Flint, Michigan might only be familiar to you because of the water crisis that has been affecting that town for the lead contamination of their drinking water causing a major public health emergency. But somehow despite that, and many other crisis the town has undergone since the late sixties, it continues to have a thriving population of over 100,000. You might wonder how that could be? Well it might be in large part to a man named Phil Hagerman, who over 60 years ago, when he was just 5, was happily working in his father’s pharmacy. Since that tender young age Hagerman has not lived far from flint except when he went to University. Once he returned from school he partnered with his father on a medical enterprise that saw considerable success; Diplomat Pharmacy today is valued at over $400 million, and he turned that success for his family into success for the town he grew up in.
He takes abandoned buildings rich in history and brings them back to life. He invests in young people launching companies. He and his Foundation gave more than $15 million to 48 projects almost exclusively benefiting children and families in Flint or its Genessee County. Some think of him as the angel investor of Flint. “We know he could pack up and go anywhere,” said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, a clinical psychologist. “He could do what he does anyplace else and he has chosen to be here. That shows his commitment to Flint.”
He has helped create several successful businesses in the town and with people from the town and has no interest in talking about the money he has made. In fact he is happy to drive around in his minivan, no flashy car for Phil Hagerman, and he avoids the spotlights as much as possible. He emphasizes that he’s just one piece of what’s happening in town. The University of Michigan-Flint is growing. A culinary institute is opening soon. A restored theater is a point of pride. The water crisis continues to be a priority that requires bottled water in parts of the city, and ongoing care for affected children. And behind it all is a man who knows he has the money to make a difference and made the choice to do so.
That is why the story of Phil Hagerman is your Good News Story of the Day and you can find out more about him here.
Story and Image from Detroit Free Press.