July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Detroit Community Engages in Lessons from 1967

This week marks a pivotal moment in Detroit’s history, the civil unrest of 1967. 

The Detroit Historical Society (DHS) has been instrumental in bringing together diverse voices and community partners to gain insights and to provide a deeper historical perspective on the events of the summer of 1967 through a new exhibit, Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward at the Detroit Historical Museum.

CMF members will experience the Detroit 67 exhibit at our annual conference, Our Common Future, in October, as we will immerse ourselves in the history and lessons that made Detroit the vibrant city it is today.

The civil unrest of 1967 was the largest civil disturbance of the 20th century. It began with a police raid on an unlicensed bar and escalated amid racial tensions, hundreds of people were injured, 43 were killed, there were almost 1,700 fires in the city and more than 7,000 arrests. This all spanned only a few days, July 23-27.

Community outreach, learning opportunities and programming about the events of that summer are an integral component of the Detroit 67 project.

The project is a culmination of two years of convening “diverse groups and communities around the effects of a historic crisis,” utilizing oral histories, community partners and scholars. It’s a multi-year community project supported by several CMF members.

The exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum utilizes technology and media to inform and engage, and seeks to provide a call to action for community members with expertise in social, economic and race relations to lead programs and community conversations. The DHM says it will continue its work to connect the story of the summer of 1967 “and its relevance outside the museum.”

CMF members are supporting placemaking projects, community and arts and culture programming connected to the Detroit 67 project to commemorate the anniversary and to educate the community and continue the conversation around racial healing.

Over the weekend numerous community commemorative events took place in the city to engage Detroiters of all ages in the conversation about what took place in late July of 1967 and where the city is headed now.

Several more community-centered events are planned for this week at city parks, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum (DHM) and the Detroit Institute for the Arts to commemorate the summer of 1967 and “serve as a catalyst for the advancement and sustainability of neighborhoods across the city.”

The Detroit Public Theatre is offering free performances of its play, Detroit ’67, in neighborhoods this week as part of a special city-wide tour, through a grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

DHM shares that the summer of civil unrest spurred growth in activism and community engagement in Detroit, leading to the creation of important community organizations and the election of the city’s first African American mayor.

New Detroit, a racial justice organization and Focus: HOPE were both created in response to the civil unrest in 1967, to address systemic racism and inequities.

New Detroit continues to be a convener and serve as an advocate and forum for community, civic, business and religious leaders to listen and learn about what’s happening in their community. New Detroit recently shared it conducted implicit bias training for the Detroit Police Department.

Focus:HOPE continues working to address systemic issues for Detroiters living in poverty by providing work readiness training, food assistance and education programs.

These are just two examples of the work on-the-ground in Detroit that were created following the summer of 1967, the Detroit 67 Project will share many perspectives on how those events shaped Detroit and where we are headed and work that still must be done.

The DHM shares, “We understand this is a difficult story, but we aim to give history a face and will make our exhibition an experience that moves people and can serve as a catalyst for change.”

In other areas of the state deep work is also underway. CMF recently received $4.2 million in grant support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in support of a statewide Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort which will begin in four cities across the state. 

“Our state’s work will begin in – Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Lansing – and will bring together multi-sector players in each community to collectively advance narrative change, racial healing and relationship building,” Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker, director of policy and practice at CMF said. “Each community brings a unique intention to the work, shaped by local happenings, historic frameworks and public perceptions.”

Want more?

Learn more about Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward.

Check out community events happening this week.

CMF members are invited to experience the Detroit 67 exhibit at our annual conference, Our Common Future, in October.






Part I: Civic Engagement, Advocating in August for Issues that Impact Your Work

Civic engagement and community dialogue can help examine and address issues in the communities we serve and shape policies that affect the economic, health and well-being of our communities.

Participating in civic engagement can include meeting with your legislator to educate them on issues important to your work. The legislators serving and living in your community will be home in August on recess, poised to have such conversations and hear about issues affecting their community.

