Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is trying to ease the suffering, which is taking place in his own backyard.
Gores announced on the Pistons’ website Thursday he’s leading a $10 million campaign aimed at helping those affected by the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich. Gores, a Flint native, hopes to marshal some of his and other private-sector resources toward providing immediate relief and spurring long-term economic development in the city of nearly 100,000 residents.
“The issues facing Flint won’t be solved solely through government intervention and emergency support,” Gores said in a statement. “The private sector needs to play role here, and 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.”
Lead has contaminated Flint’s water supply since April 2014 when city officials and an unelected city manager (appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder) switched the source of the water from Detroit’s to the polluted Flint River.
Lead and other contaminants have leaked into the system, causing widespread poisoning and other illnesses among residents, particularly the youngest ones. The crisis has grown into a national scandal in recent months.
Gores has tapped Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem to rally additional support from civic and business leaders.
Michigan already has pledged $39 million to relief efforts, according to The Associated Press. Gores’ $10 million-plus will help, but federal officials believe Flint will need much more in order to provide clean water to its residents.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports Images