February 24, 2020

Monday, February 24, 2020

TRHT Kalamazoo Collaborates on City Ordinance to Address Structural Racism in Housing

The Kalamazoo City Commission is expected to meet tonight, February 24, to discuss a proposed ordinance that is aimed at addressing structural racism and inequality in housing.

The city shared that Truth Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo and the Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action (ISAAC) collaborated on the proposal.

TRHT Kalamazoo, hosted by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, is a community-based movement to bring about transformational and sustainable change to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Kalamazoo is one of four TRHT sites in Michigan funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. CMF serves as the coordinator of the Michigan TRHT initiative. 

According to the city, the proposed ordinance would:

  • Eliminate blanket housing rejections for any demographic.

  • Include new protections for people who have been released from the justice system or use housing vouchers or county I.D. cards.

  • Regulate rental housing application fees.

  • Establish a civil rights board to review cases of discrimination.

"Homelessness and affordability are central to the dialogue around housing in our community but a key issue related to this is discrimination," Sholanna Lewis, director of TRHT Kalamazoo at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation said. "If we don't address these systemic issues, people in our community will continue to be at risk of experiencing homelessness and housing instability."

In 2018 the Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE) awarded a grant to community partner organizations in Kalamazoo through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to engage the community and collect data to better understand housing issues. The city says the data collected by TRHT Kalamazoo, the City of Kalamazoo, MDCR, ISAAC Kalamazoo Housing Task Force and the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan through the GARE work “strongly supports the concerns addressed in this ordinance.”

According to the city, if the ordinance is adopted, it would be the first major change to address barriers to housing in the city since protections were added in 2009 for gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The city commission is expected to host its work session tonight at 6 p.m.

“We are encouraging the community to come and share their voice of support and influence on the proposed ordinance changes expanding access to housing in Kalamazoo,” TRHT Kalamazoo shared on its Facebook page.

Want more?

Learn more about TRHT.

Connect with TRHT Kalamazoo.

Check out some of our previous coverage:

TRHT Kalamazoo Team Lead Advocates for School District Resolution on Interactions with Law Enforcement

Police Academy Engages in Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Cultural Awareness Experience






CMF Members Collaborate to Build Capacity for Nonprofits

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund (the Health Fund) and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) have partnered with Washtenaw Coordinated Funders and Catchafire to launch One Michigan, an online platform to give nonprofits access to talent to build capacity.

Launched earlier this month, One Michigan currently provides 590 nonprofits in Southeast Michigan, the Upper Peninsula and other regions access to Catchafire’s online volunteer search platform.

The platform also gives nonprofits access to pro bono consultants and volunteers to assist with fundraising, marketing, technology needs and other operational functions. Funders hope these connections will lead to volunteers and consultants becoming advocates for the organizations they work with through repeated volunteering, donating and serving on boards.

Planning for One Michigan began last fall when the Health Fund partnered with Catchafire to help grant partners build capacity through the online volunteer platform. Since its launch, more than 225 organizations that work on health and health care issues across the state have used the platform.

AAACF is the first CMF member to partner with the Health Fund, a fellow CMF member and Catchafire to support One Michigan.

“We would not have been aware of this opportunity if it were not for the Health Fund reaching out to us,” Christopher Lemon, senior community investment officer for grantmaking and community impact, AAACF said. “The focus on collaboration is often on the final outcomes but what’s also important is the opportunity to collaborate. This gave us access and awareness of something that would not have been on our radar otherwise.”

This collaboration demonstrates Michigan funders coming together to support the needs of nonprofit organizations beyond grantmaking.

"Funders want to support healthy, stable organizations which is a challenge for nonprofits that are pressured to spend every available dollar on program delivery,” Megan Murphy, senior program officer, the Health Fund said. “One Michigan is exciting because as funders we're coming together to go beyond asking for sustainability and actually help achieve it."

Funders hope nearly 3,000 nonprofits may have access to the platform by the end of the year.

The Health Fund and Catchafire will invite additional grantmakers from around the state to make One Michigan available to nonprofits in the communities they serve. The next cohorts for the platform will be launched in April and June.

Want more?

Read more about One Michigan.

For those interested in learning more contact the Health Fund or AAACF.






Progress in Postsecondary Attainment in MI

A new report from the Lumina Foundation shows Michigan’s postsecondary attainment has grown slightly from 45% to 45.5% in one year.

The data shows that our state’s overall rate of educational attainment has increased by 9.9% since 2008. While we are making progress, we are still behind the national average of 48.4% postsecondary attainment which includes certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and graduate or professional degrees.

The Lumina Foundation’s report, A Stronger Nation, calls for closing the gaps in educational attainment linked to race and ethnicity. “Because educational attainment beyond high school has become the key determinant of economic opportunity and social mobility, closing these gaps is crucial,” the report states.

In a recent press release, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office shared that Michigan ranks 33rd nationally for education attainment and is below average in the Great Lakes region. The governor noted the progress shown in the report but says more must be done to help move Michigan forward.

“To build an economy that works for everyone, we need to ensure everyone has a path to a good-paying job,” Whitmer said. “While this report shows Michigan is moving in the right direction toward our postsecondary goal, we must do more to help Michiganders get the skills they need to compete. That's why it’s so important for the Michigan Legislature to pass the bipartisan Michigan Reconnect bills, that will help provide tuition-free skills training and degree programs for adults. Let's work together and let's get it done.” 

Whitmer has been focused on increasing postsecondary attainment.

Michigan Reconnect legislation would establish a financial aid program for students over the age of 25 who are seeking an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate.

Last year the governor also established Sixty by 30, a goal for Michigan to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030.

Recognizing college affordability as a barrier for many, in December, the governor launched the Governor’s FAFSA Challenge. Whitmer asked all Michigan high schools to set a FAFSA completion goal and track data on completion rates. The governor’s office said 90% of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA enroll in postsecondary programs. The challenge ends on March 1 with winners expected to be announced in April.

Want more?

Check out the full report.

Find your county’s postsecondary attainment rate.

Learn more about Sixty by 30.







McGregor Fund Announces Grants for Skill Building and Employment

The McGregor Fund recently announced five grants totaling $790,000 to Detroit-based organizations that provide job training, employment and other services to young adults and job seekers.

These grants are part of the McGregor Fund’s focus on skill building and employment, which supports opportunities for adults and teens living in poverty to increase and broaden their job opportunities. To date, the fund has awarded more than $4 million in grants in this area.

The fund’s recent grantees include:

Last year, CMF reported on the fund’s support of the Supporting Job Seekers Facing Multiple Barriers to Work report, which highlights resources as well as challenges facing those seeking employment in Detroit. The report found that the most common barriers job seekers face in obtaining employment are housing, transportation and childcare, while the most effective strategies for career support are coaching and assistance with the needs listed above.

Want more?

Read about the McGregor Fund’s Skill Building and Employment grants.

Check out the Supporting Job Seekers Facing Multiple Barriers to Work report.

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