CMF Members Support New Local and Statewide LGBTQ Initiatives
Philanthropic leaders in Michigan are supporting a variety of partnerships rooted in equity and inclusion for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community in Michigan. These efforts come at a time when the status of anti-discrimination legislation around sexual orientation and gender identification in the state is still unclear.
Status of Protection from Discrimination Unclear
In May 2018, a 5-0-1 vote of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission expanded the commission's interpretation of the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification in employment, education, housing and real estate as well as use of public accommodations and public service.
In July 2018, however, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette issued a formal opinion that Michigan's civil rights law does not protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.
"Michigan’s Constitution entrusts the Legislature, and not executive agencies or commissions, with the authority to change, extend or narrow statutes," he stated, adding that state law "prohibits discrimination based on sex but does not cover distinctions based on sexual orientation or gender identity." Schuette further stated that the commission's ruling is "invalid."
In response, the commission reiterated its ruling and directed the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to continue investigating complaints of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Agustin V. Arbulu, director, MDCR, said in a statement that the department will continue to follow the commission’s direction.
Larry DeShane Jr., administrator, Grand Rapids Pride Center, recently shared that safety can also be a concern for the LGBTQ community. “Still to this day, it’s not safe for me to hold my partner’s hand walking down the street in every area of this place, whereas if I were heterosexual and I was holding a woman’s hand, there’s no place that’s not safe.”
New Statewide and Regional LGBTQ Supports
CMF member The Michigan Health Endowment Fund recently awarded a $400,000 grant to The Pride Center and the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan to support the expansion and continuous updating of an LGBATQ-friendly businesses directory for West Michigan.
Services in the directory include caregiving, counseling, dental and vision, legal, Medicare and Medicaid assistance, transportation and home repair, among others.
DeShane explains that LGBT seniors having access to LGBT-friendly services is important. Without that assurance, he explained, they might feel the need to put away photos and “de-gay” their homes before in-home service to avoid discrimination and protect their safety, “purely out of fear that when they have to access resources, they’re going be discriminated against, based on a lifetime of being discriminated against.”
“We would love to think that all doctors and all professionals are just there to offer a great service,” he said, explaining that’s not always the case.
SAGE Metro Detroit (a local affiliate of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is also a recipient of a Michigan Health Endowment Fund grant. They are working in partnership with the ACLU of Michigan in addressing concerns of LGBT older adults in our state, many of whom they say are both physically and mentally isolated. The initiative is providing resources and connection for those looking for local community support.
Project leaders explain that many LGBT older adults do not feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and reach out for support only when they are enduring a health crisis.
As part of the initiative, SAGE Metro Detroit is developing new state-of-the-art online training for service providers. Additionally, the initiative aims to help regions of Michigan identify LGBT-inclusive local resources and provide printed materials that will be available for distribution by participating agencies.
In the Upper Peninsula region, the U.P. Commission for Area Progress’ Area Agency on Aging (UPCAP), SAIL and U.P. Rainbow Pride are working together to connect to LGBT older adults through messaging that shares the call to action, “Today is THE DAY” to encourage a call to SAIL or UPCAP.
CFSEM Awards New Grants, Recognized for LGBTQ Funding
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) also announced new grants in support of the LGBTQ community. CFSEM’s Hope Fund (Helping Others through Partnerships and Education) was created to strengthen organizations and projects that support LGBT individuals and families through targeted grantmaking, projects and technical assistance.
Fair Michigan was awarded a grant of $15,000 for support of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, which investigates and prosecutes hate crimes targeted at members of the LGBTQ community. The grant also supported the Corktown Health Center, a new medical home focused on serving the LGBTQ community in Southeastern Michigan.
The HOPE Fund’s grants have totaled $2.1 million to date.
CFSEM was recently listed among the top 10 community foundations in the country for supporting LGBTQ issues by The Funders for LGBTQ Issues. Their 2016 Tracking Report (published in 2018) identified that community foundations in the U.S. awarded $6.8 million to LGBTQ issues (including dollars awarded for re-granting).
Tracking Report Highlights:
Foundation funding for LGBTQ issues totaled $172.8 million nationally in 2016, an increase of 7.5 percent from the year prior. (This does not include $29.5 million in direct financial assistance provided by the OneOrlando Fund for the approximately 300 survivors and family members of victims of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.)
Michigan is one of an estimated 22 states in the U.S. that saw an increase in funding from 2015 to 2016.
LGBTQ funding in Michigan was third highest among Midwest states in 2016 at $1.194 million, behind Illinois ($3.490 million) and Minnesota ($1.383 million).
