The Download Archive

The Download

August 28, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Back to School: Creating More Pathways to Potential

This week closes out the summer for Michigan students, as those who haven’t already headed back to class will next Tuesday. As CMF has reported, this school year we will see some changes in our Michigan classrooms with an expansion of the Pathways to Potential program.

Pathways to Potential, created by the state and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in 2012 after studying the Kent School Services Network supported by several CMF members, places success coaches in schools to work one-on-one with families to identify potential issues or barriers and connect them to necessary services.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently hosted back to school events with Pathways to Potential and other programs to get families ready for a new school year.

This year, we will see coaches in more Michigan schools, as the state budget has allocated $4.9 million in funding to expand the program into more schools. The program is currently in 251 Michigan schools in 34 counties around the state.

The program focuses on attendance, education, health, safety and self-sufficiency and is aimed at reducing barriers that may result in truancy or chronic absenteeism for students.

As CMF has reported, the most recent data shows Michigan has a 27.8 percent chronic absenteeism rate.

Chronic absenteeism is often the result of issues the child may be facing at home, such as lack of transportation, clean clothes, school uniforms, an alarm clock, or perhaps they’re working to help support their family, they have medical or health needs, or are facing homelessness.

That’s where the program’s success coaches can meet with families, identify where they require more support or services and provide necessary assistance.

Over the summer, MDHHS held a briefing for CMF members and the Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) to share how the program has grown and what it means for our Michigan students and their families.

Highlights include:

  • The program can link families with a wide range of services and support, including access to health care, healthy foods, free or reduced lunch programs, employment opportunities, child care access, adult education and transportation.

  • Success coaches are placed at schools with higher numbers of families who receive state assistance.

  • There are also “community schools” where the success coach provides resources for an entire school, not just those receiving state benefits. There are about 24 Michigan schools involved in Pathway’s Community School Model.

  • MDHHS says last school year the program led to more than 194,000 contacts, referrals, resources and follow-ups with families.

At the briefing, MDHHS shared an evaluation of the program that was conducted by The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, the highlights include:

  • The top three reasons students said they missed or were late to school were health issues, transportation and a lack of an alarm clock or oversleeping.

  • After participating in the program almost 86 percent of parents said their child was no longer “missing things he or she needed to attend school,” including clothes, food, transportation, etc.

  • There’s increased satisfaction from teachers and parents about the Pathway schools doing “very well” connecting families to resources and services.

MDHHS shared its 2018 “metrics for success” for the program which include reducing chronic absenteeism by 20 percent, decreasing grade repeats by 15 percent, decreasing the dropout rate by 10 percent and increasing the graduation rate by 20 percent.

Want more?

Find out if Pathways to Potential is currently in one of your schools.

Join CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group for Moving the Needle on Chronic Absenteeism at CMF’s 45th annual conference, Our Common Future, October 25-27 in Detroit.

Save the date for a day-long Chronic Absenteeism Summit happening on November 6 in Lansing with Michigan funders, legislators and education leaders. We’ll share registration information soon!






Housing Is Where the Cost Burden Is

In Michigan, home values have gone up 7.4 percent over the past year and Zillow projects that number could rise as much as 3.6 percent within the next year.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s data shows that an individual would need to make more than $16 an hour in a full-time position to afford a two-bedroom rental home in Michigan. That means someone earning minimum wage would need to work 73 hours in one week to afford such a rental.

This isn’t just a budget crunch facing millennials wanting to live in urban areas, Michigan Association of United Ways’ ALICE Report shows over the past several years, there’s been a 14 percent increase in basic housing costs for Michigan’s “working poor families,” those who aren’t eligible for assistance but still can’t afford the basics.

The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) recently shared a breakdown of costs Michigan families are facing, with housing accounting for 39 percent of a single person’s wages, 23 percent for a single parent and 30 percent for a two-parent family where one parent is working.

How can we ensure our communities are livable, with safe and attainable housing for working individuals and families? 

Earlier this month, MLive reported how Ann Arbor may be getting a “solar-powered, mixed-income cottage community,” where 40 percent of the units will be affordable housing units.

The Detroit News reported earlier this summer plans are in the works for 700 affordable housing units in downtown Detroit, along with plans for an affordable housing development for seniors.

In Grand Rapids, a dozen targeted strategies for affordable housing are under consideration by city officials.

As MLive reports, the city launched a Housing Advisory Committee to come up with solutions to affordable housing in Grand Rapids, where downtown housing can’t be built fast enough and neighborhood revitalization is transforming the city’s west side.

Highlights of the committee’s potential solutions via MLive’s article includes:

  • Expanding homebuyer incentive programs: Instead of a program for a first-time homebuyer or low-income resident in a certain neighborhood, it could be expanded citywide, providing down payment assistance to more residents.

  • Develop a program that includes requirements for tax incentives for affordable housing: MLive shares that, “The city could develop a policy or program – perhaps with affordable housing prerequisites for local tax incentives – that would ultimately lead to a neighborhood housing supply affordable to people of different incomes.” This would incentivize creating affordable housing and help address issues of gentrification, ensuring neighborhoods are affordable for low-income residents as well.

  • Affordable Housing Community Fund: Grand Rapids’ city budget now includes $1 million for a new fund, (intended to grow to $10 million) that will provide incentives and assistance for homebuyers and housing and rental developers.

  • Reduce fee for low-income rental property owners: Grand Rapids could lower the rental property owner’s payment in lieu of taxes fee, (which rental housing serving low-income residents is eligible for), from 4 percent to one percent and then ask them to contribute and help grow the Affordable Housing Community Fund.

