August 2, 2021

Monday, August 2, 2021

New Grocery Store to Expand Access to Healthy Food Options in Flint

With the support of several CMF members and the Michigan Strategic Fund, a new co-op urban grocery store will soon open in the north side of Flint to expand access to affordable healthy food options for area residents.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced last week that the project will revitalize a long-vacant building and help address health issues in the documented “food desert” of North Flint. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.

The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas illustrates how food deserts are in both urban and rural areas statewide, with neighborhoods and areas that lack access to grocery stores in communities around the state.

The grocery store in Flint is expected to not only expand access to food options but also generate a total capital investment of $7 million while creating 27 permanent and full-time jobs.

"The new full-service grocery store in North Flint will help residents with the access to healthy, fresh food they deserve and offer a community space that will create jobs," Whitmer said in the press release.

"This community partnership and investment are delivering on this longstanding need in the community and helping to build the path for economic growth and recovery in Flint. The store will feed families, create jobs, and help us continue our economic jumpstart."  

CMF members supporting the project include the Ruth Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

"The North Flint Food Market Co-Op is a community-driven effort that expands access to affordable, healthy food that mitigates the effects of lead exposure for Flint families," Isaiah Oliver, president and CEO of CFGF and CMF trustee said in the press release. "The goals of the Food Co-Op align with the grant making strategy of the Flint Kids Fund and we are pleased to support this project with a $500,000 grant that fills a gap in north Flint's food desert."  

According to the press release, due to “chronic disinvestment by the departure of living‐wage employers” and regional supermarket operators, and from the effects of the Flint water crisis, the city of Flint has not had reliable access to fresh foods. 

"Access to affordable, fresh, healthy food is a priority for residents of north Flint," Raquel Thueme, president of the Ruth Mott Foundation said. "We're proud to be part of a diverse coalition supporting this resident-owned and -driven enterprise to strengthen the local economy and lay the groundwork for longer-term health and economic development benefits in north Flint."  

When the North Flint Food Market is completed, it will provide a full-service grocery store with access to fresh foods for the community. 

This latest effort is one of many supported by CMF members to increase access to fresh food in Flint. 

CFGF and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund helped support Flint’s produce prescription program which provides a $15 prescription to parents for fresh fruit and vegetables that can be filled at the Flint Farmers Market or through the Flint Fresh Food Hub.  

Flint Fresh is also supported by CFGF, Michigan Health Endowment Fund and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and offers residents who may not have access to healthy foods.

Want more?

Read the full press release.




The State of Nonprofits Through the Pandemic

Persevering Through Crisis: The State of Nonprofits, a recent report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), outlines how nonprofits fared amid the pandemic and where they are now. 

The report offers a snapshot of the devastating impacts of COVID-19 through a survey of their Grantee Voice panel, a national sample of CEOs from nonprofit, grant-seeking organizations that receive at least one grant from foundations giving $5 million or more annually. 

CEP surveyed 163 nonprofit leaders in February 2021 and compared data from a previous survey conducted in May 2020.

Examining the Heath of Nonprofits in 2021 vs. 2020

•    In February 2021, 28% of nonprofit leaders said their organizations have experienced significant negative impacts of the pandemic compared to 46% in May 2020. 

o    37% of respondents from arts and culture organizations said the pandemic had a significant negative impact compared to 26% of respondents for all other organizations.

•    In May 2020, 81% of organizations said they had already or expected to reduce programs or services compared to 58% who said they ultimately did take these actions in February 2021.  

•    In May 2020, 80% of organizations said they had or expected to draw from reserves compared to 38% who did in February 2021. 

Nonprofits and their Relationships with Foundation Partners

•    63% of nonprofit leaders felt they were able to be very candid with their foundation partners about the challenges they faced.

•    67% of nonprofit leaders said their foundation funders had some understanding of what they needed at the time. 

o    10% of women-led organizations said foundation funders had no understanding compared to 3% of men-led organizations. 

•    A majority of nonprofit leaders whose organizations primarily serve Asian (71%), Pacific Islander (71%), Middle Eastern (82%) or Native American (67%) communities report that no foundations provided new funding in 2020 to support these communities.

In conclusion, the report found that nonprofits fared better than they thought because of increased support from the government, foundations and individual donors. However, nonprofits led by women and nonprofits serving certain communities of color experienced support from their foundation partners to a lesser degree.

According to the report, some nonprofit leaders who were surveyed worry that the increased support they experienced from foundations and donors will decline in the near future.