CMF’s New LGBTQ Funders Learning Community
CMF is forming a new LGBTQ Funders Learning Community. Members who currently have, or are interested in developing, an LGBTQ Fund at their foundation are invited to come together to learn from experts and each other about effective strategies for launching or growing LGBTQ Funds. There will be one annual in-person meeting and participants will be part of an online community (listserv) hosted through CMF’s website. It is our hope that the following outcomes will be realized through the development of this new group:
Members of the community will have the opportunity to share best practices and ask questions of their peers, promoting better knowledge and learning in this area for foundation members.
Members of the community will have greater opportunity for dialogue with Jason Franklin, a subject matter expert.
The annual in-person meeting will encourage shared accountability among members of the community, encouraging greater growth and expansion of LGBTQ Funds across Michigan.
If you are interested in joining this learning community and listserv, please contact CMF program manager, Andrea Judd ([email protected]).
Dig into the data from The Funders for LGBTQ Issues 2016 Tracking Report (published in 2018).
Learn more about the statewide LGBT Aging Initiative.
Access the LGBT-friendly service directory.
Studies and a Recent Convening Shed Further Light on the Line 5 Pipeline Debate
What is the likelihood of a leak in the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline? What are the risks of a leak? And what are the alternatives for energy access should it be decommissioned? These are just some of the questions discussed in a series of recent reports and documentary videos, thanks in part to support from Michigan’s philanthropic sector.
The Line 5 pipeline - which sits on the lake bed between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula in the Straits of Mackinac - provides the natural gas liquids from which propane is extracted. It’s delivered to a facility in the UP as well as to facilities in Ontario that then supply propane throughout the state. Built in 1953, the 645-mile long pipeline transports 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids each day.
London Economics International (LEI), in a study funded by CMF member the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation, set out to examine alternatives to Enbridge’s Line 5 supply of propane gas to Michigan’s consumers. The report, released July 27, 2018, resulted in five key findings (abbreviated below - see full report for additional detail):
There is no shortage of propane in the United States; supply is growing faster than demand.
The least expensive alternative supply options are pipeline transportation to Superior, Wisconsin combined with either trucking from Superior to Rapid River or rail from Superior to Rapid River.
Although more expensive options are available, it would not make sense to assume these would be chosen instead of the least expensive option, except under emergency conditions.
In the Lower Peninsula, the impact on the cost of propane may be negligible.
The small price increase from using alternatives to Enbridge Line 5 would be lost in the noise of typical price volatility.
The propane report is the first of multiple analyses based on that research.
When asked why Mott provided funding for this research, Tim Eder, program officer, explains “Governor Snyder and other state officials who will decide the fate of Line 5 need independent, credible research to make an informed decision about the pipeline’s future and alternatives that meet the energy needs of Michigan and neighboring states. This analysis will fill important gaps in information so that the state won’t have to rely solely on Enbridge-funded studies.”
One such study was released on July 16, 2018. The draft report, “Independent Risk Analysis for the Straits Pipelines” was submitted by a team led by Michigan Technological University and directed by professor Guy Meadows of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. They examined 4,300 hypothetical spill simulations. The report was recommended by the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board and was contracted by the State of Michigan. Great Lakes Now reports that the analysis, which is still considered to be in draft form, cost nearly $750,000 and was paid out of a state escrow fund financed by Enbridge.
In a worst-case scenario, the report suggests Enbridge would be liable for $2 billion worth of damage should a leak occur. If ruptures occurred on both pipelines in the tandem section crossing the Straits of Mackinac, along with failures to the line’s primary and secondary valves, it could release between 32,000 and 58,000 barrels of crude oil into the Great Lakes. If such a spill occurred, an estimated 400 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada would be affected based on wind and current conditions, threatening 47 wildlife species of concern and 60,000 acres of unique habitat.
On August 13, members of the public had the opportunity to talk with researchers about the report. Some of the 200-plus attendees suggested the estimated cost of the damage and the two-year timeline anticipated for clean-up were far too low.
“We all agree that the State’s natural resources are a treasure that must be protected,” Ryan Duffy, Enbridge spokesman, said in a press release. “While Line 5 continues to operate safely, and there never has been a release in the Straits since it was installed, the State and Enbridge are working on new safeguards to enhance pipeline safety.”
While there has not been a release, a recent event has some officials concerned about the likelihood a release could occur - and concerned about the Enbridge response time.
