July 9, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

CMF Joins New Statewide Education Alliance “Launch Michigan”; Members Discuss Focus Areas, Opportunities for Involvement

CMF members recently gathered in Lansing to learn about Launch Michigan - the new statewide coalition of diverse organizations working together in support of improving student outcomes. The effort is an historic alliance of more than 35 organizations from business, labor, education, philanthropic and state and community leadership partnering around a shared commitment to boost educational excellence for every student, every school and our state, with the goal of ultimately elevating Michigan to the top 10 in the country for education.

“Education is not a partisan issue,” said Paula Herbart, president, Michigan Education Association, representing 140,000 of the state’s teachers, education support professionals and higher education employees. “We are 100 percent committed and proud to be part of this effort to help front-line educators who are experts at teaching and learning provide answers and inform this partnership about what’s needed to help every student learn and succeed, regardless of the zip code they live in.”

The CMF Board of Trustees approved a resolution identifying CMF as a Launch Michigan partner organization at their June 11, 2018 meeting. Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation and CMF Trustee, spoke at the press conference announcing the coalition.

“This collaboration provides a platform for Michigan’s philanthropic community to get behind,” she shared. “If we provide equitable opportunity through our state’s education system, we can produce equitable outcomes and a prosperous future for all. To do so, we must put politics aside and work together to effectively serve children in every corner of our state.”

On June 27, over 30 CMF members gathered in a convening hosted by CMF's P-20 education affinity group to discuss the partnership's work and opportunities for their involvement.

Amber Arellano of Education Trust Midwest and Jen Nelson of Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), two of the Launch Michigan partner organizations, joined Debbie McKeon, senior VP of member services for CMF, in providing an overview of the initiative and framework for the coalition.

“We know that the most effective way for our state to boost the short and long-term wellbeing of its people is to invest in improvements in education,” Arellano has stated. “This new partnership can make a big difference in advancing the pursuit of educational excellence and equity for all Michigan students, and can be a tremendous resource in 2019 when our state has a new governor and many new state lawmakers.”

BLM president and CEO Doug Rothwell agrees. “Robust public education is essential for thriving economies, creating opportunities for everyone and for Michigan companies to fulfill their wishes for hiring top homegrown talent. This work is critical to Michigan being a place that we can all live, work, raise a family and call home.”

Attendees at CMF’s June convening engaged in a deep dive into the Launch Michigan focus areas:

  • Listening to and supporting educators, including leveraging existing research and conducting a statewide educator engagement survey. Participants discussed the importance of understanding what teachers need to be successful, knowing that teacher preparedness and school leadership are two of the most significant indicators of student success.

  • Supporting shared, statewide, research-driven strategies for delivering effective education that serves all students and sticking to those strategies beyond election cycles. One of the key strategies highlighted at the convening was a focus on literacy, particularly third grade reading, as a critical issue for improving student outcomes, building off a February 2018 discussion among P-20 affinity group members.

  • Supporting a fair and comprehensive accountability system that includes everyone who influences education - not just teachers. Conversation focused on how education stakeholders should be held accountable for student outcomes and how to ensure the right things are being assessed. 

  • Elevating public awareness about the current state of education in Michigan and the need for immediate and collective action to improve it. There was dialogue about the need for broader engagement to get input from those involved and impacted by this work, along with tools and strategies to support awareness-building efforts.

Next steps for Launch Michigan have been broken into three phases:

  • Phase 1 (Summer 2018): Launch work groups; develop principles.

  • Phase 2 (Fall 2018 – 2019): Develop blueprint recommendations.

  • Phase 3 (2019 – 2020): Go deeper on equity; analyze and collectively evaluate proposals.

Interested in joining the partnership? You’re encouraged to get involved, particularly now while Launch Michigan is in the beginning stages of its formation. At CMF, we recognized the opportunity to represent members at the table during these early, critical conversations. We hope you will become an active participant alongside us and the 30+ Launch Michigan partners. Please contact Launch Michigan to get started and to learn more.

Discussion about Launch Michigan will continue at the CMF 46th Annual Conference in October 2018 with a session hosted by the P-20 education affinity group.

Want more?

Visit the newly launched official website for Launch Michigan.

Read the Launch Michigan FAQs.





Digging in to Key Components of the 2019 State Budget

The $56.8 billion state budget for 2019 is now approved and signed by Governor Rick Snyder and will take effect October 1. The budget represents an overall .6 percent increase from the previous year.

While much is left to be considered and deliberated about potential work requirements for Medicaid - a federal judge recently threw out Kentucky's new work requirements for Medicaid coverage in a decision that could affect a similar program proposed in Michigan - the new budget has placed a heavy emphasis on child health and wellbeing through family support. With help from analysis provided the Michigan League for Public Policy, we’re looking at some of the biggest shifts in those two areas.

