June 19, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Michigan Slides in Child Well-Being Rankings

We’re seeing concerning trends coming out of new national data. Michigan’s rankings in several child well-being categories are worse this year than last year, that’s according to the new 2017 Kids Count Data Book, released last week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

These latest numbers show that our state ranks 32nd in the country for overall child well-being, sliding from 31st place last year, and still behind all other Great Lakes states. For perspective, Minnesota ranks 4th in the country for overall child well-being.

This year our state has dipped in four of the five categories, with family and community remaining unchanged, unlike last summer when CMF reported our state improved in three categories.

Michigan’s rankings include:

  • Health: Michigan ranks 17th in the country (down from 14th in 2016).

    • The data shows 3 percent of children did not have health insurance in 2015. While our ranking went down, the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) says, “A bright spot for Michigan is the percentage of children with health insurance.” Michigan continues to work towards ensuring access to health care for children and offers several programs, including U-19, a Medicaid health care program for low-income children and MIChild, which has a higher income limit than U-19 and other programs.

  • Family and Community: Michigan ranks 29th in the country (ranking unchanged from 2015 and 2016).

    • The data shows 17 percent of children lived in high-poverty areas from 2011-2015.

  • Economic Well-Being: Michigan ranks 31st in the country (down from 28th in 2016).

    • The data shows 22 percent of Michigan kids were living in poverty in 2015. However, taking a closer look at the data in this category, we’re seeing improvements in the number of children living in poverty, those whose parents lack secure employment and children living in households with a high housing cost burden.

  • Education: Michigan ranks 41st in the country (down from 40th in 2016).

The MLPP is calling on our lawmakers and the state to use “two-generation strategies using a racial equity lens to help all kids and their families thrive.”

MLPP provided the following recommendations to address the issue areas highlighted in the report:

  • Improve access to prenatal care. As CMF reported from the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book in April, 31 percent of Michigan mothers didn’t receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy.

  • Ensure access to high-quality, affordable childcare and support raising eligibility levels for state child care subsidies. As CMF reported earlier, child care costs absorbed 38.3 percent of 2016 minimum wage earnings. CMF's P-20 Education affinity group, Public Policy Committee and Board of Trustees authorized that CMF take a position on child care subsidies, view the policy recommendations here. CMF will be proactive in educating state legislators regarding the importance of high-quality child care and the policy positions that support the improvement of our current programs.

  • Invest in approaches and strategies to improve education outcomes, using a birth-to-eight framework. Several CMF members are supporting early childhood education initiatives and programs to set young children up for success.

  • Lawmakers should restore Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent of the federal credit, it’s currently at 6 percent. The MLPP shares that at current levels the average credit is $143, if restored it would be $477, saying it “promotes work and reduces the need for public assistance, helping families take steps toward self-sufficiency.”

“While the importance of early childhood education and the need to improve third-grade reading proficiency have both received more attention lately in Lansing, the state clearly needs to take a more comprehensive approach to turn around our dismal ranking,” Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the MLPP said.

Want more?

Read the 2017 Kids Count Data Book.

Check out the quick Michigan facts from the 2017 Kids Count Data Book.

Read the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book.






Will New Legislation Help MI Thrive?

Michigan now has new legislation in place that’s aimed at reducing barriers to redeveloping empty buildings and vacant lots to further economic growth in our communities.

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed the MI Thrive package of bills. The governor's office shared that “the new legislation will help transform communities across the state by providing the tools necessary to offer incentives to investors, enabling them to redevelop empty brownfield sites (sites of former factories or old buildings) and create vibrant communities where Michiganders can live, work and play.”

It’s estimated it could unlock up to $5 billion in new private investments in communities across Michigan, create new jobs and economic growth.

A broad coalition of Michigan economic development organizations, business leaders, cities and chambers of commerce have been advocating for this legislation through the Michigan Thrive Initiative.

The MI Thrive Initiative said the issue has been that brownfield sites across Michigan may include contaminated land, empty factories or vacant malls and it costs too much to redevelop them, therefore they need a tool to make the financing possible.

The governor’s office says the new bill will do just that by allowing the “redevelopment project to capture state sales and income taxes generated from the construction activities on-site and up to 50 percent of the state income taxes generated from new jobs and residents within the completed development.”

The Midland Daily News reports “because these sites were not producing any revenue to begin with, everyone benefits,” noting that the risk falls on the developer and not taxpayers.

These projects must go through an approval process and qualify as a transformation project, meaning the minimum investment in Michigan’s smallest communities is $15 million to $500 million in Detroit.

Supporters of MI Thrive say it’s not just about our urban areas, the finalized legislation is designed to support development in our rural communities, including requiring that 35 percent of projects must be located in smaller communities. The minimum investment would be waived for communities with less than 100,000 people.

“We are fortunate to have good partners at a state level that have worked with us to take legislation that was unusable in northern Michigan and craft it in a way that allows our rural communities to use it as a tool to transform our areas most challenging properties into mini-economic engines,” Kent Wood, director of government relations for the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance wrote in a column.

The governor’s website also shared 15 potential projects from the UP to the lower mitten that could benefit from the new legislation, including:

  • Sault St. Marie: A mixed-use downtown development is envisioned to draw in tourists in the future, many of the sites have vacant lots and buildings that could now potentially be redeveloped through the new legislation.

  • Petoskey: Redevelopment of the vacant block called “The Hole” has been stalled for years.

  • Pontiac: The Silverdome site could be transformed through the new legislation into a mixed-use development.

As for other unused assets that could provide future benefits to our communities, the governor officially signed the Community Foundation Act into law last week.

As CMF reported last month, the act allows for the income from the sale of unused assets by local government, public schools and public libraries, such as real estate and closed school buildings to be transferred and invested in an endowed fund at a community foundation. The Community Foundation Act will go into effect August 21.

Want more?

Check out the MI Thrive five-bill package signed by the governor.

Learn more about the MI Thrive Initiative.






Celebrating 25 Years of YACs

Community foundations’ youth advisory councils (YACs) bring a new perspective to community giving, passionately working in grantmaking that impacts their communities. On Friday, we will see that passion and energy take the stage at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant as nearly 300 YACers and their advisors from around the state kick off the 2017 Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Youth Conference.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the youth conference, with the theme Momentum: Reflect. Capture. Grow. The Michigan Community Foundations’ Youth Project (MCFYP) and CMF are celebrating the major milestone with a youth philanthropy birthday bash that will offer a weekend full of learning and sharing opportunities.

As we get ready for Friday, we’re taking a retrospective look at our YACs and what the data tells us about them now.

How it all began

Between 1991 and 1997, as a result of the Kellogg Youth Challenge grant, managed by CMF, 84 endowed youth funds overseen by youth were created at every community foundation and affiliate across the state.

The grant launched the Michigan Community Foundations’ Youth Project (MCFYP), creating the first YACs.

In 1992, we hosted the first youth leadership conference, furthering YAC growth.

In 1999, MCFYP went from bringing together YACers from around the country to a global presence, with YACers traveling around the world as a youth delegation.

The momentum of MCFYP and our YACs led to many big initiatives over the years, from grantmaking lessons to the creation of Learning to Give and seeing our first two YACers become community foundation CEOs.

“The best thing about our YAC is the ripple effect,” Paula Trentman, program manager and YAC advisor at Lenawee Community Foundation said. “My kids go off into the world ready to give back with their time, talent, and treasure. These kids become philanthropists in any community they call home.”

Fast facts about Michigan YACs from the latest YAC Data Book:

  • YAC grantmaking has exceeded $33 million since YACs were created.

  • Each YAC made an average of 15 grants in 2016.

  • 95 percent of YACs participated in community service activities during the 2015-16 school year.

  • 544 new YAC members joined in the 2015-16 school year.

  • Top five issue areas they’re focusing on include: substance abuse, stress and pressure to succeed, bullying, mental health and education.

  • 41 youth (ages 16 and 17) serve as full voting members on their community foundation’s board of trustees.

“Our YACs are a strong connection and liaison for the youth community in our region,” Christine Hitch, marketing communications director and YAC advisor at the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan said. “Not only are they the decision makers on grants that support other kids in their community; they are also helping our staff and our board to have a greater understanding of the youth needs in northeast Michigan.”

This weekend we’ll celebrate a culmination of 25 years of youth philanthropy and look to the future as our YACers continue to impact Michigan and beyond.

Want more?

Follow MCFYP on Twitter for live updates from the conference all weekend-long.

Check out the 2016 YAC Data Book. Data is currently being gathered for the 2017 YAC Data Book, CMF expects to share the findings with you by late summer.






Three CMF members partner to address Michigan’s opioid epidemic

Content excerpted from WLUC-TV. Read the full article here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), the BCBSM Foundation, The Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan are partnering to provide $455,000 to battle the opioid epidemic in Michigan.

The three CMF members are supporting the Taking Action on Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse in Michigan by Supporting Community Responses Initiative.

This program will support evidence-based programs and projects in as many as seven coalitions formed in Michigan communities over 18 months to identify and implement strategies to prevent opioid abuse.

The coalitions will be comprised of medical, public health and other community organizations.

“We look forward to supporting programs and research that will have a lasting, positive impact on the individuals and families who are affected by substance abuse and addiction in our state,” Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the BCBSM Foundation said.

“Addressing the excess morbidities and mortalities associated with this epidemic aligns with our 35-year-history of improving health care for Michigan residents.”

BCBSM is accepting applications for coalitions seeking grant support through June 28.

Want more?

Read CMF’s latest update on the opioid epidemic.

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