February 5, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Report Examines Racial Disparities and Health Inequities

A new report, inspired by the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort led by W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is diving into health inequities facing our communities and recommendations to overcome them.

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released the brief: Racial Healing and Achieving Health Equity in the United States in conjunction with TRHT’s recent National Day of Racial Healing.

The brief examines health disparities and inequities that exist, stating in part, “The causes of health inequities are multifaceted and often intertwined with lower socioeconomic status, differential access to opportunities and other factors that influence health, such as quality health care, income, education, housing, transportation and others, sometimes referred to as the ‘social determinants of health.’”

Data highlights from the brief include:

  • People living in low-income communities have a higher risk of less healthy behaviors as they may not have access to neighborhoods where they can be physically active or enjoy nearby fresh supermarkets

  • Low-income communities may also have a higher rate of air pollution which affects all ages

  • African Americans and Hispanics were more likely than whites to report poor communication from healthcare providers, including experiencing implicit bias in health care

  • Health inequities are costly. Diabetes rates among African Americans and Hispanics are 1.5 times higher than for whites. The data shows the differences in the rate of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes, among African Americans, Hispanics and whites cost the health care system nearly $24 billion a year.

  • African Americans have the highest rates of death and shortened survival rates for most cancers than any other racial or ethnic population in the country

  • African American children have the highest rate of lead poisoning

The brief provides policy recommendations that could address these disparities and inequities and move our communities toward achieving health equity for all.

Highlights of TFAH’s recommendations for action include:

  • Expand cross-sector collaborations addressing health equity. Engage a wide range of partners, such as schools and businesses, to focus on improving health through better access to high-quality education, jobs, housing, transportation and economic opportunities.

  • Fully fund and implement health equity, health promotion and prevention programs in communities. Partner with a diverse range of community members to develop and implement health improvement strategies. The brief says that proven, effective programs, such as the CDC’s REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) should be fully-funded and expanded.

  • Collect data on health and related equity factors, including social determinants of health by neighborhood. Improve data collection at a very local level to understand connections between health status and the factors that impact health to help identify concerns and inform the development of strategies to address them. Collecting and reporting data by neighborhood at a zip code or even more granular neighborhood level is essential.

  • Communicate effectively with diverse community groups. Federal, state, local and tribal officials must design culturally competent, inclusive and linguistically appropriate communication campaigns that use respected, trusted and culturally competent messengers to communicate their message.

  • Prioritize individual and community resiliency in health emergency preparedness efforts. Federal, state, local and tribal government officials must work with communities and make a concerted effort to address the needs of low-income, minority and other vulnerable groups during health emergencies. Communication and community engagement must be ongoing to understand the needs of various populations.

  • Eliminate racial and ethnic bias in healthcare. Policies should incentivize equity and penalize unequal treatment in healthcare, and there should be increased support for programs to increase diversity in and across health professions. There should also be increased efforts to train more healthcare professionals from under-represented populations so that the workforce reflects the diversity of the patient population.

These are just a few of the recommendations that TFAH says could create a more inclusive and equitable system for all. TFAH shares how this work connects to the TRHT framework and approach.

“Among the many aspects of TRHT is the need to address serious racial and ethnic health inequities — and the causes that contribute to them. Good health is essential to ensuring everyone is able to live a high-quality life, be engaged with their families, communities and workplaces, and have the opportunity to flourish and thrive in everything they do,” the brief states.

CMF is supporting the Michigan TRHT effort, through a $4.2 million grant from WKKF, which is currently underway in four Michigan communities, Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing. The four TRHT communities have been working deeply in the TRHT community-based process, hosting community events, healing circles and engaging in deep dialogue.

Want more?

Read the full brief.

Learn more about TRHT.

Connect with CMF’s Health Funders Affinity Group.







The Census Questions: Why They Matter and What Was Proposed

As preparations are underway for an upcoming “dress rehearsal” for Census 2020, (there’s only one planned for now due to underfunding on the federal level), decisions are being made right now that could affect an accurate and equitable count in the upcoming census.

The latest news from D.C. is that the Census Bureau’s recommendation regarding adding a combined race and ethnicity question on the census form in 2020 and a new category for those who identify as Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) will not be accepted.

The Census Bureau researched and recommended changes after their numbers showed that nationally Hispanics were undercounted by 1.5 percent and non-Hispanics were overcounted by .8 percent, leading to inaccurate information about populations and the needs of communities which inform decisions about federal funding.

“The Census Bureau has invested years of research and testing, costing millions in taxpayer funds, to determine how to improve the collection of these data for the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau staff had recommended that the 2020 Census use a combined question that yielded higher quality data and more complete responses from respondents, resulting in budget savings during the decennial enumeration,” Arturo Vargas, executive director, The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund said. “The decision to ignore years of research and the expert advice of scientists is a blow to science and the collection of the best data possible.”

As CMF has reported, census data helps determine how more than $600 billion in federal funding will be spent on critical federal programs, such as food assistance, housing vouchers, Head Start, healthcare and much more. This data also helps shape economic development projects as businesses use it to help determine where they should locate or expand.

Without the change:

  • People will have the same options as before of selecting one of the following categories: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White.

  • There will remain a separate “ethnicity” category which provides Hispanic or Latino categories.

Potential implications:

The Wall Street Journal reports, “The Census Bureau said its tests showed the revision to the race and ethnicity portion would improve accuracy and lower costs, as more people completed the combined race/ethnicity question than in the previous format. When people don’t complete surveys, the bureau must follow up, either by phone or in person. As a last resort, the bureau must fill in missing information using statistical formulas based on similar households nearby.”

The Leadership Conference’s report: Collecting Race and Ethnicity Data in the Census shares that, “many civil rights advocates have urged the Census Bureau and OMB to create a new, separate ethnicity for Americans of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent, who currently are defined as ‘white’ in the OMB Standards.”

Fast facts about the importance of a complete count for Michigan:

  • Michigan stands to lose an estimated $1,800 of federal funds per year for every person who isn’t counted.

  • Michigan’s state budget is comprised of approximately 40 percent federal funding, which means Michigan relies more on federal funding than any state in the country other than Mississippi. 

  • Census data is used to reapportion the 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats among the states. In 2020 Michigan could lose a congressional seat, resulting in a decrease in the number of seats Michigan has in the Electoral College.

As CMF has reported, there are efforts underway in Michigan to encourage a complete count, with the launch of Michigan Nonprofit Association’s (MNA) 2020 Michigan Nonprofit Counts Campaign. With startup funding from W.K. Kellogg Foundation and support from CMF, the campaign will work with nonprofits to support on-the-ground outreach efforts within historically hard-to-count populations to ensure a complete count in Census 2020.

Later this month, MNA will convene the inaugural meeting of the Nonprofit Complete Count Committee, comprised of grass top organizations serving hard-to-count communities. CMF staff member Debbie McKeon will serve on this committee.

“The Nonprofit Complete Count Committee will provide guidance for the campaign, and individual representatives of the committee will educate their networks on the census and mobilize their members to take the lead in get-out-the-count efforts in their local communities,” Joan Gustafson, external affairs officer, MNA said.

CMF is part of the Forum’s Census 2020 Project, through a grant from the Joyce Foundation, the project is aimed to educate philanthropy about the census, increase funding support for the census and mobilize funders to advocate for policy improvements for the census.

Want more?

Connect with the Michigan Nonprofit Counts Campaign.

Check out Census 2020 resources from United Philanthropy Forum.







New Environmental and Infrastructure Initiatives for MI

As he mentioned in his recent State of the State Address, Governor Rick Snyder unveiled five new initiatives last week focusing on addressing environmental and infrastructure issues in our state.

Snyder announced new work which will zero in on increasing access to rural broadband; reduce waste and generate funding for critical environmental programs; battling invasive species such as Asian Carp; and improving our water infrastructure.

We’re highlighting these initiatives as they intersect with issue areas supported by Michigan philanthropy around the state.

Expanding Access and Connectivity to Rural Broadband

Snyder signed off creating the Michigan Consortium for Advanced Networks, which is a new work group directed to establish a roadmap to help strengthen statewide broadband access and connectivity.

The consortium will:

  • Identify gaps in broadband service coverage and capacity

  • Examine current efforts underway to address connectivity issues

  • Explore key strategies and recommendations for the state and private sector to pursue to achieve enhanced connectivity

The consortium will consider recommendations provided by Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission’s report and present a plan by August 1.

As CMF reported in December 2016, the Infrastructure Commission’s report said that about a half million Michigan households lack access to advanced broadband service. Nearly 27 percent of Michigan households have access but don’t subscribe at all to broadband service.

One of the commission’s recommendations was to improve broadband access and adoption through technical assistance, digital literacy education and more.

