The Download Archive

The Download

May 1, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Partnering for Success

Several Michigan school districts will be the focus of a new, engaging cross-sector partnership model.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has been proactively working with 10 school districts to sign partnership agreements that would affect 38 Michigan schools that were facing potential closure due to low academice performance. The agreements will be aimed at setting the schools on a new course for academic success and avoid closure.

On Thursday, The Detroit Free Press reported the Detroit Board of Education was the latest to sign a partnership with MDE, saving 24 Detroit schools at risk of closure.

Under the agreement, the 24 Detroit-area schools must share information on areas that affect academic success including poverty, attendance, absenteeism, crime and staff turnover by the end of June.

MDE says Kalamazoo, Muskegon Heights, East Detroit and Bridgeport/Spaulding have all signed partnership agreements. The MDE is working on agreements with Benton Harbor, Saginaw, River Rouge and Pontiac, all of which are expected to be finalized soon.

The MDE announced that the partnership agreements will foster engaging and targeted partnerships between the 10 districts and MDE, state and local social services, education organizations, business and community leaders, parents and foundations.

The MDE says with multiple partners “committing to be actively engaged, work will ensue to identify a plan of supports and interventions that will support student outcomes.”

The partnership agreements will primarily focus on academic outcomes but also address other issues that affect academic success including health, nutrition, behavior and social and emotional issues.

The partnership agreements will give the schools additional time to improve academic performance, as the MDE says the schools need opportunities to be successful under the new model.

MDE says each partnership district will be given a liaison to help facilitate meetings and discussions and ensure the district is receiving the support it needs from its network of partners.

We will likely learn more about the specifics of the various partnership agreements soon. MDE told MLive each agreement is “unique and negotiated separately,” and the department plans to make them public once they’re finalized.

There are efforts underway this week to engage and educate community members on the new partnership model. MLive reports that while there aren't any Grand Rapids-area schools on the closure list, the Kent Intermediate School District and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation are hosting a regional meeting tonight to share information on the state’s partnership model with community members, “in case schools are impacted in the future.”

A meeting is also scheduled for tonight in Muskegon Heights to share an outline of the district’s partnership agreement with parents and community members.

CMF will provide updates on opportunities and information for foundations on the partnership agreements as they materialize in the coming months.

Want more?

Connect with CMF's P-20 Affinity Group.

Read more from MDE.






Addressing Implicit Bias

Implicit bias exists in every community, it’s a bias or judgment a person is unaware they possess, rooted in social attitudes or stereotypes. How can we uproot implicit bias and advance racial equity?

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is supporting a program for the city of Grand Rapids to address implicit bias and racial disparities and advance racial equity.

The Grand Rapids Equity Initiative is focused on creating targeted interventions for short and long-term community impact, creating a digital racial equity dashboard to provide transparent data to the community, and increasing job creation in low-income and/or diverse neighborhoods to help reduce racial disparities in the city. 

Grand Rapids is working to address implicit bias within the community, as a report the city commissioned uncovered evidence of implicit bias within the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD).

The city asked for a review of police traffic stop data to see if there was evidence of implicit bias, as part of its 12-point plan to improve police relations in the community.

The traffic stop study findings included:

  • In 2015, more than 40 percent of the drivers who were stopped by police were African American

  • African American drivers were twice as likely to be stopped by police and had higher odds of being pulled over in certain areas of the city

  • Hispanic drivers were 1.3 times more likely to be stopped by police and had higher odds of being pulled over in certain areas of the city

The study showed that African American drivers were “over searched” when stopped by police, compared to white drivers. The study says there's no evidence to warrant the increased searches of African American drivers. 

The data shows:

  • In probable cause police searches, more white drivers than African American drivers were found with illegal items

  • In consented police searches, the percentage of drivers found with illegal items was about the same for white and African American drivers

This data-driven evidence of implicit bias is aimed at helping catalyze action plans for change, spotlighting specific areas where city workers and community leaders can develop solutions.

Recommendations for the city include:

  • Continued community and police engagement to discuss police relations

  • Survey the community on a regular basis to get ongoing and timely feedback

  • Share the actions that were taken as a result of the traffic stop study with the community within six months

Before the study was completed, GRPD implemented implicit bias training, added body cameras to the force and changed its hiring practices, leading the department to hire its most diverse recruiting class in Grand Rapids history.