“Now is not the time for us to go backward. Let’s use this moment of converging crises to impose excellence upon ourselves for the long-term benefit of philanthropy, our own institutions, nonprofits, and the communities that need us more than ever,” Tonya Allen of the McKnight Foundation, Kathleen Enright of the Council on Foundations and Hilary Pennington of the Ford Foundation shared in the report.

Over the past year and a half, CMF has been working in close partnership with the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) to understand the needs and the impact of COVID-19 on nonprofits.  

CMF worked in partnership with MNA and the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) to launch a focused effort to ensure nonprofits were included in and had the necessary tools to access critical funding through the Paycheck Protection Program last spring.

“MNA continues to support nonprofits during the pandemic through a variety of ways including webinars, advocacy and by keeping racial equity front and center. We’ve also set up a special COVID-19 toolkit packed with resources and information to help nonprofits weather the storm,” Tammy Pitts, director of marketing & communications at MNA said. 

As CMF reported, MNA launched a survey asking nonprofit leaders to share the state of their organizations’ financial stability amid the pandemic. 

MNA is in the process of updating the survey, which will run through August, focusing on how nonprofits are planning to return to work.

Want more?

Read the full report. 



Learning to Give: A Philanthropy Education Resource

Learning to Give (LTG), an endowed program of CMF, provides online tools and guidance to educators, youth leaders and families to educate, equip and empower youth as philanthropists.

LTG helps advance the skills, knowledge and actions of philanthropy and community engagement through literature, service, film and video, activity and lesson guides as well as by highlighting stories and key resources related to current events.

LTG is working in close partnership with several CMF members across the state to identify gaps and opportunities to support youth philanthropists. The recently established Youth Philanthropy Task Force, led by the guidance and counsel of CMF members, will identify new actionable connections and opportunities related to expanding youth philanthropy throughout Michigan. 

The Task Force includes CMF members from Bosch Community Fund, Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Kresge Foundation, Fremont Area Community Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. 

“We have representation from foundations and organizations across the state, with individuals who bring a variety of perspectives and experiences and a passion for engaging and informing youth,” said Betsy Peterson, director of LTG. 

In 2022 the Task Force will provide recommendations to equip CMF members and others with new models and avenues for empowering and educating all youth in skills, knowledge and behaviors of philanthropy. 

In addition to this work, LTG ambassadors and consultants are creating content centered on diversity, equity and inclusion through literature guides, a cultural competency guide and a new series of guides that prompt youth to learn more about the nonprofit resources in their communities. These new resources will be introduced in LTG’s newsletter this fall. 

This summer LTG is focusing on building out resources around culturally affirming social emotional learning (SEL) for social justice, led by their 2021 Teacher in Residence (TIR), through the support of the McGregor Fund.

This year, LTG’s TIR is Torie Anderson, a high school teacher in the Detroit Public School system. Peterson shared that Anderson is known for her peer modeling and passion for empowering youth voice. 

"We are creating these resources so those that those that use them can empower the young people they work with. SEL is authentic and impactful," said Anderson. 

Upon the completion of Anderson’s work LTG will hold two virtual fall trainings to introduce and demonstrate the culturally affirming SEL for social justice resources to educators and other youth leaders.

“LTG is working to build our shared future of an informed and generous community of young people ready to live a generous life or begin a career in the nonprofit sector,” Peterson said. 

Want more? 

Connect with Learning to Give. 




Member Spotlight

Donor Advised Funds and Collaboration Within Philanthropy

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County and the Mackinac Island Community Foundation (MICF) partnered to create a new fund with the support of donor advised fund (DAF) holders. 

DAF holders with the Community Foundation of St. Clair County supported the creation of the Smiles Fund, which will provide dental assistance to Mackinac Island youth and support for emergency dental services for qualified island residents.

“The Mackinac Island Community Foundation is so pleased that we can partner with our friends at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County to carry forward the wishes of mutual donors and meet a community need,” Stephanie McGreevy, executive director and CEO of MICF said in the press release.

This partnership is an example of how DAFs can create connections and collaboration within philanthropy.

“DAFs allow donors the flexibility to share their gifts and passion anywhere in Michigan, or America, and we’re proud to be a part of the community foundation family in Michigan which believes so strongly in collaboration and lifting up opportunities for all Michigan residents,” Randy Maiers, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County said. 

Through support from the Smiles Fund, practitioners in the Straits region will partner with MICF to help provide dental services to residents.

“Collaboration amongst community foundations and DAF holders with passion are moving our communities forward. We are excited to work with funders who understand the needs of those close or far,” McGreevy said. 

Want more?

Read the full press release. 

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