Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

The Mott’s Foundation`s Environment grantmaking has three objectives. First, we seek to conserve and restore selected areas of North America’s freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes basin and portions of the Southeastern United States. Secondly, we support nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working to make national and global financial institutions more responsive to environmental and social concerns through our International Finance for Sustainability focus. Thirdly, our Special Initiatives support additional projects, such as addressing sprawl and land-use decisions in Michigan. Related grantmaking also is conducted in collaboration with the Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty programs.

Company details

Mott Foundation Building, 503 S. Saginaw Street, Suite 1200 , Flint , Michigan 48502-1851 USA
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Business Type:
Nonprofit organization (NPO)
Industry Type:
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation affirms its founder’s vision of a world in which each of us is in partnership with the rest of the human race — where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally.

We pursue this vision through creative grantmaking, thoughtful communication and other activities that enhance community in its many forms. The same vision of shared learning shapes our internal culture as we strive to maintain an ethic of respect, integrity and responsibility. The Foundation seeks to strengthen, in people and their organizations, what Mr. Mott called “the capacity for accomplishment.”

This central belief of Charles Stewart Mott was the basis upon which the Mott Foundation was established as a private foundation in 1926. While this remains the guiding principle of the Foundation's grantmaking, we have refined and broadened our grantmaking over time.

Underlying all of our grantmaking programs are certain values that provide a basis for the inter-relatedness of our grantmaking.

These values also undergird our mission — to support efforts that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society.

Charles Stewart Mott's central belief in the partnership of humanity was the basis upon which the Foundation was established. While this remains the guiding principle of its grantmaking, the Foundation has refined and broadened its grantmaking over time to reflect changing national and world conditions.

Through its programs of Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty, and their more specific program areas, the Foundation seeks to fulfill its mission of supporting efforts that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society.

Inherent in all grantmaking is the desire to enhance the capacity of individuals, families or institutions at the local level and beyond. The Foundation hopes that its collective work in any program area will lead toward systemic change.

Fundamental to all Mott grantmaking are certain values:

  • Nurturing strong, self-reliant individuals with expanded capacity for accomplishment.
  • Learning how people can live together to create a sense of community, whether at the neighborhood level or as a global society.
  • Building strong communities through collaboration to provide a basis for positive change.
  • Encouraging responsible citizen participation to help foster social cohesion.
  • Promoting the social, economic and political empowerment of all individuals and communities to preserve fundamental democratic principles and rights.
  • Developing leadership to build upon the needs and values of people and to inspire the aspirations and potential of others.
  • Respecting the diversity of life to maintain a sustainable human and physical environment.

We envision a world in which each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally.

The Capacity for Accomplishment
Charles Stewart Mott was an automotive pioneer, community leader and philanthropist who cared about innovation, a just society, and the strength of communities. Today, Mott Foundation employees in four offices in the U.S., England and South Africa continue his work on a global scale. By supporting nonprofits dedicated to civil society, education, the environment and our hometown of Flint, Michigan, we aim to strengthen what Mr. Mott called “the capacity for accomplishment.”


Nine decades ago, Charles Stewart Mott established the Foundation that bears his name in response to his deep concern about the welfare of Flint, Michigan, and an abiding affection for his adopted community. Mr. Mott came to Flint in 1906 to be part of the burgeoning auto industry and became a founding member of General Motors Corporation. Initially, the Foundation served as a vehicle for fulfilling the Mott family’s charitable interests. It began to evolve in 1935, when Mr. Mott teamed with local educator Frank Manley to create community schools in Flint. Their innovative approach to using schools to meet neighborhood needs would become a national model. That project also served as a platform for the Foundation to expand international grantmaking and become a global force for positive change in the areas of education, civil society and the environment.

Four members of the Mott family have directed Foundation operations over the past 90 years: C.S. Mott; his son, C.S. Harding Mott; William S. White, Harding Mott’s son-in-law; and Ridgway H. White, the great-grandson of C.S. Mott. The Foundation that Mr. Mott launched in 1926 with a $320,000 endowment now has roughly $2.7 billion in assets, offices in three countries, and a legacy of working with local organizations to improve communities on every continent except Antarctica. The Foundation has given away more than it is currently worth, awarding grants totaling more than $3 billion to organizations in 62 countries.

Our Founder

Charles Stewart Mott (1875–1973) was an engineer, entrepreneur, public servant and philanthropist who dedicated much of his life, and wealth, to helping others. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he worked for his family’s Mott Beverage Co. after earning an engineering degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology. After his father died, he took control of the family’s wire-wheel company — located in Utica, New York — and made it profitable by manufacturing axles. He was invited in 1906 to move his Weston-Mott Company to Flint, Michigan, to produce wire wheels and axles for the emerging automobile industry. When W.C. “Billy” Durant organized the General Motors Corporation (GM) in Flint, in 1908, Mr. Mott sold 49 percent of his company to GM in exchange for stock. In 1913, he exchanged the remaining 51 percent of Weston-Mott stock for GM stock and became a company director. He served on GM’s board of directors from 1913 to 1973, a period in which the company became the world’s largest automaker.

Mr. Mott’s GM shares made him a wealthy man, and he parlayed his fortune into a life of public service and philanthropy. He served three terms as mayor of Flint, during which time he led efforts to pave the city’s dirt roads and build a modern sewer system. In 1926, he established the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for philanthropic, charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation affirmed Mr. Mott’s vision of a world in which every person was in partnership with the rest of the human race, and where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community — locally and globally. Mr. Mott’s six children and his fourth wife, Ruth, also established charitable foundations. Mr. Mott was the last survivor among a group of pioneering automotive titans who changed the course of history. His benevolence continues to benefit individuals and communities around the world.