Strategies around policy shifts and program changes that could be more inclusive for residents and unlock new incentives for affordable housing could be examined as models in communities across Michigan.

As we have seen with CMF members and funders across the country, impact investing is another tool funders can use to create pathways to affordable housing.

As CMF reported in June, affordable housing is a growing area of interest and demand for foundations looking to leverage their endowed assets towards their mission through mission-related investments. Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative, provides CMF members with the opportunity to invest in affordable housing, targeted small business lending and civic infrastructure as mission-related investments in their endowment portfolios. The Michigan Collaborative, managed by Community Capital Management (CCM), provides foundations with the opportunity to invest in targeted fixed income investments in specific geographical areas in Michigan through CCM’s publicly traded mutual fund, the CRA Fund. 

A similar model in Minnesota, launched with counsel from CMF, has led to a $20 million fixed income bond fund focused on local affordable housing.

Want more?

Check out The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s data.

Read MLive’s full article with Grand Rapids’ 12 Affordable Housing Strategies.

Learn more about Investing for Impact: The Michigan Collaborative. Questions? Please contact Debbie McKeon, senior vice president, member services.






An Inside Look at Detroit’s 139 Square Miles

In October, CMF members and foundations and partners from across the country will gather in Detroit, where we will explore the history of Detroit, its challenges, successes, topics of equity, economic development and a breadth of possibilities for our communities at Our Common Future conference.

In the spirit of Our Common Future: Building Tomorrow Together, we’re taking a look at Detroit Future City’s new report, 139 Square Miles, funded by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation which is aimed at continuing the conversation about equitable, inclusive strategies as a fundamental element of  continuing to move Detroit forward in the future.

What we learned about Detroit from the report:

  • Detroit is larger in square miles, 139 to be exact, than most other major cities but still lags in population.

  • Detroit was the 18th largest city in the U.S. in 2010, as the population decline has placed it at the 23rd largest city in the country.

  • 25 percent of Detroit households don’t have access to a vehicle. The QLine, MoGo Bike Share (supported by philanthropy) and bus routes are all aimed at providing better access to transportation.

  • Crime, including violent crime, has been decreasing since 2011.

  • Detroit, once in the dark without working streetlights, is now the largest city in the country that has 100 percent LED public lighting.

What we learned about Detroiters from the report:

  • Detroit is comprised of 80 percent African American residents, 9 percent white residents, 8 percent Hispanic residents and 1 percent Asian residents.

  • Despite the population decline in the city, the number of Hispanic and white residents has been increasing.

  • There are more than 37,000 foreign-born residents from Mexico, Bangladesh, Yemen and Iraq.

  • Residents in the 25 to 34-year-old age group has grown by almost 10,000 people since 2011, demonstrating the Millennial appeal of urban living.

What we learned about Detroit’s health, education and economy from the report:

  • Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has a 78 percent graduation rate, with 41 percent of graduates attending college. An improvement from 2007 when the district was only graduating 58 percent of students within four years.

  • Detroit’s poverty rate remains high at 40 percent, with 57 percent of children living in poverty and 20 percent of seniors in poverty. The report shares that 53 percent of Detroiters live in concentrated poverty areas, where the area has a poverty rate of 40 percent or more.

  • Detroit’s median income has been on the decline, with nearly one-third of households making less than $15,000 a year. Since 2010, African American residents have experienced a 17 percent decline in median income, white residents have seen an 8 percent drop.

  • The rates for cancer, asthma, diabetes, infant mortality and HIV infections are higher in Detroit than in the state or in the U.S., and Detroiters face challenges in access to preventative and primary care.

  • Detroit is experiencing job growth, as it now has 30 jobs per 100 residents, an improvement from 25 jobs per 100 residents in 2010. The city still needs to grow the job market to catch up to other U.S. cities.

  • The largest increase in jobs has occurred in those that pay more than $40,000 per year, the report shares that they’re concentrated on Woodward Avenue corridor and Midtown, two areas that public-private partnerships have been working to revitalize.

  • While there’s more than 24 square miles of vacant land in Detroit, the report says that number doesn’t consider lots which have been transformed for urban agriculture or green infrastructure. Both models are being supported by CMF members to address green space, access to healthy food and storm water runoff in the city.

We know CMF members are working deeply in many of these areas, leveraging public-private partnerships, impact investing and collaborating with fellow members in areas of health, education, transportation, economic development and beyond.

Beyond the report, we are sharing a few recent highlights of work that’s helping to transform Detroit from CMF members, including:

  • The Skillman Foundation, DTE Energy, General Motors and Quicken Loans, all CMF members, have been working together to invest in the Cody Rogue neighborhood through community outreach, education, career readiness and more.

  • A recent announcement highlighted how The Kresge Foundation, Michigan Health Endowment Fund and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation are supporting SisterFriends to provide expectant mothers access to services and information in an effort to reduce infant mortality and premature births.

  • The Michigan Women’s Foundation’s Enough SAID campaign has helped bring justice to victims of sexual assault as the campaign has raised much needed funding to test more than 11,000 forgotten rape kits in Detroit. The latest numbers from earlier this year show the efforts have led to at least 78 criminal convictions and active investigations for hundreds of suspects, with more to come.

The report closes on an optimistic note, grounded in action, “It will take some time to reverse a trend that is more than a half century long, but the data proves that Detroit is on its way.”

Want more?

Join your Michigan peers at Our Common Future conference, October 25-27 in Detroit to share successes, challenges and explore the opportunities for building a better tomorrow, together.

Read 139 Square Miles.

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