Equity, COVID-19 & the Social Safety Net Part I

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 -
11:00am to 1:30pm EDT
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Part 1 of 2: From the Ground Up: Frontline Service Organizations

The content and takeaways from part 1 form the launching point for part 2 (Oct. 6). Although it is not required, it is recommended that you register and attend part 1 to participate in part 2. The recording for part 1 will be available for review if you are unable to attend the live event.

Government and philanthropy have answered the call in responding to the onset of COVID-19, rising to the challenge presented by what has become a multilayered health, economic and social crisis that has defined our new reality. This two-part series will explore the challenges frontline organizations face amid potential cliffs in housing, food, water and cash assistance as the wave of emergency funding dries up and safety net policies expire. These cliffs would threaten the ability for Michiganders to acquire basic needs such as housing, food, water and employment/cash. Our dialogue takes place in the context of a growing national call for racial justice, and looming uncertainties about both the resurgence of the virus and how the federal government will respond to meet the needs of Michigan's children and families. As philanthropic leaders take stock of the recent past and calibrate to be ready for what lies ahead, it is essential to build a collective strategy that centers on keeping children and families whole and empowered to shape a better future. How can we partner to meet these immediate challenges while building toward more equitable and sustainable systems designed to respond to today’s crisis?  

Part 1 features a diverse group of frontline workers who have served as pillars of their communities and connection points for Michiganders to access supports. Through individual presentations and moderated conversation, speakers will share the realities faced by people experiencing low income and how they have adapted to life under COVID-19. Speakers will include Carla Roberts, Fremont Area Community Foundation and Dr H. Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan among others.


Shephen Henderson, project executive, BridgeDetroit

Henderson is a native Detroiter who has nearly 30 years of journalism experience as a writer and editor, and a deep-rooted connection with the city that birthed him. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a two-time winner of both the Scripps Howard and ASNE national awards for opinion writing, Henderson has also won more than two dozen national awards for writing and editing. He was honored in 2014 as Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Henderson’s wide-ranging career includes stints at the Chicago Tribune, where he was part of the team that built ChicagoTribune.com, at the Knight Ridder Washington bureau, where he covered the five terms at the  U.S. Supreme Court, and at the Baltimore Sun, where his editorials won clemency in 2000 for a death row prisoner. Henderson also spent more than a decade at the Detroit Free Press, where he was the first African American to lead the paper’s editorial page and its first black Pulitzer winner. Henderson is also the founder of The Tuxedo Project, a literary arts and community center located in the home where Henderson’s family lived when he was born. He hosts a daily radio show on WDET 101.9FM, Detroit’s public radio station, and two weekly shows on Detroit Public Television.

H. Luke Shaefer, director of poverty solutions, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Luke Shaefer is the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a professor of social work. He is associate dean for research and policy engagement at the Ford School and serves as the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, presidential initiative at U-M that seeks to partner communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty.  Full Bio Here >>


There is no cost to participate, but registration is required.


September 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EDT


Programming: Stephen Arellano via email or call 517-335-4545
Registration: Denise Temple via email or call 616-850-2136

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