August 21, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

We Need to Talk About Charlottesville

A statement from CMF:

We take pride in objective reporting through the Weekly Download. That said, we need to be transparent that CMF has a position on the results of white supremacist actions in Charlottesville. To be clear:

Over the past week news outlets and social media feeds alike have been filled with headlines about the horror that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. The stories have trended repeatedly as many wonder, “How was this allowed to happen?” At CMF we spend a lot of time thinking about ways to support our members in building vibrant communities with great opportunity for all. The beliefs that fueled the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville are in direct opposition to our work, vision, mission, and aspirations. We know that the events of last weekend were not isolated, but rather a piece of a historical continuum of events, actions, and beliefs that allow gross inequities to persist despite the good intentions and important work of so many. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center, and more have noted alarming spikes in hate crimes, hate speech, and identity-based bullying within the last year. The charged climate we are witnessing is not unlike others in our nation’s history. However, if we are to stop it today and prevent it from easing into our collective future, we must leverage every point of access, position, and more to eradicate racism, oppression, marginalization, and inequity in all forms. There are systemic, institutional, interpersonal, and internal dialogues that must happen. There are uncomfortable conversations with neighbors and family members that must take place. And there are partnerships across many lines of difference that must be built.

There’s a heightened sense of awareness of hate brewing in our country but there’s also disbelief for some who wonder where these ideals and actions came from?

Unfortunately, it’s very much alive in our communities. The Southern Poverty Law Center has released a map showing where hate groups are stationed in every state in the U.S., with roughly 917 throughout the country.

In Michigan, there are 28 documented hate groups throughout the state in Alpena, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids Traverse City and Petoskey, to name a few.

What the data tells us:

  • Earlier this year, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) presented data and research to CMF’s Board of Trustees showing the status of hate crime incidents and hate groups in our state. The latest data provided by MDCR earlier this year, showed that at that time the department was monitoring at least 86 places throughout the state where hate incidents had been reported, with more than half occurring at schools and college campuses.

  • MDCR says there’s a ripple effect when hate crimes happen in a community, first it affects the direct victim, then the marginalized group related to the victim, all marginalized groups, the community at large, our social order and finally, individual rights.

MDCR representatives say these kinds of acts not only deeply wound communities but also may embolden others to commit hateful acts.

Police in Grand Rapids are still trying to track down the person who hung an American flag bearing a swastika symbol over an interstate overpass near downtown just days after the events in Charlottesville.

Also last week, just north of Grand Rapids there was another act of vandalism using swastikas.

These recent events and the growth of hate groups in our nation has led many to share statements calling for action to erase such hate and racism from our communities.

In Michigan, the implementation phase of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT), a “community based process to plan and bring about transformational and sustainable change to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism” has started.

CMF is one of 10 organizations in the country to receive grant support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to support the work being done by our members and their partners in Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing.

TRHT is aimed to “bring together multi-sector players in each community to collectively advance narrative change, racial healing and relationship building. Each community brings a unique intention to the work, shaped by local happenings, historic frameworks and public perceptions,” according to WKKF which created the TRHT framework to support this work.

The TRHT framework is designed using five areas:

  • Narrative change: Examining how to create and distribute new complex and complete narratives in entertainment, journalism, digital and social media, school curricula, museums, monuments and parks and in the way we communicate that can influence people’s perspectives, perceptions and behaviors about and towards one another so that we can work more effectively and productively towards community-based change.

  • Separation: Examining and finding ways to address segregation, colonization and concentrated poverty in neighborhoods to ultimately ensure equitable access to health, education and jobs.

  • Economy: Studying structured inequality and barriers to economic opportunities and recommending approaches that can create an equitable society.

  • Racial Healing and relationship building: Focusing on ways for all of us to heal from the wounds of the past, to build mutually respectful relationships across racial and ethnic lines that honor and value each person’s humanity, and to build trusting intergenerational and diverse community relationships that better reflect our common humanity.

  • Law: Reviewing discriminatory civil and criminal laws and the public policies that come from them and recommending solutions that will produce a just application of the law.

As we try to unpack what happened in Charlottesville and get a deeper understanding of what’s happening in our own communities, philanthropy can help shape community conversations about the need for systemic change and how we can build on our role as partners and conveners.

CMF is committed to working with its members to together achieve vibrant communities with great opportunity for all.

Want more?

Learn more about TRHT.

Take another look at the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook.






What’s Next for Michigan’s ESSA Plan?

As CMF shared last week, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) asking for clarification or more information on several components of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, citing the current plan as “insufficient for the department to adequately review.”

On Friday, MDE provided an updated ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education.

The state superintendent says Michigan’s ESSA plan includes:

  • A “whole child” focus

  • Less student testing

  • Focuses on student academic growth

  • A Partnership Model for improving low-performing schools

  • A school accountability system

  • Giving schools more flexibility on how they choose to improve and greater ownership in how they follow their own plans.

We’re highlighting a few key components of what the U.S. Department of Education questioned and MDE’s plan to clarify and execute our ESSA plan.

