December 12, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Future of MI’s Infrastructure

We’re getting a look at a 50-year vision for our state that includes investing in Michigan’s infrastructure to support healthy and vibrant communities. The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission’s report, shared with the public last week, offers comprehensive recommendations on water, transportation, energy and communications infrastructure.

Identified issue areas:

  • Many of Michigan’s community water systems were built 50 to 100 years ago
  • 39 percent of Michigan roads are in poor condition
  • 1,200 bridges are considered “structurally deficient”
  • An average of 5.7 billion gallons of untreated sewage have flowed into Michigan waterways since 2008
  • About a half million Michigan households lack access to high-speed internet

To address these issues, the report first calls for coordinated planning and management for thousands of siloed infrastructure agencies and systems statewide. To streamline and increase efficiency and data-driven decisions, the commission recommends the state create a database to collect data from all the players involved and establish a council of experts to oversee long-term coordination.

Highlights of the commission’s recommendations include:


  • Invest in replacing aging infrastructure
  • Design and build water systems using the best available technologies
  • Incorporate science-based research in establishing drinking water standards and evaluate sources of drinking water contamination as technology advances
  • Expand comprehensive real-time surface and groundwater monitoring to detect potential threats to water supplies, develop early responses and provide regular public reporting
  • Encourage the use of green infrastructure for storm water management

See all the water recommendations in pages 127-132 and 160-169 of the full report.


  • Identify and create revenue options for sustainable funding that will return most higher level roads and bridges to “good” or “fair” condition
  • Secure alternative sources for transit funding to encourage robust bus, passenger rail and rail freight systems
  • Complete a comprehensive assessment that determines the kind of transportation infrastructure that’s needed – and where – to support future industries
  • Research, education and coordination of implementing innovative technologies that impact infrastructure planning, especially when it comes to self-driving vehicles


  • Ensure there’s adequate capacity for resources available to avoid a massive outage
  • Meet 30 percent of our electric energy needs from the cleanest of sources
  • Accelerate plans to replace at-risk natural gas distribution pipes
  • Expand opportunities for new businesses and energy-intensive industries by ensuring access to tailored energy services and competitive energy prices


  • Develop a plan to invest in emerging technologies, support research and form policies to create smart environments and communities
  • Improve broadband access and adoption through technical assistance, digital literacy education and more
  • Enhance cybersecurity through intelligence sharing with other states and agencies, develop a public awareness campaign about safe cyber practices, and embrace new technologies

The report says Michigan’s infrastructure investment gap exceeds $60 billion over the next 20 years. Federal, state and local funding along with user fees and private investment will be required to raise the current annual infrastructure spending levels by an additional $4 billion a year to close the investment gap. 

What's next for the recommendations from the report? That's unclear at this point, however we do know that Governor Rick Snyder is calling on lawmakers to address closing the investment gap.

Because CMF members are concerned about each of these four major infrastructure issues, we will continue to look for opportunities for philanthropy to help our communities explore solutions.

Read the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission’s full report

For a quick rundown, check out the report’s executive summary








Hate Incidents Rise in MI

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is calling on anyone who feels vulnerable or is a victim of a hate incident to reach out to them immediately. This comes after the state agency confirmed an alarming surge in the number of hate incidents reported.

Last week the department shared that since the November 8th presidential election, in less than a month, 65 hate incidents have been reported in our state, compared to the historic rate of about one per month that’s usually reported in Michigan.

Out of the 65 reported incidents, more than half took place at K-12 schools or at colleges and universities said Agustin Arbulu, the executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

In mid-November, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Michigan Department of Education sent a letter to all schools in Michigan asking they “…clearly and consistently convey the message that bullying, harassment, violence, property destruction or any other form of intimidation have no place in our schools.”

The state department’s data comes following a national report from the Southern Poverty Law Center that revealed Michigan had the sixth highest number of hate incidents of all states and the highest number in the Midwest in the 10 days following the presidential election.

This is a concerning change from 2015, as FBI statistics show hate crimes dropped by 10 percent last year. However, even with a decrease, the FBI data shows a number that no one wants to see, a reported 399 hate crime incidents in Michigan in 2015.

As for the difference in numbers between the state department’s data and FBI trends, officials say not all hate incidents end up being classified as hate crimes.

While these discriminatory, offensive acts are happening in our state, funders are exploring ways to intervene to offer a safe, welcoming state for all.

