Ruth Rawlings Mott (1901-1999) was raised in El Paso, Texas. Her father was a family practice physician who served those in need on both sides of the border. Her mother was a businesswoman, kindergarten teacher, and founder of the El Paso YWCA.
Ruth went east to study physical education, became a teacher in the Baltimore Friends School, and returned to El Paso to open her own dance studio. It was there that she met and married Charles Stewart Mott and moved to his estate, Applewood, in Flint, Michigan. She became a mother, an active partner with her husband in the community, and prominent in her own right as a local leader, foundation trustee, and national philanthropist. She served as a trustee on the Board of the C.S. Mott Foundation from 1944 to 1975. Upon her death in 1999, the Ruth Mott Foundation was established to continue her philanthropic endeavors.
The Ruth Mott Foundation’s mission is to advocate, stimulate and support community vitality in its home community of Flint, MI. It accomplishes this mission by its grantmaking in Genesee County and programs at Applewood estate. The Ruth Mott Foundation plays an active role in civic engagement in Flint, providing support for new solutions to some of our community's most challenging issues.
The foundation supports the arts for their inherent value in deepening and enriching the quality of our lives, and in their capacity to enhance our awareness and understanding of one another, advance important social, humanistic, and educational goals, and promote cultural diversity and democracy. In its beautification funding, the Ruth Mott Foundation seeks to engage the community in beautifying the environment, ranging from the creation of public art and architectural excellence to watershed enhancement, tree planting, community gardening, and removal of weeds, trash and blight. The Ruth Mott Foundation supports health promotion, which creates the conditions and reinforces the behaviors necessary to achieve good health and are particularly interested in projects that foster healthy sexuality, promote active living, and support a healthy food system.
The Mott residence, known as Applewood, was built in 1916 as a family farm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house and grounds encompass approximately 30 acres, 18 extensively landscaped. The grounds are comprised of perennial, rose and demonstration gardens, a 75-tree orchard with 25 varieties of heritage apples, and a gatehouse that houses the Mott archives.
The foundation maintains Applewood as a place for inspiration and renewal in the heart of Flint. Recognizing its special responsibility to preserve and share this unique community asset, the foundation operates Applewood to demonstrate and support its mission, vision, values and programs. Through convenings, festivals, and community outreach, Applewood supports the Foundation’s efforts in arts, beautification, health promotion, and civic engagement.
For more information on the Ruth Mott Foundation, visit their website www.ruthmottfoundation.org.