April 16, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

MI Ranks 6th in U.S. for Population of Homeless Students

Poverty Solutions at The University of Michigan has released a policy brief: A Snapshot of Homelessness and Housing Instability in Michigan Schools, which shows Michigan ranks 6th in the U.S. for the largest population of homeless youth.

This data, in combination with a new state analysis by Poverty Solutions shows the impact of homelessness on student achievement.

“These data show a much deeper level of poverty than has previously been recognized in Michigan and it is impacting rural, suburban and urban areas alike,” Jennifer Erb-Downward, senior research associate with U-M’s Poverty Solutions initiative said. “Families across our state do not have a stable place to call home. We need to understand why and what can be done in local communities to turn this trend around. No child should ever have to be homeless.”

Highlights of the data from the policy brief and state analysis:

  • Only 55 percent of homeless high schoolers in Michigan graduated in four years. That’s compared to 68 percent of economically disadvantaged students. The average graduation rate in Michigan is 80 percent.

  • While dropout rates are on the decline for economically disadvantaged students and all other students, they have increased for homeless students.

  • Homelessness is a statewide issue in rural, suburban and urban areas. About 94 percent of Michigan’s Local Education Authorities (LEAs) reported students struggling with homelessness and housing instability.

  • Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit Public School Districts reported the highest number of homeless students.

  • While numbers may be higher in urban areas, the largest proportions of homeless students were located in small towns and rural areas. For instance, in Berrien Springs Public Schools they have half the number of homeless students of an urban area but proportionally, 11 percent of their students are homeless.

  • Some of the highest rates of student homelessness were found in our smallest school districts. A dozen school districts which serve fewer than 1,400 students reported that anywhere from 14 to 25 percent of their students experienced homelessness during the school year.

  • Homeless students are more likely to transfer schools, have long commutes, struggle with poor health and be chronically absent.

Recommendations from Poverty Solutions:

  • Increase access to data on homelessness on the local level to inform policymakers, communities and schools.

  • Identify and address potential undercounts of homeless students to ensure accurate data.

  • Build awareness and collaboration across governmental agencies, from housing to education.

  • Support the development of community partnerships with local schools that may help fill the gaps for those struggling with housing instability.

The report calls for policies and actions that can support children and their families, stating in part, “It is also important that policies implemented to address homelessness be flexible, so they can be tailored to the local context of every region of the state.”

In conjunction with the brief and state analysis, Poverty Solutions at U-M has also developed a child homelessness map to provide a county-by-county snapshot of the data.

Poverty Solutions provided data and context around their work at the statewide Chronic Absenteeism Summit last fall, hosted by the P-20 Education Affinity Group, CMF, OFL and CMF members The Skillman Foundation and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. Poverty Solutions continues to inform the P-20 Education Affinity Group.

A few highlights of CMF members working in homelessness and housing issues around the state:

  • Earlier this month Sanilac County Community Foundation hosted a Student vs. Homelessness match day with their Youth Advisory Council (YAC), raising $40,000 for Sanilac County Rescue Mission.

  • The Midland Daily News reported that the Dow Chemical Co. Foundation and the Midland Area Community Foundation, both CMF members, helped to fund a study on housing affordability in the Midland area, which revealed a housing burden on low-income renters.

  • CMF members, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and Northwood Foundation are supporters of Out, Safe, Proud (OSP), an organization focusing on ending homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Kalamazoo County.

Want more?

Read Poverty Solutions’ policy brief: A Snapshot of Homelessness and Housing Instability in Michigan Schools.

Check out the state analysis, Falling Through the Cracks: Graduation and Dropout Rates among Michigan’s Homeless High School Students.

View your county on the Child Homelessness in Michigan map.

Want to get engaged with other CMF members that focus on this and other education related issues? Connect with CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group.






“I Am Evidence” Documentary Explores Untested Rape Kits in Detroit and U.S.

Tonight, a documentary which explores the backlog of untested rape kits in the U.S., including those that were discovered in Detroit, makes its world premiere on HBO.

The documentary, “I Am Evidence,” produced by actress Mariska Hargitay of NBC’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit made its Detroit debut over the weekend at the Freep Film Festival.

The film synopsis shares that it “illuminates how the system has impeded justice while also highlighting those who are leading the charge to work through the backlog, among them Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy.”

Worthy’s office was able to comb through the backlog through the creation and support of Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit). The campaign was formed after the discovery of more than 11,000 untested rape kits in a Detroit Police Department storage unit in 2009. The campaign was created by the Michigan Women’s Foundation (MWF), to provide funding for the testing, in collaboration with Worthy’s office and the Detroit Crime Commission.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the work of Enough SAID has led to the convictions of 130 rapists, spurred 270 active investigations and led to the identification of more than 800 serial sex offenders.

The film shows the magnitude of this issue nationwide, with more than 200,000 untested rape kits in the U.S.

“We are always thrilled when the spotlight is shone on the issue, particularly since this is a national dilemma and many jurisdictions are not as far along in solving it as we are in Detroit,” Peg Tallet, chief operating officer of MWF told CMF.

The Enough SAID campaign can provide learning opportunities for other communities facing this issue.

“Enough SAID remains a unique effort. We do not know of other public-private partnerships to address this issue across the nation,” Tallet told CMF. “Our strategy was to draw attention to the problem, attract private sector support and use it to leverage government support. This is, plain and simple, failure of government. Our strategy worked, with $2 million of private sector donations (from all 50 states, 18 foreign countries and U.S. service persons deployed around the world) leveraging more than $10 million from the federal, state, county and city levels.”

The final untested rape kits in Detroit are now being tested, completing the campaign’s goal, but Tallet said the work continues.

“While funding the testing of the end of the backlogged kits is a critical milestone, Enough SAID will continue until all the cases have been investigated and the last of the perpetrators are prosecuted,” Tallet said.

You can watch the world premiere of “I Am Evidence” tonight on HBO at 8 pm.







The Impact of MI Arts and Culture Organizations

This week leaders from the arts and culture community will be in Lansing for Michigan Arts Advocacy Day. Creative Many Michigan, a statewide nonprofit supporting the creative sector which is supported by several CMF members, organized the day for arts advocates to meet with our lawmakers on the importance of supporting arts, culture and arts education in Michigan.

“Arts Advocacy Day is a time for the broad spectrum of artists, creative individuals and organizations to make their voices heard by decision-makers,” Jennifer Goulet, president and CEO of Creative Many Michigan said. “Creativity runs deep in Michigan and translates into big impact on our economy and communities. Our Creative State Michigan research proves that the creative industries — including arts and culture — are a significant driver in our state that make Michigan a great place to live, work, invest and explore. Investment is required for our creative culture to thrive.”  

Creative Many Michigan recently released its 2018 Creative State Michigan Nonprofit Report which details the economic impact of arts on tourism and jobs, the benefits of student engagement and connections to building vibrant communities.  

The report examined data from 410 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Michigan, which represent about 16 percent of the sector.

Highlights of the data:

  • The arts and culture nonprofit organizations contributed nearly $1.25 billion in annual direct expenditures in Michigan.

  • Arts and culture activities generated $1.3 billion in direct tourism dollars in Michigan in 2016.

  • About 4.1 million school children experienced arts and culture venues and programming, which is a 14 percent increase from the previous year.

  • The nonprofit organizations hosted more than 307,000 events, exhibitions, films, workshops and programming. Of these events, 76 percent of all visits were free for attendees.

  • In 2016, the arts and culture nonprofit organizations provided more than 25,000 jobs in Michigan.

  • More than 91,000 people were engaged with the nonprofit arts and culture organizations, from paid staff to volunteers.

“Michigan’s position as a global competitor depends on the investment in our arts, culture and creative industries — making Michigan a great place to live, work and explore,” the report states. “The creative sector must play a vital role in strategies for the future.”

Michigan Arts Advocacy Day is Wednesday, April 18, for those who are unable to attend you can also provide support as a partner, promoting the day on social media and to your networks.

Want more?

Read Creative Many Michigan’s 2018 Creative State Michigan Nonprofit Report.

Connect with CMF’s Arts and Culture Affinity Group.








PNC Bank funds year-round early childhood programming at The Henry Ford

Content excerpted from a press release. Read the full release.

PNC Bank, a CMF corporate member, will offer year-round early childhood programming at The Henry Ford museum in Detroit.

Under a new three-year, $210,000 sponsorship, PNC Bank will help The Henry Ford provide STEAM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) programming for preschool visitors to the museum.

PNC Bank will also provide more than 1,000 pre-K and Kindergarten students per year with complimentary field trips to The Henry Ford.

In addition to the $210,000 sponsorship by PNC Bank, the PNC Foundation has committed $108,000 to fund involvement in PNC Tinkering for Tots and field trips to The Henry Ford for 28 Detroit Public Schools preschool classes as part of PNC Grow Up Great, a $350 million, multi-year, bilingual initiative in early childhood education, to help primarily underserved children succeed in school and life.

Tinkering for Tots is a monthly hands-on program designed for preschoolers that incorporates STEAM learning. Each month is shaped by a different theme based on programming at Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village. The program includes how-to guides for parents, caregivers and educators for continued engagement.

"Tinkering for Tots was created to encourage creativity and a thirst for learning in preschool children," Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan said. "At PNC, we believe that empowering our youngest minds is the best investment a bank can make."

Learn more about PNC’s Grow Up Great Program.

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