More than 130 volunteers from AkzoNobel, Leaders of the Future and residents from around Oakland County came together in Pontiac, Mich., recently for Perfect the Parks, a program to clean up, beautify and update equipment at four parks across the city―Aaron Perry, Rotary, Murphy and Cherrylawn.

This is the first community project in Pontiac funded by AkzoNobel's Human Cities initiative following the company's announcement in December 2016 that it was giving a $100,000 grant to Leaders of the Future to support its efforts to help make Pontiac residents' lives more livable and inspiring by funding community projects and providing scholarships for participating students.

"Through the Human Cities initiative at AkzoNobel, we help to energize and rejuvenate urban centers around the world,” ," says Michelle Richards, AkzoNobel site manager in Pontiac and Leaders of the Future board member. “There is great synergy with the Leaders of the Future, which is working to do exactly that in Pontiac. AkzoNobel has had a presence in Pontiac dating back to 1902, and while we've experienced some great times at the height of the automotive industry, the city needs help now. We are excited to partner with Leaders to take a proactive role in bringing our city back.”

Students from Leaders of the Future and employees from AkzoNobel reportedly worked alongside each other, cleaning, landscaping and updating equipment at each park. Meanwhile, a new mural was installed at Aaron Perry Park by Detroit artist Anthony Lee, who designed the 4 ft. by 8 ft. mural in Diego Rivera style to create an artistic representation of Pontiac residents who live near and love the park. A new artistic sign will also welcome visitors to Murphy Park, with letters in the word Pontiac painted in an automotive motif to pay homage to the city's rich automotive history.

"With Perfect the Parks, we are working together to improve our parks and make them more enjoyable for residents, but it's only the beginning," said Anders Engell,  Leaders of the Future co-founder and CEO. "Over the coming months, with the support from AkzoNobel, we will plant a new orchard, build an apiary, convert unused space into a community backyard, create a new city garden and more. It's going to be a very productive summer, and we all look forward to how our combined efforts will benefit the city."

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