Are you concerned about what you can and can’t do when talking with legislators? We have a couple of helpful resources, check out Stand for Your Mission (page 4) and the Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook.

We’re sharing key highlights of issues from the federal level in a two-part series that you can share in conversations with your lawmaker this summer. This week, we’re examining policies affecting philanthropic infrastructure, next week we’ll dive into community-centered issue areas.

The Johnson Amendment

The Johnson Amendment has existed in our tax code since 1954, ensuring nonprofit and charitable organizations -including religious organizations - cannot endorse or support political campaigns or candidates. As Nonprofit Quarterly reported earlier this month, a rider that weakens the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment was attached to a piece of legislation, the Financial Services and Government Appropriations Act. The rider essentially defunds IRS enforcement, preventing the government from pursuing violations of the amendment, thereby negating its value. The House Appropriations Committee has approved the bill, with the rider attached. It will now go before the full House for consideration.

More than 4,500 organizations from the charitable sector, along with CMF have signed the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship opposing any efforts to negate the Johnson Amendment.

Talking points
If the Johnson Amendment is weakened or repealed it would:

  • Affect all charitable organizations and nonprofits, including foundations.

  • Have serious effects on transparency and the public’s trust in the social sector, as it could use the nonprofit landscape as a political vehicle.

  • Open the door for charitable organizations to fundraise for candidates and donors may be inclined to seek out nonprofits that specifically align with their own political interests, instead of a shared interest in a cause.

Our action: CMF and its members continue to educate members of Congress about the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Johnson Amendment and oppose any weakening to the long-standing rule, including defunding its enforcement.

Take a deeper dive with our previous coverage.

Tax Reform: Charitable Tax Deduction

Current tax reform proposals would significantly decrease charitable giving, by as much as $13.1 billion. There are two components of the charitable tax deduction that are important to consider in tax reform.  Maintaining the amount of the charitable deduction and the number of people (itemizers) who can utilize the charitable tax deduction. 

Talking points

  • The importance of maintaining the amount of the charitable deduction. It’s estimated about 80 percent of all charitable giving in our country comes from taxpayers who itemize their taxes and use the charitable tax deduction.

  • The number of people (itemizers) who can utilize the charitable tax deduction. If the charitable tax deduction is preserved but the current standard deduction is doubled it would reduce the number of taxpayers who could itemize (from the 33 percent to 5 percent), resulting in a net loss of charitable contributions.

Our action: CMF joins Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, United Philanthropy Forum and countless other philanthropic serving organizations in support of extending the charitable tax deduction to all taxpayers and not just itemizers, which would unlock the potential for increased giving among low and middle-income households, resulting in a gain of $4.8 billion in total giving.

Take a deeper dive with our previous coverage.

CMF will continue to advocate on these issues, as authorized by CMF’s Public Policy Committee and Board of Trustees. Next week we will share key talking points on issue areas such as health care, items within the federal budget and Census 2020.

Want more?

Take another look at the Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook for a refresher on how you can advocate.

Check out the different roles foundations can play in advocacy via Stand for Your Mission (page 4).

Connect with CMF’s policy team: Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker, director of policy and practice and Karista Gallick, public policy fellow.






Inequities Revealed in Bike Sharing Programs

Michigan has rolled out several bike sharing programs, which allow residents to be active, explore their community and have access to additional transportation options. Bike stations are set up in a community to allow residents or visitors to rent a bike off the sidewalk, using an app or paying at a station or online.

Several CMF members are supporting such initiatives in relation to creating vibrant, healthy communities. Bike sharing programs are currently in Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Dearborn, Detroit, Jackson, Midland and Port Huron.

City Lab, has shared another perspective on bike share programs after a study revealed inequities in bike sharing programs, which could help shape bike share programs as they grow in our Michigan communities and communities nationwide.

Through research of public bike sharing programs in several large cities nationwide, the National Institute for Transportation and Transportation Research and Education Center revealed that people of color, lower income adults, females and older adults are underrepresented as users of bike sharing programs.