Health and Wellbeing

The “heat and eat” policy was continued, which allows the state to provide $1 in federal energy assistance funding to households receiving food assistance. Last year over half a million children in Michigan benefitted from this program.

The state has agreed to continue providing funding for Healthy Michigan, although ongoing talk of work requirements is a threat to this policy.

The governor removed funding for the 10 Cents a Meal pilot program. The Legislature increased funding for the program by $200,000 to a total of $575,000, allocating $125,000 each to the Northwest, West, East and Southeast Prosperity Regions, and $75,000 to the Southwest region.

Early On, an intervention program that identifies and serves infants and toddlers with developmental delays, will see $5 million in government support. It is the first state funding this program has ever received.

Childcare and Education

CMF advocated in support of a policy change that will take effect in December - In recognition of the fact that few child care providers bill families by the hour, the budget adds $15 million to establish biweekly payments to child care providers. Funding comes from the $65 million federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for the entire state of Michigan.

Students received an increase in funding for school supplies, specifically clothing. The legislature approved a $969,000 increase in the Family Independence Program (FIP) school clothing allowance. Families who qualify can receive up to $156 per child at the beginning of the school year.

Base per pupil spending for Michigan’s students has increased for the next fiscal year by $120 from the previous year, with some districts receiving up to $240. As not all districts receive the same per pupil funding, the largest increases will go to districts currently receiving the lowest payments.

Although overall state funding for adult education has dropped from $80 million to $25 million over the past 17 years, the governor approved a $1 million increase for 2019. He also approved additional funding for career/technical education collaborations, which support the state’s talent and economic development work.Tthe new Marshall Plan for Talent will be funded at $100 million

Want more?

Visit the State’s official website on the 2019 budget.

View the MLPP Budget Analysis.





The 2018 Kids Count Data Book Shows Concerning Trends for Michigan

We’re digging into the state-by-state rankings coming out of the newly published 2018 Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

We’re also exploring the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book led by the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP). The Michigan project is supported by several CMF members, including The Skillman Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Frey Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund and Battle Creek Community Foundation.

Our state ranks 33rd for overall child well-being, dropping from 32nd last year and 31st two years ago. Michigan remains behind all other Great Lakes states while Minnesota maintained its rank of 4th in the country.

In the four categories of health, family and community, economic well-being and education, the overall trend data shows that compared to last year, our state has improved in one category, dipped in two categories and maintained its rank in one category.

(The 2018 data book is reporting on data from 2016 unless otherwise noted.)

Health: Michigan ranks 25th in the country (down from 17th last year).

The data shows 3 percent of Michigan children did not have health insurance in 2016, compared to 4 percent nationally. When it comes to teens abusing alcohol or drugs, Michigan is in line with the national average at 5 percent.

Family and Community: Michigan ranks 30th in the country (down from 29th last year).

The data shows 17 percent of our state’s children lived in high-poverty areas from 2012-2016 compared to 13 percent nationally. Looking back at 2010 data, the number of teen births per 1,000 has dropped significantly – from 30 to 18 in Michigan and from 34 to 20 nationally.

Economic Well-Being: Michigan ranks 31st in the country (ranking unchanged from last year).

A staggering 21 percent of Michigan kids were living in poverty in 2016, down slightly from the 22 percent in 2015 but still higher than the national average of 19 percent.

Michigan did improve in each of four economic well-being indicators compared to 2010 figures, however the 2018 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released by the MLPP reveals that poverty and other economic strains remain a significant problem for Michigan kids. “While the rate of child poverty in Michigan has improved by 11.5 percent since 2010, more than 1 in 5 kids in Michigan - including 42 percent of African-American kids and 30 percent of Latinx kids - still lived in poverty in 2016. Additionally, 31 percent of children in Michigan lived in families without year-round, full-time employment.”

Education: Michigan ranks 38th in the country (an improvement from 41st in 2017).

The percentage of fourth graders who are not proficient in reading moved from 71 percent to 68 percent, however this is higher than the national average of 65 percent. Michigan is also faring worse than the national average in eighth graders not proficient in math (69 percent compared to 67 percent) and high school students not graduating on time (20 percent compared to 16 percent).

New to the Michigan Data Book for 2018 is a trend indicator on college readiness. Alarming data shows that 65.1 percent of students did not meet college benchmarks, and among students who are economically disadvantaged, that number soars to 84 percent.

MLPP Recommendations

MLPP suggests raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old as a top policy change to better serve Michigan kids, citing that kids housed in adult correctional facilities face a higher risk of being physically or sexually assaulted, and are much more likely to recidivate or commit more violent offenses than youth served by the juvenile justice system.

Michigan is one of five states yet to raise the age.

