January 18, 2021

Monday, January 18, 2021

National Day of Racial Healing

On Tuesday, communities across the state and the U.S. will come together for essential and timely conversations on racial healing, equity and justice for the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH).

The annual day of recognition is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort, a national, community-based process of transformative, sustainable change, addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has also declared January 19 as the Michigan Day of Racial Healing. Whitmer’s proclamation emphasizes coming together to celebrate our common humanity, building relationships and working together to solve the issues facing Michigan and the nation. The Office of Foundation Liaison helped to facilitate the formal declaration with the governor’s office.

This year’s NDORH offers more opportunities for engagement as events have shifted to a virtual format. In addition to a national livestream event hosted by WKKF on January 19, sites across Michigan will host their own localized events. Michigan is home to four of the 14 TRHT collaborations in the country. The sites in Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing have been working deeply in TRHT efforts, supported by CMF with funding from WKKF.

How you can get involved:

Battle Creek: The Battle Creek Coalition for TRHT is hosting several events on the NDORH, including an online book project and an in-person exhibit on cultivating the community’s racial narrative history timeline. More information can be found on the Battle Creek Coalition for TRHT’s Facebook page.

Detroit: Wayne State University is hosting a virtual National Day of Healing from Racism event, with a focus on self-care to recover from trauma caused by racism. Learn more and register on Wayne State’s website.

Kalamazoo: TRHT Kalamazoo is hosting several events this week in honor of the NDORH. These include a virtual healing experience on January 18, an NDORH celebration on January 19 and a public reading of "From Here to Equality" by William A. Darity and A. Kristen Mullen on January 21. Learn more about all of TRHT Kalamazoo’s NDORH events on its website.

Lansing: TRHT Lansing is hosting a racial healing event focused on relationship building and transforming systems. Learn more and register.

A full list of Michigan NDORH events can be found here.

You can also participate by sparking conversation in your own organization, networks or family by using the Take Action kit or by participating in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #HowWeHeal.

TRHT has also produced a guide for foundations to lead conversations in their communities.

CMF staff will be participating in NDORH as well through an internal facilitated conversation focusing on the role of philanthropy in addressing racism and racial equity.

Want more?

See all Michigan NDORH events.

Learn more about TRHT.




Program Provides Critical Support to Small Businesses in Northern MI

We are getting a first look at data and insights from a program, supported by CMF members, that’s providing support to small businesses in the 10-county region of Northwest Michigan that have been affected by the pandemic.

The Regional Resiliency Program, supported by 16 funders and administered by Venture North, a community development financial institution (CDFI), has released its first report. The program is a collaborative effort that has provided almost $600,000 in funding to nearly 200 small businesses with nine or fewer employees impacted by COVID. The program continues to fundraise to help the 17,000 businesses in the region adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.

The initiative began with a $200,000 grant from Consumers Energy Foundation and since its launch several other CMF members have supported the program including DTE Energy Foundation, Frey Foundation, Leelanau Township Community Foundation, Manistee Community Foundation, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Hagerty, ITC and Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly affected by the pandemic. Since March, the Consumers Energy Foundation has provided nearly $2.5 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations, including Venture North, to provide a lifeline to small businesses,” Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation said. “When Venture North came to us with ideas for expanding services, we saw the opportunity to support them while encouraging other funders to collaborate with us to expand their impact. We are blown away by the incredible impact an initial $200,000 grant can make, as the fund has more than doubled since May.”

Venture North has released a report highlighting the impact of the program in Northern Michigan.

  • Nearly 200 businesses received grant awards through the program. Of those businesses, nearly 70% are owned by women and 12% are owned by military veterans.

  • 67% of program recipients have three or fewer employees.

  • Nearly 40% of the program recipients have been in business for more than 10 years.

  • Among the applicants, over 50% did not receive any federal stimulus support.

“Everyone involved should be proud of what has been accomplished thus far with small businesses that were largely left out of prior federal stimulus support,” Laura Galbraith, executive director of Venture North said. “Much work remains to help those with urgent needs as well as those adapting to operate within COVID-19’s challenges. We will continue support in 2021 toward the stability and future growth of these businesses that are a heartbeat of northwest Michigan’s economy and workforce.”

Want more?

Read the report.

Learn more about the Regional Resiliency Program.




Task Force Recommendations Lead to Criminal Justice Reform

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a series of bills into law to reform Michigan’s criminal justice and jail systems based on recommendations from a statewide task force.

The 20 bills include such reforms as alternatives to jail, expanding officer discretion to issue appearance tickets instead of making arrests and penalties for traffic offenses. The goal of these bills is to keep citizens in their communities and to save taxpayer dollars on incarceration costs.

“Over the last two years, we’ve worked with leaders on both sides of the aisle to make Michigan a national leader on criminal justice reform,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Today proves that it is possible to make tremendous progress to improve our state when we work together to get things done.”

The bipartisan bills were introduced to the Legislature based on recommendations from the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, a group of attorneys, law enforcement officials, lawmakers, victims of crime and formerly justice-involved individuals dedicated to creating a more equitable criminal justice system in the state. As CMF reported, the task force presented 18 recommendations for criminal justice reforms in early 2020.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack led the task force. Gilchrist and Attorney General Dana Nessel—another task force member—participated in the Michigan Safety and Justice Roundtable hosted by the Hudson-Webber Foundation and other key partners in 2018.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of our collective work over the last two years to understand and improve the criminal justice system,” Gilchrist said. “Before Governor Whitmer and I took office, the system didn’t work for families, communities or our state as a whole but we made a conscious effort to make our state a national leader in reform and the results speak for themselves. We must continue to work together to find ways to provide second chances through a smarter, safer and more effective justice system.”

Melanca Clark, president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and CMF trustee, praised the work of the task force and Legislature for working together to make the state’s criminal justice and jail systems more equitable.

“We commend the legislators who passed these bills, as well as the members of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration who, after a year of engagement with communities across the state, proposed these thoughtful and meaningful reforms,” Clark said.

Work is underway around the state to support a more equitable justice system.

The Michigan Justice Fund, a partnership composed of CMF members: the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation and the Ford Foundation, along with the Public Welfare Foundation, was formed to support efforts related to criminal justice, including stemming the number of individuals in jail, alternatives to jail and support for formally incarcerated individuals.

CFSEM, the Hudson-Webber Foundation and the Ballmer Group, all CMF members, recently announced the Community Policing Innovations Fund, further demonstrating how philanthropy is working to advance equity in policing and public safety. The goal of the fund is to provide guidance and support for local communities in partnership with local law enforcement.

“Philanthropy can play a role in supporting the implementation of these and related smart and equitable justice policies that keep our communities safe and reduce barriers to opportunity,” Clark said. “The Michigan Justice Fund was established in 2020 to support such efforts and we invite other funders to join our collaborative and work with partners who will help continue to move our state forward.”

Want more?

Read Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s press release.

Learn more about the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.

View details on the Michigan Justice Fund.

Read about The Community Policing Innovations Fund.

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