April 5, 2021

Monday, April 5, 2021

Philanthropy Continues to Support Equitable Vaccine Distribution as Eligibility Expands

Vaccine eligibility has expanded for all Michiganders aged 16 and older. The state announced last week that Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination goal has increased from 50,000 to 100,000 shots per day.

According to the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, 2.85 million Michiganders have been vaccinated so far, that’s 35.2% of the state’s population. 

The Ford Field vaccination site officially opened and as of last week, over 13,000 residents have received a vaccine dose and the site is expected to distribute 335,000 doses in the next eight weeks.   

In downtown Grand Rapids, the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place administered its 100,000th shot Thursday. Organizers told local media that "they think they may be vaccinating more people than any other single location in the country," with an expected 42,000 doses last week alone.

We continue to highlight efforts led and in partnership with CMF members to increase access and education around the vaccine. CMF recently reported work supported by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Saginaw Community Foundation and Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

In Lansing, the Cristo Rey Community Center (CRCC) announced last week they will begin distributing vaccines to vulnerable community members with the support of the Dart Foundation, a CMF member.

CRCC is a nonprofit basic needs service center that provides access to food, medical care and counseling programs to the community of Lansing. The community center has a health center that provides several medical services including vaccinations. 

Cristo Rey is first offering vaccines to its current patients who are at high risk for severe illness or death due to COVID-19.

“Cristo Rey has tight relationships with the local nonprofit agencies that serve these vulnerable populations as well as its own similarly-situated patients at its existing medical clinic, making them uniquely positioned to help vaccinate many of those in need in our community,” Emily Matthews, executive director of the Dart Foundation told CMF. 

The grant from the Dart Foundation will go towards purchasing coolers and other equipment and to offset vaccination clinic staffing costs. 

“Ensuring universal access to the vaccines is essential in helping to achieve herd immunity against the virus and to safely reopening our community for work and for play. People living in underserved and disproportionately affected areas are facing increased challenges accessing vaccines due to limited resources and heightened access challenges such as transportation, language and technology barriers,” Matthews said.

Cristo Rey is one of 22 organizations to receive doses under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services pilot program. 

“Cristo Rey has a great reputation for delivering essential front-line services to those in need in our community and doing so on an extremely lean operating budget. Cristo Rey approached the Dart Foundation about their unique opportunity to apply for a competitive vaccine grant through the state. We responded quickly, obtaining support from our full board within a 4-hour period following Cristo Rey’s ask,” Matthews shared. 

According to Matthews, in addition to writing a letter of support for their grant with the state, the foundation’s partnership with the organization demonstrated trust-based philanthropy as the Dart Foundation made a significant commitment without ever seeing a written application and without a formal signed grant agreement in place.

“We view this program as a true partnership, and the foundation worked hard to remove as many barriers as possible to help ensure Cristo Rey is successful in this essential, mission-centric endeavor,” Matthews said. “We encourage other funders to consider supporting Cristo Rey or other organizations like Cristo Rey that are delivering high-quality front-line essential services using limited resources.”

Want more?

Learn more about the Cristo Rey Community Center’s vaccine distribution efforts. 

Join Michigan’s charitable sector leaders this Friday, April 9 for Michigan Responds: The Now, The Near and The Far Through COVID-19 and Beyond to discuss current needs and challenges our communities and nonprofits are facing. 




New Redistricting Coalition Works to Ensure Process is Inclusive of Community Voices

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) has created a new statewide coalition of nonprofit organizations to ensure their communities’ voices are heard in the redistricting process. 

Through the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting (MICRC) Initiative, MNA is mobilizing nonprofits to achieve fair and impartial district maps for Michigan, specifically to promote racial equity so the voices of communities are lifted up and included in the important decision-making that occurs at the local, state and federal levels.

This work is supported by philanthropy with initial funding from CMF members the Joyce Foundation and Ford Foundation. As a result, funding has already been deployed as mini grants to nonprofit organizations working on the front lines of this work. 

The goal of MICRC is to educate communities to be engaged with the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC). 

To ensure fair and equitable redistricting, Michigan voters approved the creation of the ICRC in 2018. Prior to the vote, CMF’s Board of Trustees voted to support the ballot proposal, at the recommendation of CMF’s Public Policy Committee as it supported fair, accessible and equitable civic engagement for all.

As the commission’s work is underway, MNA’s coalition which includes a cohort of nearly 20 nonprofit organizations will lead extensive outreach to the communities they serve. 

“We’re working to reach historically underrepresented communities and that is communities of color, immigrants and low-income populations,” Mariana Martinez, director of civic engagement initiatives at MNA, told CMF. “The nonprofit organizations are on the front lines and know best how to reach their communities. We are arming them with resources and education so that they themselves can disseminate that information to their communities.” 

The coalition is also working closely with New Michigan Media which is a network of diverse media, supported by several CMF members. The coalition’s communications will be multi-pronged and offer multilingual resources. 

“Explaining redistricting can be difficult to communities that are usually left out of the process, expanding funding to ensure we cover more languages and expand our communications outreach is essential,” Martinez said. 

Martinez shared that it is essential for underrepresented communities to be included in the redistricting process. 

"The consequences of not involving underrepresented communities can be negative and profound," Martinez told CMF. "We need to invest in this opportunity, and because it is short term, we need to be very strategic and allocate resources to ensure our communities participate in the process.” 

The coalition is currently working in Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids and according to Martinez, they are hoping to expand to other parts of the state. 

“During the application process for the mini-grants, we received an overwhelming amount of interest from all over the state, we know that communities are very interested in getting involved and educating their communities,” Martinez said. 

This coalition led by MNA is similar to the structure of Michigan’s Nonprofits Complete Count Campaign, which was led by MNA in partnership with CMF and supported by 20 CMF members. The campaign worked to mobilize statewide, regional and community-based participation in support of the census, especially in historically hard-to-count communities.

“The work done on the census illustrated the powerful way we can partner with nonprofits and reach out so all voices in our community are heard. The Learning Community has transitioned to apply these same principles to the redistributing process,” Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation and Civic Engagement Learning Community co-chair shared. 

CMF’s Civic Engagement Learning Community focuses on fair and equitable redistricting, as well as on amplifying community voice, improving civic infrastructure and strengthening democratic institutions.

We invite our CMF community to join the learning community this Wednesday, April 7 for a virtual event: Redistricting Roundtable, which will include several key organizations involved in this work including MNA. During the conversation, we will discuss Michigan’s citizen-led redistricting process and the roles philanthropy can play in to empower community voices. 

Want more?

Learn more about MNA’s Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Initiative.

CMF’s Civic Engagement Learning Community serves as a convening body for CMF members interested and involved in efforts around redistricting, voter education and other forms of civic participation. If you’re interested in joining the learning community, please contact Kyra Hudson, CMF’s public policy fellow.



Report Highlights Philanthropy’s Response to the Pandemic and Movement for Racial Justice

Throughout the pandemic, Michigan philanthropy and foundations across the country have adapted policies, procedures and work with nonprofit partners to create flexibility and increase support to respond to urgent needs and address inequities. 

A new report, Approaching the Intersection: Will a Global Pandemic and National Movement for Racial Justice Take Philanthropy Beyond Its Silos? by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, takes a closer look at philanthropy’s response to the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and the national reckoning for racial justice to provide insights about how we work in a crisis and how it may shape the future of our work.

The authors of the report sought to learn how philanthropy has responded to these crises through conversations with place-based funders and national philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) leaders. 

The report highlights five key findings: 

1.    Changes in funder practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic generally mirror earlier crisis response funding patterns.

According to the report, the way funders have responded to the pandemic reflects the responses to the Great Recession in 2008, providing quick, collaborative and flexible support.

2.    The COVID-19 pandemic is unique in its scale, unpredictable and has a disproportionate impact on traditionally marginalized communities, leading to new opportunities for funders.

Through conversations, funders have expressed an interest in strengthening relationships with communities and partnering with them, providing support for policy, advocacy, community organizing and systems change and committing to structural change within the organization.

3.    The combination of the pandemic and national movement for racial justice has expanded philanthropy’s work to advance racial justice. 

According to the report, one PSO leader observed that funders are learning how to engage with their communities in meaningful ways to center equity. New partnerships have formed, providing the opportunity for amplifying their equity work and learning from one another.

4.    The combination of the pandemic and movement for racial justice appears unlikely to strengthen intersectional grantmaking.

The report states that many PSO leaders are working with foundations to support their journey towards intersectional approaches. The movement for racial justice could lead more funders towards intersectional approaches but a focus on racial justice alone is not necessarily intersectional. In the report, one PSO leader shared that as the sector works to advance racial equity, we must consider race and gender, disability, age and beyond to fully embrace internationality. 

5.    In order to embrace intersectional work, funders will need to change the way their organizations are structured.

The report states that in order to institute more intersectional work, foundations should embrace community leadership, as foundations can benefit from shared learning with other organizations. One of the recommendations to support this work is to engage foundation leadership in this process and to connect boards more directly with nonprofit partners. 

According to the report, the pandemic and national movement for racial justice have demonstrated the philanthropic sector’s capacity to be nimble, flexible and rethink the way we work. 

One respondent shared in the report, “I hope that this moment is opening windows and there is more willingness to go out on a limb and do something transformative rather than continuing to do something incrementally. I hope it’s an opportunity to really reimagine philanthropy together.”

Want more?

Read the full report. 

CMF’s COVID-19 Resource Central is continually updated as we share new insights, analysis and emerging trends and leadership to the field. 



Youth Advisory Council Discusses Efforts to Advance Racial Justice

Earlier this year, The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s (CFSEM) Youth Advisory Council (YAC) announced $125,000 in funding to support several organizations working on youth and racial justice programs.

The programs work to:

  • Educate and engage youth through youth-led dialogues against racism and injustices.

  • Empower immigrant and refugee youth.

  • Elevate the voices of Black and African American youth who have Autism.

  • Expand efforts to develop Southeast Michigan student voices through journalism.

  • Engage youth in racial justice research opportunities. 

The community foundation recently shared a video highlighting two members of CFSEM’s YAC discussing the grants which are focused on advancing racial equity. 

In a virtual interview, Gracie Grady age 16, and Akhila Mullapudi age 17, spoke with Harmony Rhodes, program associate at CFSEM about these grants.

“We recognize that the racial divide in our country was prevalent and youth wants to do something about it,” Mullapudi said. “We wanted to expand our grant (making) to include projects that demonstrated both youth leadership and working towards easing the racial tensions in our community.”

According to Rhodes, this was one of the largest grant cycles in their YAC's history. 

“We worked really hard to make sure that our grants were going towards organizations that are working towards racial justice,” Grady said.

Mullapudi shared that the work is important to build youth leadership skills.

“It’s really important that no matter what we do that youth is always at the forefront because in the future it will be us making these big picture decisions and so our community looks the way we want it to,” Grady said.

The members discussed how the grant decision process has shifted during the pandemic and what they learned throughout this process.

“Communication and adaptability were the most important lessons that we’ve learned through this process. Learning to communicate how we feel, how we review grants and what we expect was important because we got a lot of grants,” Mullapudi said.

CFSEM’s YAC, which includes 20 middle and high school students from across the region, oversees this fund and makes grant recommendations to the community foundation Board of Trustees on grants ranging from $2,500 to $50,000.  

Want more?

Watch the full conversation.

Learn more about YACs in the 2020 YAC Databook.

News type: