February 18, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

State of the State Address

As Governor Gretchen Whitmer prepares to share her proposed state budget in early March, we heard from the governor on her list of priorities in her first State of the State Address given last week.

Whitmer focused on our infrastructure and education, as well as making Michigan’s economy more competitive and ensuring residents have access to clean and safe drinking water.

During her address Whitmer announced two new initiatives and a new goal for our state when it comes to education and supporting a stronger economy.

Postsecondary Attainment Goal
The governor shared that Michigan now has a new statewide goal of increasing the number of Michiganders with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent by 2030. Prior to her announcement Michigan was one of only nine states in the U.S. without a formal goal for postsecondary attainment.

Many CMF members have been engaging in this work for some time through their Local College Access Networks (LCAN) and the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) which has a goal of 60 percent postsecondary attainment by 2025.

“MCAN had adopted the Lumina Foundation established goal of 60 percent postsecondary attainment by 2025, but this was never officially ‘endorsed’ or ‘codified’ by a governor as a state-wide aspiration,” Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN said. “As you can imagine, we are thrilled to join other states in the U.S. with an official proclamation of a specific goal. Between 2016 and 2017, Michigan saw the largest annual increase with our attainment rate approaching 45 percent. We continue to make positive progress toward the goal, but we need statewide investments to further accelerate our momentum."

Michigan Reconnect
Whitmer announced the launch of this new initiative which will include two key components - training adults seeking an in-demand industry certification or associate degree and connecting Michigan businesses to qualified candidates for the growing number of jobs that are currently unfilled.

“This initiative is modeled after a similar effort that Tennessee’s former Republican governor, Bill Haslam, launched last year. And it is already surpassing expectations,” Whitmer said.

MI Opportunity Scholarship
Whitmer’s new initiative will guarantee two years of debt-free community college for all graduating high school students who qualify. For those seeking a four-year degree, the scholarship will provide two years of tuition assistance at a four-year, not-for-profit college or university for students who graduate from a Michigan high school with at least a “B” average. The scholarship will be officially launched this spring and available to students in the fall of 2020.

“Real paths. Real opportunity. Together, these paths will go a long way toward closing the skills gap, making Michigan’s economy more competitive and creating real opportunity for everyone,” Whitmer said.

Additional key takeaways from the address:

  • Environment: Whitmer added our state to the U.S. Climate Alliance with a bipartisan coalition of governors from 20 other states and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. This was one of a series of executive orders signed by the governor which also included a streamlined Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and new offices including Clean Water Public Advocate and the Environmental Justice Public Advocate. The Detroit News reported on Thursday that the state Senate voted to overturn Whitmer’s executive directive that reorganized the department. Bridge Magazine reports the reorganization eliminated review panels where half the seats were filled by businesses. Bridge reported “Republican lawmakers crafted the oversight commissions last year, saying they would bolster transparency.” While Democrats say it gives businesses too much authority over such issues.

  • Healthy Michigan Plan: Whitmer says with the added work requirements coming to Medicaid, she intends to work with the Legislature to find ways that both promote work and preserve coverage for people who need it. The state shared in a press release that an analysis shows in Arkansas where similar work requirements were implemented 18,000 people in that state lost their insurance within the first seven months of the requirements. According to the state, an independent study by Manatt Health found that Michigan’s waiver, once implemented, would result in 61,000 to 183,000 Michiganders losing their health insurance.

The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) released a statement following the address stating that the policy proposals align with what the MLPP heard from Michigan residents while they received input on creating a new resource, the Owner’s Manual for Michigan.

“Improving public health by addressing our water systems and other failing infrastructure, maintaining the resounding success of the Healthy Michigan Plan, investing in education and literacy improvement from preschool to college and skills training, and many of the other policy proposals discussed are spot-on,” MLPP shared. “Like the governor, we think these issues can and should transcend party lines and political agendas, and we’re looking forward to working with her and Republican leaders in the Legislature to get things done.”

Republican leaders had questions as to how such initiatives, including free community college, would be funded.

Whitmer is expected to share her state budget proposal March 5.

Want more?

Check out MLPP’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan.







Opportunity Zones

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a public hearing last week on Opportunity Zones (OZ) commentary. During the hearing the IRS heard comments from stakeholders who expressed the need for clarity and final guidance on OZs. The hearing was pushed to February due to the government shutdown. The shutdown also delayed the release of the federal government’s final guidance on OZs.

Forbes reported that the final guidance, which will provide clarity on the OZ program, is likely to come soon, considering last week’s IRS hearing on the matter and the fact IRS has released instructions on how taxpayers should implement the OZ Form 8996.

While we await the final guidance, the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center of Georgetown University have released the Opportunity Zones Framework, which highlights best practices for investors to ensure equitable community development.

The framework shares that while many investors may have an “explicit goal of creating positive social, economic and environmental impact,” such guidance is needed so they understand community implications.

That’s why the framework provides a set of guiding principles, a reporting framework and a shared goal of measuring outcomes.

OZ guiding principles from the framework:

  • Community Engagement: Opportunity Fund investors should request that fund managers integrate the needs of local communities into the formation and implementation of the funds, reaching low‐income and underinvested communities with attention to diversity.

  • Equity: Opportunity Fund investments should seek to generate equitable community benefits, leverage other incentives and aim for responsible exits.

  • Transparency: Opportunity Fund investors should be transparent and hold themselves accountable, with processes and practices that remain fair and clear.

  • Measurement: Opportunity Fund investors should voluntarily monitor, measure and track progress against specific impact objectives, identifying key outcome measures and allowing for continuous improvement.

  • Outcomes: Opportunity Fund metrics should track real change, with an understanding that both quantitative and qualitative measures are valuable indicators of progress.

“Opportunity Zones are a powerful tool to provide improved quality of life and economic empowerment for underserved communities across the United States. We believe that, by utilizing the common approaches articulated in this document, we can enable an important collective step towards a shared and equitable future,” the framework states.

Philanthropy can serve as a convener to catalyze such efforts.

“Community foundations have a great seat at the table inside our opportunity zones,” Bonnie Gettys, president and CEO, Barry Community Foundation said. “Being a convener, planner or investor provides an intersection to bridge community improvement and stabilization.”

The Kresge Foundation was recently highlighted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review for the foundation’s work  to ensure equity and responsible community development are guiding OZ investments.

As CMF reported in November, the foundation did a call for proposals to find potential Opportunity Zone projects that aligned with the foundation’s work. The foundation received more than 140 responses and from that pool, selected a small group of fund managers to support in bringing ideas to the marketplace with the hope of setting an example of best practices in socially responsible community investments, guided by transparency, research and reporting.

On March 13, you can learn more about OZs as the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) is hosting a day-long comprehensive overview of OZs in Michigan. The event, which will be held in Lansing, will include discussion about community goals and avoiding displacement.

Want more?

Check out the Opportunity Zones Framework.

View the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) OZ resources.

Connect with The Kresge Foundation’s OZ work.

Check out Mission Investors Exchange’s OZ resources.  





Rethinking the Future of Work

Nearly 300 philanthropy, business, education and community leaders recently gathered at Schoolcraft College to discuss the critical needs of workforce development in Michigan.

Schoolcraft College Foundation, a CMF member, hosted the event - the first in what the foundation shared will be “an ongoing effort led by the college to shed light on this important topic and explore the strategies and partnerships necessary to address the critical needs of workforce development now and into the future.”

The foundation invited Heather McGowan, an internationally known speaker, writer and thought leader to kick off the conversation by discussing the demands of our changing global workforce and how it requires a transformation in how we think about work..

Dawn Magretta, executive director, Schoolcraft College Foundation, said after hearing McGowan speak on the main stage at CMF’s 46th Annual Conference last October, she wanted to share McGowan’s insights with business and community leaders in Southeast Michigan and get their feedback and ideas as to how to collectively move forward in this work.

McGowan said that in the past we learned to work and that in the fourth industrial revolution that we are now entering, we need to work to learn. She stressed that she has great confidence in humans and their unique abilities and that we need to restructure our systems to support humans flourishing in this next revolution where the need for lifelong learning, critical thinking skills and the ability to adapt are critical components in a heavily automated world with the growing capacity of artificial intelligence.

McGowan predicts that in the future:

  • 47 percent of jobs will be automated.

  • 65 percent of jobs of the future don’t exist yet.

  • Life expectancy becomes 90 plus which means people will be working longer and needing to adapt to job and career changes.

“Future of work is about learning and adapting and it’s not exclusively about technology or skills,” McGowan said.

Right now, McGowan said 4.4 percent of people in the workforce are over the age of 85.

“It’s the highest percentage of people we’ve had in the workforce. At the same time at the lower end we have the lowest number of young people we’ve had in the workforce since the 1970s,” McGowan said. “There are real implications, because they’re not getting the tacit knowledge that they need.”

Her message resonated with the college, which has identified lifelong learning as a need to prepare our workforce.

“Lifelong learning is key to addressing issues that are having an adverse effect on businesses and industry,” Dr. Conway Jeffress, president of Schoolcraft College said in the introduction to the event’s live stream. “It is the backbone to creating and maintaining a workforce ready for a future of growth and prosperity in all of Michigan. Schoolcraft has always believed in being a center for lifelong learning. We’re prepared to take our place in assisting Michigan to continue its renaissance.”

Panelists joined McGowan on stage, representing manufacturing, cybersecurity, education and health care.

Chuck Dardas, president and COO, AlphaGroup, a tier one and tier two automotive supplier, said that collaboration and partnerships among businesses, communities, public schools, community colleges and beyond is key as they need to bridge the gaps and work together toward workforce solutions.

Dardas’ company already partners with Schoolcraft College on one of their many experiential programs.

“We really work with partners to get students internship opportunities,” Robert Leadley, dean of occupational programs and economic development at Schoolcraft College said. “We have a lot of simulation labs here, we try to bring the work world here and make it as real as possible. They need to understand the real world.”

McGowan said she’s hopeful that collaboration and interventions now will prepare our workforce for the future.

“In this short period of time we’ve had this thing called the internet, 25 maybe 28 years now, we just connected more than half the globe,” McGowan said. “If we can do that, there’s nothing we can’t do. It’s just a matter of getting our priorities right.”

Want more?

View the video of McGowan’s talk and the panel discussion.








Consumers Energy Foundation continues investment in Great Start Collaborative

Content excerpted from a Manistee News Advocate article. Read the full article.

Consumers Energy Foundation has provided a $20,000 grant to the Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative to support early childhood programming in the region.

This continues the foundation’s commitment to investing in early childhood programs through the Great Start Collaborative, marking a total of $174,000 the foundation has awarded to the initiative in the last few years.

The funds will support a variety of early childhood programs in Wexford, Missaukee, Manistee and northern Osceola counties. Among the projects benefitting from the funding are the Wexford-Missaukee Imagination Library, Home Visiting throughout the area, and preschool scholarships in Manistee County.

“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring all Michigan residents have access to world-class educational resources, and supporting Great Start Collaborative through our foundation is an excellent way to develop literacy from a young age,” Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation said. “We’re pleased to open an exciting chapter in the lives of thousands of Northern Michigan children by supporting this effort to inspire them to read.”

The Home Visiting portion of the award will increase the availability of evidence-based home visiting throughout the service which is aimed at increasing school readiness, child health and parent competency.

The preschool scholarship program is a unique program in Manistee County, benefitting seven families in the current year and seeking to grow each year. The program comes out of a collaborative partnership initiated by the Great Start Collaborative and the Manistee County Community Foundation’s community leadership initiative, Launch Manistee, whose focus is to support the success of students from early childhood through adulthood.

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