On August 20, Senator Gary Peters convened a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing to question Enbridge officials particularly about the April 1, 2018 incident in which a ship anchor struck and dented the pipeline in three places and broke open electrical transmission cables, spilling 600 gallons of toxic chemicals in dielectric fluid into the Straits of Mackinac.
Senator Peters said it was "completely unacceptable" that Enbridge waited more than two weeks to send a remotely operated vehicle to inspect the pipelines following that event, adding that the underwater portion of Line 5 "could have been a ticking time bomb."
Howard "Skip" Elliott, administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said the agency believes Line 5 is less likely to fail than another Enbridge line that spilled around one million gallons of oil in southern Michigan in 2010, noting that the underwater portion of Line 5 has walls three times as thick as the pipe that ruptured and is operated at well below maximum pressure.
Enbridge said the 65-year-old pipeline is in good condition and company officials have said the underwater section of Line 5 is "the most inspected segment of pipe in our entire North American network."
Michigan filmmaker Barton Bund has made a documentary film about the battle over the pipeline. Part Two was recently released and features a number of candidates for statewide office weighing in on their plans for the pipeline.
An April 2018 film, “Beneath the Surface: The Line 5 Pipeline in the Great Lakes” from Detroit Public TV’s Great Lakes Bureau also takes a deep look at the issue. Funding for the video was provided in part by CMF members, including the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation and Americana Foundation.
Opportunities for Member Involvement
CMF is a member of the Great Lakes Funder Collaboration which brings together funders across the U.S. and Canada who are interested in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. The Collaboration periodically holds webinars and conference calls on topics of interest for funders, as well as quarterly work group calls on water infrastructure, nutrient pollution and environmental education and behavior change. The Collaboration’s annual meeting is being held October 18-19 in Detroit. Funders interested in learning more are encouraged to visit the CMF website.
CMF is also the project lead on a dynamic, cross-disciplinary team working on the Great Lakes One Water Partnership, a multi-year, basin-wide initiative focused on engaging shoreline community foundations as a force multiplier to advance a new era of water management to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes Basin.
The Green and Blue Network (GBN) is an action-oriented learning community for CMF members. Members come together to learn from experts and each other about leading environmental issues and how to make more effective and intentional environmental grants, impact environmental policy and leverage grant dollars. Members are invited to join GBN’s online community and learning about upcoming convenings.
Read the full Q&A with Mott Foundation’s Tim Eder.
Member Spotlight: Dow Chemical and Dow Corning Foundations
Content adapted and excerpted from a joint press release.
The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), the University of Michigan (U-M) and Delta College (Delta) are collaborating to develop an interdisciplinary innovation and education hub “to inspire the workforce of tomorrow and create sustainable pathways that will have a positive impact on the environment and society.”
The education hub will accelerate Dow’s and Delta’s focus on building the workforce of tomorrow and innovating for sustainable solutions in the Great Lakes Bay Region through the promotion of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education while also supporting creative and targeted solutions to address many of the community’s complex needs. It will be enabled by a grant of $4 million from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation and a grant of $2 million from The Dow Corning Foundation, both over a three-year period, toward the construction of a new Delta campus building in downtown Midland.
“This collaboration will empower teachers and students to develop sustainable solutions to address local, regional and global challenges, while cultivating a robust manufacturing workforce pipeline – efforts that build on our commitment to the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Jim Fitterling, CEO-elect of Dow.
The newly constructed facility will include science and computer labs, classrooms, advanced educational and training technology, special use training rooms, multi-purpose rooms and labs, student services and administrative space. The facility’s enrollment is expected to reach 700 students at the new Delta Midland Center. With a construction timeline estimated to take 12-18 months, Delta College is aiming to break ground by fall 2019.
Additionally, Dow and U-M announced the inception of the Andrew N. Liveris Innovation Institute, a collaboration to provide Midland area teachers with an immersive learning environment of focused programming in the areas of advanced manufacturing, sustainable innovation and global citizenship. The Dow Chemical Company Foundation will provide funding in the amount of $1.5 million to U-M over a three-year period toward staffing and programming in support of the Institute’s mission.
As part of the Innovation Institute, Dow and U-M will also create Dow Innovation Fellows, a program designed to develop robust, applicable and educational experiences for Midland area teachers and high school students. Dow will share its expertise in manufacturing and sustainability and provide access to cutting edge manufacturing techniques. U-M’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) will provide access to expertise on education topics including curricular and instructional design and professional support for research-based teaching and learning. Dow Innovation Fellows builds upon the long-term and successful Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, an academic program established through a partnership between Dow and U-M for the preparation of future leaders to make a positive difference in organizations worldwide.