July 1, 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019

Census 2020: The Citizenship Question

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling on Thursday which blocks the addition of a citizenship question to the Census 2020 form, for now.

As NPR reports, the high court ruled in part due to the “government’s explanation for why it added it in the first place.”

The Supreme Court decision comes after two federal courts in New York and California ruled against adding the citizenship question to the form. In both cases the federal judges cited the specific way Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross handled the process and procedures to include the question and “because its inclusion will materially harm the accuracy of the census without advancing any legitimate governmental interest.”

In the spring, the New York court decision was elevated to the Supreme Court for consideration which led to the final ruling last week.

However, the court’s ruling doesn’t mean the citizenship question won’t come up again in the future. The New York Times reports, “While the question is barred for now, it is at least possible that the administration will be able to offer adequate justifications for it.”

The United Philanthropy Forum, of which CMF is a member, released this statement saying in part, "While not the decision we hoped for to decisively remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census, United Philanthropy Forum commends the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the District Court’s ruling to remand the case to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Given the upcoming census printing deadline, it’s unlikely the citizenship question will become part of the 2020 Census."

Today, July 1, was the original deadline for finalizing the census form. 

“On behalf of the Nonprofits Complete Count Committee (NPCCC), we are very pleased to have this barrier to census participation struck down,” co-chairs of the NPCCC, Donna Murray-Brown, president and CEO, Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and Hassan Jaber, CEO of ACCESS said in a joint statement.

The NPCCC is led by MNA in partnership with CMF. It launched in 2017 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The campaign is supported by more than 40 CMF members and recently received $5 million in appropriations funding from the Michigan Legislature, growing the campaign’s assets to more than $10.4 million.

For the past two years, CMF has advocated alongside philanthropy serving organizations throughout the country in requesting that the federal government not add the citizenship question to the Census 2020 form because it had not been field tested. All questions on the census form to-date have been tested. 

In November, the U.S. Census Bureau released the findings of its own study citing that “the citizenship question may be a major barrier” to participation. Of the 17,500 people who responded to the survey, 37 percent were unsure if the data would be used to locate undocumented individuals and 10 percent believed it would.

As the NPCCC shares, even without the addition of the citizenship question there’s still a lot of work to do before the census launches.

With 10 months to go, census hubs around the state are in full swing, deploying mini-grants to grassroots organizations doing on-the-ground outreach efforts to historically undercounted communities.

Eleven CMF member community foundations are serving or partnering as regional hubs through the NPCCC in their area.

“There’s a lot at stake in Michigan for Census 2020,” Murray-Brown and Jaber said. “If we do not get an accurate census count, we stand to lose billions in federal funding for programs that support our communities and the people who live in them, much-needed upgrades to bridges, roads and the electric power grid, and political representation in Washington. Michigan needs to retain its strong and influential voice in federal government. A complete census count will help us do that.”

Want more?

Connect with the NPCCC.

The United Philanthropy Forum is hosting a webinar today, July 1 at 4 pm for funders interested in a debrief following the Supreme Court's decision.






NEI’s Community of Opportunity

The New Economy Initiative, a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) and supported by a dozen CMF members, has released a new report that provides insights, lessons learned and a look at what’s needed to further power Southeast Michigan’s entrepreneurial network.

The research, supported by the William Davidson Foundation, is a scan of the resources and services available to entrepreneurs in the region.

“A community that retains and attracts residents by valuing people and their ideas is a community of opportunity,” Pamela Lewis, director of NEI said. “Southeast Michigan is a community rich in resources to help people with ideas to start and grow businesses. The more people become aware of these resources and the more efficiently they are able to navigate them, the more resilient our region will become.”

As noted in the scan, “Business support networks help the entrepreneurs they serve to understand the viability of their ideas and identify clear paths to converting those ideas to businesses.”

Data at a glance:

  • Eighty-nine percent of business support organizations serving entrepreneurs are “reliant on foundation grants or public funds.”

  • The research has shown that “intentional investment in equitable and accessible business support organizations (BSOs), primarily by foundations has encouraged inclusive network behavior across the region.

  • Southeast Michigan’s entrepreneurial support network consists of at least 226 BSOs which provide unique resources.

  • BSOs attract entrepreneurs from as far as 100 miles away to utilize Detroit’s resources. About 38 percent of BSOs serve clients in 9 counties throughout Southeast Michigan.

  • In the region there are 37 different types of services offered by BSOs to entrepreneurs. The top services include networking, meeting space, capital, business planning and marketing.

There are several BSOs highlighted in the report which are powered by philanthropy including CMF member Michigan Women Forward (MWF) which provides access to capital, education and training to women entrepreneurs.

TechTown in Detroit, which is supported by several CMF members, is another example of a BSO which helps startups and businesses grow. TechTown provides support with coworking, office space, resources, networking events and more.

The Ferris Wheel in Flint is a successful BSO, as well. It was created through a public-private partnership led by Phil and Jocelyn Hagerman of the Hagerman Foundation and supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The report highlights philanthropy’s role in powering this progress and helping to cultivate an “inclusive network behavior” but the research shows that many BSOs still lack awareness of other available services.

The report calls for greater coordination among BSOs to strengthen the network and accessibility for entrepreneurs to get the assistance they need to be successful.

“Continued investment is required to encourage greater network behaviors among existing business support organizations, whereas declines in investment could result in a culture of scarcity, fragmentation, and competition, rather than one of collaboration.”

The researchers highlight that “increased coordination could improve Detroit startups’ early survival rate of nearly 49 percent which is significantly lower than the national rate of 79 percent.”

As for next steps, the report calls for more research around several key areas to help make data-driven decisions on creating alignment for the region’s entrepreneurial support ecosystem.

“This research affirms that entrepreneurs are being embraced as key contributors to the regional economy. Improving the visibility and coordination of these many resources will amplify their contribution,” Lewis said.

Want more?

Read NEI’s Community of Opportunity.







The State of Impact Investing

We’re getting an update on trends, successes and challenges playing out within the impact investing landscape from the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) annual investor survey.

The update from the field shows that impact investing continues to gain momentum, with more than 13,000 deals made in 2018 by the 266 organizations surveyed and plans to make 15,000 deals this year.

The survey respondents collectively manage $239 billion in impact investing assets, which is estimated to be half of the worldwide impact investing assets under management.

Of the 34 foundations that participated in the global survey, three are CMF members, the Battle Creek Community Foundation, Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The 34 participating foundations reported $643 million in capital invested in 2018 with plans to collectively invest $907 million this year.

“The impact investing industry offers glimmers of an impact-aware future, in the here and now, and we have a lot to be proud of,” Sapna Shah, managing director of GIIN said.

The survey shows that when it comes to assets under management by sector, the top areas for the investors included energy, microfinance, financial services and food, and agriculture.

Additional key findings:

Impact investing continues to grow.

  • While tracking a group of survey respondents from four years ago to now, GIIN learned that the group grew their impact investing assets from $37 billion to nearly $69 billion in that time period.

  • Nearly a quarter of respondents say they made their first impact investment within the last five years.

  • Of those surveyed, respondents say they have seen substantial progress which has helped to grow the industry. This growth includes the availability of research, sophistication of impact measurement and management practice, and availability of financial professionals with relevant skills.

Impact measurement and management is central to investors’ goals and practices.

  • Of those surveyed, 80 percent said their staff is motivated by a desire to work for a mission-driven organization.

  • Nearly all investors measure and manage their impact and about 60 percent track their investment performance aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Impact investors say their performance is in line with financial and impact expectations.

  • More than 90 percent of respondents reported investment performance in line or exceeding both their impact and financial expectations.

  • Approximately 15 percent said their investments have outperformed their expectations since inception.

 “In this ninth year of the survey, it is heartening to see the continued growth of impact investing, year over year, not just due to new investors entering the market but also because existing investors are increasing their allocation of investment assets to impact,” Jennifer Oertel, CMF’s impact investing expert in residence said.

Oertel highlights that the findings around investment performance are particularly telling given common misconceptions “that impact investors have to sacrifice returns.”

Many impact investors say they are committed to helping grow and develop the industry by sharing best practices, supporting the development of businesses and training financial professionals.

Additionally, about 72 percent of respondents said they “have policies in place to ensure that their impact investing practices promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”

While the industry is continuing to grow and develop, the survey shows that challenges remain, as respondents cited a lack of appropriate capital across the risk-return spectrum and a lack of suitable exit options.

“The challenges reported are similar to what we’re seeing in Michigan and for which CMF is actively seeking solutions,” Oertel said. “Also, as reported by respondents, I think CMF members and others across the state are realizing the power of impact investing to benefit their mission in other ways, such as promoting diversity, equity and inclusion as well as working toward attainment of the SDG’s.”

Want more?

Read GIIN’s annual investor survey.

Connect with CMF’s impact investing resources.

Read Jennifer Oertel’s blog, The A to Z of Impact Investing.







Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation provides $1.5 million for fund to support nonprofit capacity building

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has awarded $1.5 million for a fund to support capacity building for nonprofit organizations.

Allandra Bulger, executive director of Co.act Detroit announced the $1.5 million Activate Fund last week.

Co.act is a nonprofit hub dedicated to accelerating collaborative action in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community.

The journey to Co.act Detroit began in 2016 when the RCWJF began extensive research to understand the gaps and needs among the region’s nonprofits.

The RCWJF explored collaborative national models and partnered with TechTown Detroit, the Michigan Nonprofit Association and Michigan Community Resources to develop and launch the concept.

Co.act Detroit opened its doors this year, sharing a space with the RCWJF in downtown Detroit.

As for next steps for the Activate Fund, Co.act will be sharing more information in the coming months about the development of the program and how those funds will be distributed in the community.

You can learn more about Co.act’s model and work as Bulger joins us for a breakout session at CMF’s 47th Annual Conference, October 6-8 in Traverse City.

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