student in the pilot program. “It helped me understand how water is tested and explain it my family, friends and neighbors in a way that we all understand which is really helpful to the community.”

The community embraced the summer program, and this crowdfunding campaign will allow for expansion of this initiative into a more permanent solution to continue educating residents.

“By expanding the lab space in the community center, we are continuing to instill hope in this city that we have been missing for quite some time. That hope is helping us to heal,” said Pastor Daniel Smith, one of the founders of the FDC. “By educating and providing a testing facility in a neighborhood, we believe that we will begin to accelerate people’s trust in the recovery process.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“Good quality of life in all aspects of the community is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “The water lab will help improve the quality of life for Flint residents by giving them much-needed peace of mind about the safety of their water supply.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of May 1, 2019, MEDC has provided $6,375,441 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 204 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $7 million raised from 39,030 individual donors.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.