The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a CMF member, held an event earlier this month to promote healing and inclusive communities. The organization is also encouraging everyone to join the TAKE ON HATE campaign, led by ACCESS' program, the National Network for Arab American Communities. Last week TAKE ON HATE announced that more than 100 elected Michigan officials have signed a pledge to take a stand against hate and discrimination.

Open Society Foundations (OSF) is responding to the call nationwide, announcing Communities Against Hate, a $10 million rapid response fund aimed at supporting, protecting and empowering those targeted by hateful acts.

Communities Against Hate is offering grants to community groups that are well positioned to provide support, services, technical assistance, outreach, and public education in the face of hate incidents. The initiative will also work to develop a national referral network to channel requests for legal and social services for victims.

OSF plans to commit at least $5 million to the initiative in the coming weeks, awarding grants of up to $150,000.

Want more?

Learn more about Communities Against Hate

Share with others how they can report a hate incident to the state







Corporate Philanthropy's Roadmap to Impact Investing 

While foundations of all types and sizes approach impact investing in different ways to leverage their impact, CECP has shared a new study giving us a comprehensive look inside the rise of impact investing by corporate philanthropy.

The CECP pilot study, Investing with Purpose, is the first in-depth analysis of what large companies are doing to incorporate impact investing into their social engagement strategies.

CECP’s profile of large corporate impact investors:

  • One out of three companies say they’re highly active or somewhat active in impact investing
  • $2.4 billion has been generated in the corporate impact investing market

The study offers six investment approaches and specific case studies, highlighting large corporations outside of the financial sector, noting they’re not as well understood in the impact investing field, to help other companies act within their own organizations.

The approaches and the case studies include:

  • Direct investments: a corporation acquires or merges with a social enterprise
    • Campbell Soup bought Plum Organics, that provides nutritious food to children, with a focus on kids who miss meals.
  • Self-managed funds: an entity inside the corporation that invests in business and social enterprises 
    (this was the most common investing with purpose approach CECP found in the study)
    • Cisco Ventures’ corporate venture capital (CVC) unit invested in Husk Power Systems, a company that converts rice husks into energy, powering small towns in rural India
  • Third-party funds: when corporate funds are transferred to a fund which then deploys money to social enterprises
    • 3M invested $2 million in the Closed Loop Fund as a program related investment (PRI), it’s a $100 million fund that provides low interest loans to develop recycling infrastructure.
  • Strategic alliances: include partnerships among companies that create innovative market-based social benefits
    • Coca-Cola partnered with SOLARKIOSK on its EKOCENTER project, which provides basic goods and services to underserved areas in Africa and Asia. Through a franchise model it helps EKOCENTER operators build a small business and supply a community.
  • Incubators and accelerators: involves companies deploying financial and non-financial assets to spur growth of small social enterprise
    • AT&T launched the AT&T Aspire Accelerator, which provides financial, mentoring and business support for education startups and nonprofits
  • Corporate foundations: when the foundation budget is deployed to social enterprise, and expects to be paid back with a return on their investment
    • The Prudential Foundation committed to a $5 million PRI in the Opportunity Finance Network, that will be repaid over 5 years, giving additional loan capacity to community development financial institutions (CDFIs), to free up access to capital for underbanked and low-income communities.

The study says it hopes the case studies inspire corporates to find their own pathway to deeper, impactful investments.


  • Utilize annual strategic planning to watch for potential investment opportunities
  • Explore social enterprises that meet your company’s focus through newsletters, conferences and other resources
  • Collaborate with competitors as collective efforts can be more powerful
  • Collaborate with external investors by connecting and sharing ideas

Want more?

Read Investing with Purpose

Check out more statistics from CECP’s 2016 Giving in Numbers

Connect with CMF's Impact Investing Committee, which includes corporate members, and check out videos highlighting impact investing work by other CMF members. Please contact Debbie McKeon for more information. 







The Gerber Foundation supports equine therapy expansion in West Michigan 

The Gerber Foundation is a supporter of Camp Casey, a nonprofit horseback riding program for Michigan children with cancer. The foundation awarded a grant to Royal Oak-based Camp Casey’s Horsey House Call program, helping them expand to West Michigan.

Horsey House Calls give families a chance to have a horse in their own backyard, often surprising the child dealing with cancer to brighten their day, whether it’s for a post-treatment celebration party or a gathering with family and friends.

The Gerber Foundation’s grant helped the program make house calls to sick children in West Michigan by working with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Learn more about The Gerber Foundation’s work.

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