The issues:

  • What the U.S. Department of Education says: More clarity is needed around Michigan’s proposed accountability system.
    • What the MDE says: When the original ESSA plan was submitted Michigan was still working through three options with the governor and legislature. Now, the MDE says, "The transparency dashboard is Michigan’s preferred option to report a more holistic, data-driven story of what is happening in our local schools. The dashboard is being developed for parents and includes many elements beyond what is required under ESSA. The dashboard will be implemented over multiple phases, with the initial phase being rolled out at the same time as Michigan’s index-based identification system. More details on the transparency dashboard can be found in this document."
  • What the U.S. Department of Education says: What frequency (and how) will schools be identified for comprehensive support and improvement?
    • What the MDE says: In Michigan, we will identify such schools at least once every three years and place them into one of the following categories: partnership districts, early warning districts, selected support districts or general support districts. 
  • What the U.S. Department of Education says: What's the state's methodology for annually identifying any school with one or more “consistently underperforming” subgroups of students?
    • What the MDE says: "Targeted schools are identified every year and are schools with at least one subgroup that is performing as poorly as all students in any of the lowest performing 5 percent of Title I schools statewide. They are only identified if they are not already identified as a comprehensive support or additional targeted support school. The district will help schools develop and monitor a plan for targeted support and improvement."
  • What the U.S. Department of Education says: How will the state factor the requirement for 95 percent student participation in statewide mathematics and reading/language arts assessments into the statewide accountability system?
    • What the MDE says: "Schools that continually have challenges meeting the 95 percent participation requirement will be eligible for additional supports through our partnership district work."

The state shares that Michigan’s goal is still to achieve statewide proficiency rates at the 75th percentile in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies by the end of the 2024-2025 school year. MDE hopes to receive a final approval on Michigan’s ESSA plan from the federal government by the end of this month.

Want more?

Read MDE’s latest ESSA update.






U.S. Cities Scored on UN Sustainable Development Goals

It’s been nearly two years since countries around the globe set goals to transform our world by 2030 through the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“These ambitious goals aim to end poverty and malnutrition, ensure health and education for all, promote gender equality and a fairer distribution of income, and to protect the environment, notably by ending global warming and conserving ecosystems and biodiversity,” Jeffrey Sachs director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network said.

Now we’re getting the first look at how our 100 most densely populated U.S. cities are performing on these goals in the U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017. The report shares how the U.S. is dealing with widening inequality gaps in wages and opportunities and needs to take action to build a better future for all.

Nationwide quick findings from the index include:

  • In the Global SDG Index the U.S. ranks 25th with a score of nearly 73, yet only one city in the new index scores above a 60, meaning they’re 60 percent of the way to achieving SDGs, showing there’s still much work to do.

  • The overall poverty rate of the 100 metro areas is 15.6 percent. Only four cities had a poverty rate less than 10 percent.

  • More than 33 million people in the top 100 metro areas are currently living in poverty.

  • The percentage of children living in poverty in large urban areas reaches as high as 70 percent.

  • Health wise, “malnutrition and obesity is a profound problem across the country. Even the best performing urban areas have adult obesity rates of 30 percent.”

  • The Rust Belt has the worst carbon footprint of all U.S. metro areas in the index. The report attributes this to higher vehicle ownership, low access to public transportation and higher home energy use due to extreme cold temperatures.

The Michigan snapshot:

  • The index shows Detroit is ranked 98th on the list of 100 cities, with the city only 31 percent of the way to achieving SDGs.

  • The report shares that Detroit and other cities near the bottom of the list are experiencing higher levels of poverty, unemployment and higher emissions rates which contribute to lower scores on the goals.

  • Grand Rapids, which isn’t detailed in the index, is the other Michigan city, ranked 55 in the index, nearly 44 percent of the way to achieving SDGs.

The index shares what is catalyzing progress to achieving SDGs in some of the top cities. In both Baltimore and San Jose they’re gathering and monitoring data to identify and address inequities, with a framework developed in partnership with the community and stakeholders, that’s helped them develop and execute action plans.

Recommendations from the index include:

  • Federal and local governments need to invest in data and monitoring to better align and address growing inequities.

  • As the sustainable development challenge becomes broader and more complex, a data-driven approach to policy-making will be crucial.

  • All cities closer examination of local policies, plans and investments that can make a profound

  • difference for sustainable development outcomes.

  • Encourage business development in green technologies and green enterprise by encouraging innovation among small and medium enterprises.

“If American cities want to weather the next storms and withstand the next shocks, whether the shocks turn out to be social, economic or environmental, a more sustainable and integrated approach will be essential,” Sachs said.

Want more?

Check out the U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017.

Learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.





Only two weeks left to save $250 on registration for CMF's 45th annual conference, Our Common Future

We’re nearly two months away from this year’s most crucial gathering of the social sector in Detroit for Our Common Future conference, CMF’s annual conference hosted in partnership with Independent Sector and Michigan Nonprofit Association.

There’s an urgency this year for CMF members who plan on attending conference to register before September 10, as that’s when the early member rate of $595 expires and the conference rate will remain at $845. Don’t miss out on joining your Michigan peers, national foundations and partners for this one-of-a-kind experience, October 25-27 in the Motor City.

Your Michigan peers are convening experts and thought leaders from Michigan and across the country to provide research, insights and next steps for Michigan philanthropy around topics of equity, economic growth, education, health and building opportunities for all.

There’s something for everyone at Our Common Future, electric and thought-provoking main stage events, issue-based breakouts, family foundation programming, dedicated networking and meeting time with your Michigan peers, structured opportunities to ask experts about models and strategies you can use in your own work and evening events that will leave you enlightened about the history and future of our beloved Detroit.

CMF wants to ensure you get the lowest rate possible, register today before rates change!

Want more?

Check out the full conference schedule.

See our growing list of experts and thought leaders who are joining us in Detroit.


News type: