M1 Concourse, partner of the Pontiac Community Foundation to improve urban transportation – The Oakland Press


Transportation is a problem in the Pontiac, but two local partners are working together to fix it.

The nonprofit Checkered Flag Challenge, a philanthropic group of the M1 Concourse based in Pontiac, and the Pontiac Community Foundation recently announced an initiative called M1 Mobility to provide transportation to city residents trying to access programs and community services.

“Lack of access to public transportation is a critical issue throughout Oakland County, and particularly in Pontiac, and I look forward to supporting these two organizations as they combine their resources and expertise to address the inequalities residents face when facing the daily challenges of commuting to work, school and dates, ”said David Coulter, Oakland County Director, in a statement. “In addition, I will ensure that Oakland County representatives at SMART ask SMART to participate and provide resources where appropriate. “

The first event of the Checkered Flag Challenge, The Checkered Flag Ball, takes place this Saturday, October 2. Dressed in black and white attire, guests will enjoy food, wine and spirits and dance to the tunes of Ben Sharkey.

Dustin McClellan, founder and CEO of the Pontiac Community Foundation, said talks began in early summer as M1 Concourse wanted to start a philanthropic arm.

“Transportation continued to expand as they encountered different nonprofit organizations,” McClellan said.

Terese Zlotoff, chair of the board of the Checkered Flag Challenge, has started talking with various foundations, including Lighthouse, HAVEN and Care House, about what the new nonprofit could do.

“There was a common theme that transportation was often a barrier in providing Pontiac residents with the services they need,” said Terese Zlotoff.

When she contacted McClellan and his organization, it was described as a “perfect fit”.

McClellan, citing US census results and Oakland County data, said more than 19% of Pontiac households do not have access to a vehicle. For households in Oakland County, that number is only 5.2% and 7.7% in all of Michigan.

Higher transportation costs, like auto insurance, contribute to lack of access, making it difficult for tasks like going to doctor’s appointments or getting healthy food.

“If you don’t have access to transportation, your food options, your grocery options are extremely limited,” McClellan said.

As part of the first phase of M1 Mobility, a shuttle service will begin transporting local youth to after-school and recreational programs in October. The service will be extended to others from January.

McClellan said he knew several youth programs also had transportation needs, including Accent Pontiac, Center for Success Pontiac, and Oakland County Sheriff PAL. The Pontiac Community Foundation rents shuttle vehicles.

Zlotoff said M1 has reached out to more than 300 of its mechanics and other sponsors to present the partnership and initiative. Guests at Saturday’s ball will learn how M1 Mobilité intends to fill the transport gap in Pontiac.

“We really think we’ve had a positive response,” she said.

The Checkered Flag Ball begins at 6:30 pm Tickets are limited and cost $ 500 per person. Buy tickets at www.checkeredflagchallenge.org.


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