Yet such communities are poised to benefit the most from a bike sharing program, as the study shares, “Bicycling and bike share have the potential to benefit disadvantaged communities by providing new options for accessing transit and jobs, while also providing an opportunity for recreation and physical activity.”

The study’s findings:

  • About 2 percent of low-income people were members of a bike-share program in their community.

  • While low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color were underrepresented as users of bike share programs, 78 percent said a bike share program would be useful to them.

  • Everyone surveyed in the study lived close to a bike station, within about one-quarter of a mile, therefore researchers say the disparities in usage can’t be solely attributed to where bike stations were placed.

The study identified the following barriers to bike share programs:

  • Lack of information about bike share programs in low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color. More than half surveyed said they didn’t know how much the program cost and even more didn’t know about reduced-price memberships.

  • A lack of payment options (bank and credit cards) for bike share programs in lower income and neighborhoods of color, as those residents had lower rates of having bank or credit cards, a smartphone or reliable internet.

  • Low-income people of color were more concerned that riding a bike would compromise their personal safety, “either as a victim of crime or as a target for police attention.”

  • While nearly half of all people surveyed said they worry about traffic safety, “concerns about safety may be compounded for respondents of color (lower or higher-income), as they were much more likely to cite travel distances as being too far to go by bicycle.”

  • About 47 percent of low-income people of color said not having proper bike gear was a barrier for them to participate in a bike share program.

The study notes there is progress being made in cities throughout the country due to growing partnerships to address these barriers. The Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), supported by the JPB Foundation, works with and provides grants to cities to increase equitable access to bike share programs. Researchers say work is underway in several cities “to launch and test potentially replicable approaches to improve equity outcomes.”

The study also provided recommendations for cities to ensure equitable access:

  • Provide discounted memberships or rates for lower-income residents, short-term passes and free transfers with public transit.

  • Community outreach and education about the bike share program. Provide information about payment options and what bike gear is necessary to participate, Michigan law does not require helmets but they’re strongly suggested.

  • Access to free or low-cost helmets and other bike related gear

  • Develop messaging around the benefits of the bike share program, as lower-income people of color cited getting exercise or saving money on transportation were the biggest motivators to use a bike share program.

What’s happening in Michigan to provide access to bike share programs:

  • BCycle, the bike share program in Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Jackson, lends helmets to riders who don’t have one.

  • In Dearborn and Port Huron, the bike share program Zagster ensures riders without smartphones have access to the system via text message.

  • MoGo Detroit Bike Share provides a reduced annual membership to individuals who receive state assistance.

  • In Midland, an annual pass is about $2.50 per month and the first two hours of every ride are free.

There are several CMF members who are supporting these initiatives in their communities, if you’re interested in connecting with them on the work, please contact CMF.  

The study showed more than 90 percent of those surveyed said having a bike share program is good for the community and there’s growing interest in being connected to the health and cost-savings benefits of such programs.

Want more?

Read the study.

Check out resources from the Better Bike Share Partnership.






Sanilac County Community Foundation unveils new Promise Fund for kindergarteners

Content excerpted from the Sanilac County Community Foundation. Read more here.

The Sanilac County Community Foundation recently unveiled a new long-term savings account initiative for every student in the county who enrolls in kindergarten to promote access to post-secondary education and training.

The community foundation’s Promise Fund automatically gifts an amount of money through the community foundation and its community partners to each kindergartener that can grow through the years through private donations, savings matches and various incentives, allowing the student to use the money for college or trade school expenses.

The community foundation says the goal of the Promise Fund is to increase high school and college graduation rates, inspire a county-wide culture for higher education, support families in saving for college and investing in the county’s future.

“The majority of the students in Sanilac County schools qualify for free or reduced lunches,” Melissa Anderson, executive director, Sanilac County Community Foundation said. “Statistics show that low-income students without a college savings fund of some kind have a college graduation rate of just 7 percent, but low-income students with a college savings fund graduate college at a 33 percent rate.”

The Times Herald reports as many as 500 accounts are expected to be set-up for students within the first year.


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