As Grand Rapids faces challenges in overcoming implicit bias, they’re not alone. However, the city’s path to create authentic community engagement and community-driven action plans are applicable to all our communities as we seek to make them more equitable.

Want more?

Learn more about the Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative.

Check out the traffic stop study.






Unlocking Capital for Good

Impact investing opportunities and funding commitments continue to emerge across the state and the country.

Last week a new impact investing marketplace launched to link investors with social enterprises. A couple weeks ago, CMF shared how the Ford Foundation is committing $1 billion of its endowment to impact investing.

Impact investing is an emerging practice, engaging CMF members across the state in leveraging capital for social impact.

As we tackle issues such as affordable housing, economic development, access to health care and transportation and beyond, how can we advance impact investing to effectively address them?

We’re getting an inside look at what the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) says is an “underutilized tool” that could catalyze impact investments, bringing investors to the table who otherwise may not be able to be involved in such a project.

The Power of Guarantees in Impact Investing, a new study funded in part by The Kresge Foundation, provides insights and case studies as to how a guarantee (a credit enhancement tool) can be used by funders to provide a different financing structure to unlock and leverage capital in impact investments.

How it works

A guarantee fills the gaps where small businesses, nonprofits or other investees don’t meet lending criteria and reduces risks for investors, potentially opening the door for new partners. A guarantee is where money is set aside, or an agreement that money would be provided, in the event that the investor can’t repay the lender.

Examples of guarantees in action include:

  • Guarantees are more commonly used in affordable housing and economic development investments.

  • The Kresge Foundation provided a guarantee to support co-lending among three Community Development Financial Institution Funds (CDFIs) to expand financing for health care centers in underserved areas.

    • The foundation’s $5 million guarantee leveraged $132 million in investments in affordable health care centers in underserved communities.

    • To-date this project has led to health care centers serving more than 230,000 patients per year, most of whom are low-income.

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) provided a guarantee to a community revitalization project that provided affordable, low-interest loans for people to buy, refinance or renovate a home in a distressed neighborhood.

    • AECF’s $1 million guarantee helped to leverage $40 million in investments.

    • The project led to 352 loans being given and has led to stabilized neighborhoods and increased property values.

These two real-life examples demonstrate how a guarantee can unlock much larger investments, paving the way for more cross-sector collaborations, further advance the practice of impact investing and increase a project’s impact.

The report notes, “Greater use of this tool in new sectors and at greater scale has significant potential to encourage more risk-averse investors to engage in impact investing.”

Can guarantees be scaled to size? The data shows:

  • The median size of a guarantee is $2 million

  • “Nearly 80 percent of the guarantees in the studied database” are $5 million or less and 80 percent of the projects are $50 million or less.

  • 65 percent of the guarantees examined in the study were unfunded

While affordable housing may be the most common area where a guarantee is used, there's room for growth in areas that include energy efficiency, health care, food and removing financing barriers for small businesses.

Want more?

Read The Power of Guarantees in Impact Investing

Want to learn about CMF’s member-driven Impact Investing Committee? Please contact Debbie McKeon.

Check out what some CMF are doing with impact investing work






Ford Motor Company Fund and Michigan Women’s Foundation collaborate on new initiative to support women entrepreneurs

Content excerpted from a Ford Motor Company Fund press release. Read the full release here.

The Ford Motor Company Fund and Michigan Women’s Foundation (MWF) announced their new collaborative initiative, Ford Empower-HER.

The program will provide educational opportunities, technical assistance and financial resources to support women entrepreneurs.

“Ford Empower-HER will inspire women with the business savvy to make a profit and the social awareness to make a positive impact on their community at the same time,” Pamela Alexander, community development director, Ford Motor Company Fund said.

Current and aspiring entrepreneurs can take part in workshops to learn the basics of accounting, marketing, legal and how to take a socially conscious idea and create a sustainable business.

“Our goal is to provide the education, capital and mentorship women need to start and grow sustainable businesses,” Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO, MWF said.

Ford Empower-HER will feature a business plan competition with a total of $50,000 in impact investments awarded to the winners based on community impact in categories such as mobility, women’s issues, veterans or the homeless.

Check out one of the investments the Michigan Women's Foundation has made in a female-owned business.

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