“By passing the ‘raise the age’ bills, lawmakers could make a difference in improving the lives of Michigan’s kids and bettering our state,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, project director, Kids Count in Michigan. “Regardless of their offense, 17-year-olds in our state are being punished for a lifetime, facing traumatic experiences, getting a criminal record and missing out on education and rehabilitation services. However, with age-appropriate treatment, many will have the opportunity to be productive and help strengthen their communities.”

MLPP has outlined four additional recommendations to address issue areas highlighted in the data:

  • Strengthen policies that support work, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Allowing families to keep more of what they earn improves educational and health outcomes for kids.
  • Ensure access to affordable, high-quality child care.
  • Expand home visitation programs to help provide additional support to families, remove barriers that prevent access to prenatal care and reduce risk for child abuse and neglect
  • Provide sufficient funding for early interventions to improve third grade reading using a birth-to-8 framework and adequately fund public schools, targeting resources in high-need areas and fully funding the At-Risk program.

Risks of an Undercount in the 2020 Census

Recognizing the connection between concerns shown in the 2018 data book and ways those challenges can be addressed or further exacerbated, Annie E. Casey Foundation president and CEO Patrick McCarthy highlights in the 2018 data book the “vital importance” of the census and the risks of an undercount in 2020. “The 2010 U.S. Census failed to count almost 1 million children younger than age 5... The decennial census also historically undercounts children of color as well as kids in low-income and immigrant families.” The publication authors go on to explain these children are least likely to have access to the building blocks that foster their success as shown in many of the trends highlighted in the data book, “Yet the programs and services that support children, families and communities facing significant barriers to success are the very ones jeopardized by an undercount.”

Want more?

Read the 2018 Kids Count Data Book.

Check out the Michigan facts from the 2018 Kids Count Data Book.

Explore the MLPP’s 2018 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book.





Member Spotlight: Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation

Prior to 2014, the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation (MMCF) had largely focused their grantmaking efforts on programs and services benefiting masons and the families of masons or contributed matching funds to programs led by individual masonic lodges. However, when the water crisis hit Flint, the 30,000-member statewide foundation decided they wanted to do more to benefit others. MMCF contributed $100,000 from a rarely-used fund to help children overcoming the long-term health effects associated with the water crisis.

The foundation saw the impact of that gift and agreed it was time for a more long-term effort that would expand their outreach.

The first part of that expansion was a partnership with author and journalist Mitch Albom and his S.A.Y. Detroit charities. Walt Wheeler, executive director, MMCF, notes that the foundation spent a year in planning before making a pledge of $5 million over ten years.

“We really liked the work they were doing and that every dollar goes directly to programming,” Wheeler told CMF. The administrative costs of S.A.Y. Detroit are covered entirely through private contributions. 

Wheeler says after learning about the organization’s efforts, MMCF had said the funds could be used for any of their work as desired, but did request the bulk of their contribution go toward the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park, a facility where local children can enjoy high quality programming in the arts and athletics with their commitment to earning a minimum 3.0 GPA.

"The play center has a recording studio, robotics classes, exercise classes and athletic fields donated by professional sports teams,” Wheeler explains. "Before kids can participate, though, they spend an hour with a tutor and have to maintain a certain GPA.” The MMCF members appreciated Albom’s commitment to education first. “He believes that we will never break the cycle of poverty unless children can get an education.”

Wheeler and Board members had the opportunity to see the program in action. “We talked to the kids using the center. It's really making a difference." 

Once that pledge had been established, MMCF was determined to make an impact in even more regions of the state. They developed the B.E.S.T. Grants Program, named for their desire to help Build, Empower, Strengthen and Transform Michigan communities.

MMCF pledged an additional $5 million over 10 years to support charities throughout Michigan who submit an application for a B.E.S.T. grant. In the first two years of implementation, they have supported groups including Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids in Saint Claire Shores, a camp for children with cancer and their families in Traverse City, Whaley Children’s Center in Flint, an animal shelter in the UP, a women’s shelter in Allegan, a community center in Indian River and a play park in Alma for children with special physical needs.

Wheeler has been able to visit nearly all of the organizations that have received grants from MMCF and often brings a board member or a member of the nearby Masonic lodge to join in those experiences.

“It gives you a greater perspective on the really incredible work that people are doing around the state. Some of the organizations we visit are not well known at all and to see the impact that we can have - it's a great feeling. It has been a really positive experience and it’s the right way for us to go.”

Wheeler says the visits have also led to more visibility for the masons at large. “Some people don’t know that the masons still exist. We’re here, we’re making a difference over 200 years after we started in Michigan and we’re going to continue being involved in Michigan communities.”

Want more?

Visit the MMCF website.

Visit the MMCF Facebook page.

News type: