April 15, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

Data Shows How New MI Voting Policies Could Impact Voter Turnout

A new report by Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project shows the impact of various states’ voting policies on voter turnout.

Two policies highlighted in the report, same day voter registration and automatic voter registration, are being implemented in Michigan this year.

The report examines voter turnout for the 2018 midterm elections. Nationally, voter turnout was 50.3 percent, the highest turnout for a midterm in more than a century.

“The November midterm election shattered records for voter turnout,” Brian Miller, executive director at Nonprofit VOTE said. “But beneath the record-setting turnout is a vast gap in turnout between states that speaks volumes about the impact state policies play in voter turnout.” 

Report Highlights:

  • Seven of the top 10 states with the highest voter turnout offer same day voter registration.

  • States that offer same day registration had turnout rates 7 percentage points higher than states that didn’t offer it.

  • Eight of the 10 states with the lowest voter turnout have a voter registration deadline four weeks before an election.

  • States that started automatically registering voters reported an increase of four times more registered voters compared to states that don’t have such a policy.

In Michigan, our voter turnout was 58 percent for the midterm, earning us a spot in the top 10 states in the country with the highest voter turnout.

However, Michigan is the only state in the top 10 for voter turnout that at the time of the midterm had a four-week voter registration deadline in place and did not offer same day or automatic registration.

That will all change for future elections in Michigan since voters approved Proposal 3 in November 2018.

As a result, Michigan now allows voters to register to vote in person at any time with proof of residency and they will be automatically registered to vote when obtaining a driver’s license or a personal ID card (unless the person declines).

As CMF shared last October, CMF’s Board of Trustees voted to support the ballot proposal to expand voter access at the recommendation of CMF’s Public Policy Committee in keeping with CMF’s goals of promoting good governance and equitable civic engagement opportunities for all Michiganders. 

While Michigan residents turned out in high numbers for the 2018 midterm without these policies in place, according to the research, these new policies will likely only bolster our state’s election turnout.

According to the report, research shows that when a state adopts same day registration it will see an increase in voter turnout by three to seven points. The report says the impact of same day registration is higher among young voters ages 18-35.

Oregon, which was the first state to implement automatic voter registration in 2016, is the only state where data is currently available about its potential impact. Of the 272,000 automatically registered voters, approximately 36 percent of them voted.

This year, Michigan will implement both policies, joining 16 other states and D.C. in automatic voter registration and 17 other states and D.C. in same day voter registration.

Want more?

Read the full report.






A Look at the Flint Kids Fund 3 Years Later

Next month marks three years since the Community Foundation for Greater Flint (CFGF) established the Foundation for Flint as a supporting organization to serve the long-term health and development needs of Flint children and their families impacted by the water crisis through the Flint Kids Fund.

CFGF is sharing an impact report on its work through the fund, a water funds transparency report and what the foundation has learned through this evolving work.

“We’ve learned nothing philanthropy can do alone is as powerful as what it can do if it’s willing to let go of control, to follow as residents lead and take lessons from those who live the challenges day in and day out,” Isaiah Oliver, president and CEO of CFGF told CMF.

Oliver said their grant strategy offers a long-term response through sustained and thoughtful interventions focused on four areas: high quality early childhood education; healthy food and nutrition; access to a medical home and child health team; and family, social and emotional supports.

“As we began to develop our grantmaking strategy, we were delightfully surprised by the innovative grant proposals we were receiving from local organizations,” Oliver said. “A pop-up pre-school, mental health services on wheels and fresh vegetable boxes delivered to the homes are only a few examples.”

In the first year alone the Flint Kids Fund raised $17 million from nearly 15,000 donors from every U.S. state and 13 countries around the globe.

Highlights from CFGF’s reports:

  • Between November 2015 and December 2018, the community foundation and Foundation for Flint received $39.2 million in funds and grants.

  • At least nine CMF members have provided grants in a range of topic areas including building the city’s public health capacity, lead prevention, access to healthy food, independent water testing, resident engagement, the Flint Promise Scholarship and support for early childhood education.

  • Several grantees are highlighted in the report, one of which is the Flint Development Center. The Flint Kids Fund supports programming at the center’s new digital library and literacy lab which serves more than 100 children and their families.

“Prior to the water crisis, Flint children already faced significant adverse childhood experiences associated with poverty and racial disparities resulting from decades of economic decline,” Oliver said. “Today, foundation investments in Flint are helping our children access community-based systems that optimize learning, school achievement, health and development, social skills and confidence. Foundation support has been critical in providing interventions that support positive outcomes for Flint children.”

The Flint Kids Impact Report shares that the goal is to seek $50 million in private support over the next decade to address the challenges created by the water crisis and the “40 years of serious, community-wide economic decline.”

Oliver said the community foundation continues to work with evaluators to better understand the impact of grantmaking investments from the Flint Kids Fund.

“Moving from crisis toward recovery is hard because it isn’t simply about replacing lead serving lines and celebrating the day Flint residents can drink from the tap,” Oliver said. “We have to be intentional about jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value, dismantling systems of inequity and building trust across our community.”

Want more?

Check out the Flint Kids Fund Impact Report.

View the Water Funds Transparency Report.

Learn more about CFGF’s work.






U.S. Census Director Meets with MI Philanthropy

The countdown to Census 2020 is now less than a year away and the U.S. Census Bureau is ramping up operations.

In preparation for efforts to ensure a fair and accurate count, Dr. Steven Dillingham, the newly appointed director of the U.S. Census Bureau made a stop in Detroit to meet with key stakeholders in the Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign (NPCC).

The statewide campaign is led by the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) in partnership with CMF and is supported by more than 40 CMF members. It launched in 2017 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF).

The campaign framework leverages the community leadership and grantmaking expertise of community foundations, United Ways and other community-based organizations as regional hubs connecting the state level activities with the grassroots organizations that are closest to the people who are hardest to count. 

There are 13 regional hubs in total, covering every region of our state; they will receive mini-grants to grant to grassroots organizations doing on-the-ground outreach efforts. Eleven CMF member community foundations are serving or partnering as regional hubs through the NPCC in their area.

While in Detroit, Dillingham met with the NPCC, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (which is serving as one of the largest census hubs in the state through the NPCC), WKKF, CMF, MNA, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, lawmakers and other key stakeholders.

“We appreciate the interest in Michigan by the director and staff from the Chicago census office,” Mariam Noland, president, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan said. “Their visit signifies how important it is to communicate about the impact of the census and the importance of participation. We’re encouraged by the coordinated and growing efforts of nonprofits, cities, and regular people across the region and the state.”

 “The Census Bureau understands they need strong partners to get a strong count, so he was there to introduce himself and to talk about the operations,” Joan Gustafson, external affairs officer for MNA said. “It was a show of support for the census. We want the census to be successful and we want to work together. We said, ‘we’re here, we’re ready, we’re ready to work, this is very important to us’ and thanked him for coming and acknowledging all the work we’ve been doing.”

Dillingham said the bureau is working on hiring census workers, preparing for messaging and providing clarity around questions on the census form.

The director stressed that the census is “easy, safe and important.” In response to concerns about privacy, the Census Bureau shares that census responses are secure and the law is clear - no personal information can be shared.

The bureau provided several resources to the NPCC that address these and other barriers facing participation, including the internet-first model.

The bureau shared that households will not receive a form in the mail but instead will receive a mailing that provides directions on how they can complete the census form.

Census Invitations:

  • Every household will have the option of responding online, by mail or by phone.

  • 95 percent of households will receive an invitation in the mail to complete the census.

  • About 5 percent of households will receive their census invitation in person from a census taker.

  • The first wave of invitations to participate will go out starting March 12, 2020.  

Dillingham discussed how important messaging and outreach will be to ensure participation in the census, particularly in hard to count communities.

As CMF has reported, the census hubs, through the NPCC, are rolling out their plans for grant applications for organizations that serve hard to count communities. Once selected, those grantees (grass roots organizations) will share messaging and do on the ground outreach.

Gustafson said the NPCC will focus on customized messaging and leverage the existing messaging and resources from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The messaging and communications are so critical now as the get out the count plans and activities are put into place and ready to go next year,” Gustafson said. “We want to make sure we are working very closely with the Census Bureau. They’ve spent a lot of time and research in developing these materials and developing messaging, and to the extent we can use that, we will.”

At this time, there’s no word on whether the citizenship question will be included on the form, but Dillingham told the NPCC the bureau is prepared to move forward with or without the question, once that’s determined by the courts.

Want more?

Connect with the Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign.








Personal connection to brain tumor treatment leads Cook Family Foundation to establish a research fund

Content excerpted and adapted from a foundation blog. Read the blog.

 The Cook Family Foundation has established the Cook Family Brain Tumor Research Fund to help the University of Michigan enhance its work in treating patients with brain tumors.

The gift came about after Tom Cook, executive director of the foundation was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2018. Cook was treated by the neurosurgery team at Michigan Medicine and underwent brain surgery.

“We have long been fans of the University of Michigan,” Cook said. “But after this experience we are even bigger advocates and supporters. We are fortunate to have world class medical research and care here in our state.”

 The Cook Family Brain Tumor Research Fund will support the research of the neurosurgery team in the use of novel tumor imaging to improve surgical outcomes.

Cook’s tumor was discovered using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). But at U of M, more advanced forms of imaging are being explored and used not only for diagnosis, but also to guide the surgeon during surgery. The research team is at the cutting edge of developing and using new technology to better care for brain tumor patients.

The team recently developed a new technology called stimulated Raman histology (SRH). Now in use at leading cancer centers across the United States, SRH is an imaging method that provides microscopic images of tumor cells in the operating room. SRH allows surgeons to understand what type of tumor they are operating on and reveals the margins of the tumor that would otherwise be invisible. To simplify the interpretation of SRH images, the team has developed artificial intelligence-based methods for diagnosing and detecting brain tumors.

 “I was fortunate that my tumor was benign and could be removed,” Cook said. “Most brain tumor patients face more serious challenges. I am pleased that we can help Michigan Medicine extend and improve its care to them."

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