Renew Michigan’s Environment

Snyder announced the Renew Michigan's Environment proposal which would replace the expired Clean Michigan Initiative Bond, focusing on our growing landfill issue and further incentivizing recycling. 

Snyder’s office says that Michigan has one of the lowest recycling rates in the nation, recycling only 15 percent of our waste. Coupled with that, Michigan also has the lowest fee for disposing of waste in landfills in the Great Lakes basin, which has resulted in 17 million tons of trash being disposed of annually in our state, 25.5 percent of which comes from other states and Canada.

To address this waste in our landfills, Snyder is proposing an increase to the current landfill dumping fee from 36 cents per ton to $4.75 per ton, for perspective, other Midwest states charge as much as $13 per ton.

The proposed increase in Michigan would cost the average household $4.75 a year and generate $79 million a year to fund programs that will:

  • Clean up 300 existing contaminated sites annually, across all 83 counties

  • Address emerging contaminants (PFAS, vapor intrusion)

  • Enhance solid waste planning for local governments.

  • Provide recycling grants to local entities for recycling infrastructure, market development and education

  • Monitor beaches to keep them clean

  • Reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie

  • Remove contamination in rivers, lakes and streams

  • Address critical infrastructure needs to serve the park system’s 27 million visitors annually.

Great Lakes Basin Partnership

Snyder also announced the creation of a new Great Lakes Basin Partnership to Block Asian Carp that will commit strategic and financial resources to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP). His office said the partnership will offer a combination of solutions to reduce the risk of invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Experts say invasive carp in the Great Lakes could harm our $7 billion fishing industry.

The new partnership seeks to address an $8 million gap in funding needed to operate and maintain an improved system.

Increasing Investments for Water Infrastructure

Snyder shared a proposed plan that would invest $110 million into our water infrastructure every year.  According to the governor’s announcement, the plan would implement an affordable assessment on public water supply systems to generate the $110 million that would help fund several critical areas.

These include funding for:

  • Grants for local infrastructure improvements (such as lead service line replacement)

  • Low-interest and forgivable loans for other local capital improvements

  • Grants for communities and systems in financial need with emerging water or sewer failures.

  • Fund asset management plans for drinking water wastewater and stormwater systems

  • Local data collection, materials inventory, and training needs


On Friday, Snyder announced an executive order requiring all state of Michigan facilities to provide on-site recycling opportunities, as well as the launch of Re:Source, an initiative that's aimed at tripling Michigan’s recycling rate. 

The intiative:

  • Creates a statewide recycling education campaign to address Michigan’s extremely low recycling rate

  • Updates Michigan’s solid waste laws to encourage recycling

  • Increases recycling opportunities at state facilities, parks, and rest areas

The governor is expected to present his proposed 2018-2019 state budget this week. CMF will share highlights of the budget. 

Want more?

Learn more about the Renew Michigan’s Environment proposal.

Check out the plan for further investment in our water infrastructure.







Rotary Charities of Traverse City increases equitable access to the waterfront

This month we’re sharing the newest video from our rural philanthropy video series featuring Rotary Charities of Traverse City.

Rotary Charities entered into a collaborative effort with multiple organizations to operate a campus at the Discovery Center and Pier, focusing on history, education, recreation and stewardship for the community.

After several years, Rotary Charities had the opportunity to buy the nearby abandoned coal dock from the city of Traverse City.

“We were really interested in taking down the barbed wire that had been there for so many years and letting people out on to the pier,” Marsha Smith, executive director, Rotary Charities of Traverse City said.

They used $1 million toward the purchase of the coal dock, further transforming the area and providing greater public access to the water.

“Providing folks access to the water, who don’t have access to the water and to programs which will help teach them how to sail on the water, all those kinds of nonprofit community benefit things that we’re going to provide here are very different than a government or even a commercial marina could provide,” Smith said.

Check out their story in our newest video!

This video is the latest in our rural philanthropy video series featuring innovative work underway by members serving rural communities.

The CMF Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group led the development of this series, so members can learn from their peers about the creative and innovative solutions happening in Michigan’s rural places to improve the lives of its residents.

Each month CMF will share a new story from a foundation working in a range of areas. Stay tuned for next month as we share a story from Pennies from Heaven, a CMF member working in Mason County.

Watch January’s video: Sturgis Area Community Foundation

Join the Rural Philanthropy Affinity Group for a convening on March 1 at the Fremont Area Community Foundation!

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