June 3, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

Major Announcements from the Island

On Friday, ferries departed Mackinac Island carrying business, education, civic and philanthropy leaders back to shore following the wrap up of the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

As CMF has reported, at least seven of the sessions at the conference featured CMF members sharing insights, discussing partnerships and their work. Investments and strategies to improve outcomes for all Michigan students in education, investing in local communities and ensuring a complete count for Michigan in Census 2020 were among the topics in the spotlight.

In case you missed this year’s conference, we’re highlighting a few major philanthropy-related announcements that were shared.

During a panel on aligning early childhood and K-12 educational systems, The Kresge Foundation, PNC Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced $2.5 million in joint grants to support improvements in early childhood care facilities in Detroit neighborhoods as part of an expansion of the Learning Spaces program.

The Learning Spaces effort is part of Hope Starts Here, a citywide engagement process that has created a framework for coordinated, high-quality early childhood systems for Detroit children focusing on priorities like facilities quality and maternal and child health, among others. In 2016, Kresge and WKKF partnered together to launch Hope Starts Here.

The new Learning Spaces grants support the nonprofit organization IFF, a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income communities and people with disabilities. 

The $2.5 million in joint grants will:

  • Support IFF’s work in Detroit neighborhoods by improving the quality of early childhood education facilities, providing targeted technical assistance and addressing specific needs of providers who would like to offer extended or after-hours care.

  • Continue the citywide efforts to target 10 to 12 high quality, home-based and center-based licensed early childhood education providers operating across Detroit.

  • Help fund work citywide and specifically in the Livernois-McNichols area, as well as strategic investments in the Brightmoor area.

Another announcement from the island came from Launch Michigan, the statewide coalition of diverse organizations, including CMF, who are working together in support of improving student outcomes.

Launch Michigan announced that it is building a research and data-based playbook of recommendations to improve Michigan’s pre-K-12 education system.

The playbook is expected to be given to the governor and the Legislature by December 1.

This news came following a panel discussion on Michigan’s education crisis featuring the Launch Michigan co-chairs: Tonya Allen, president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation, Doug Rothwell, president and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan and Paula Herbart, president, Michigan Education Association.

During the panel the co-chairs shared the coalition’s three current goals:

  • Become the fastest improving state for student performance.

  • Close the achievement gap between different groups of students.

  • Ensure that graduating high schoolers are prepared for careers or college.

“This is all of our responsibility. We all allowed this to happen and it is going to take all of us being accountable from every sector in terms of improving it,” Allen said. “We cannot wait any longer.”

While at the conference, CMF corporate members DTE Energy and Consumers Energy announced a $15 billion commitment to grow Michigan businesses, with a focus on diversity.

According to the governor’s office, both companies committed to increasing supplier diversity, which includes suppliers that are more than half owned by people of color, women, veterans or those who identify as LGBTQ.

“Expanding opportunities for the diverse range of business owners right here in Michigan is critical to ensuring the success of our state,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “I applaud DTE and Consumers Energy for their tremendous support of Michigan suppliers.”

Want more?

View recorded coverage of the sessions at the Mackinac Policy Conference.







The State of Michigan’s K-12 Education System

The Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan, data-driven education policy, research and advocacy organization, has released Opportunity for All, its 2019 report on the state of Michigan education.

The new analysis shows where Michigan is still struggling when compared to the rest of the nation and provides a road map to help our state improve outcomes for all students.

“There is a growing consensus among K-12, civic and business organizations on how to move the preschool-through-12th-grade public system forward,” Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest said. “We’re encouraged and energized by these efforts. Still, we have a long way to go to make Michigan a top education state by 2030.”

Data at a glance:

  • Michigan is currently ranked 35th in the country for fourth grade reading proficiency. The report states that if transformational policies aren’t adopted our state is projected to rank 45th out of 50 states in fourth grade reading by 2030.

  • Michigan is ranked in the bottom five in early literacy for African American students.

  • Our state is ranked 33rd in eighth grade math proficiency. The report shares that our eighth graders have shown little improvement compared to leading education states that use evidence-based practices, such as Tennessee and Massachusetts.

  • Michigan is among the bottom five states in the country when it comes to math proficiency among low-income students.

  • When it comes to kindergarten readiness our state hasn’t yet implemented an assessment system. However, the report shares that smart investments in Michigan’s early childhood education have helped to boost 4-year-old enrollment in pre-K programs between 2012 and 2018 from 19.4 to 32 percent.

  • Michigan ranks 43rd in the country for school funding equity.

  • Michigan teachers face more than a $9,700 average salary gap between our state’s highest income and lowest income districts.

While performance and opportunity gaps remain in our state, Arellano writes in part, “There is a deepening commitment among leaders across sectors to make public education in Michigan a real priority again.” Governor Gretchen Whitmer has named education as a top priority, the Michigan Department of Education has adopted a framework for our state and Launch Michigan, the statewide coalition of diverse organizations, including CMF, who are working together in support of improving student outcomes is getting consensus on “how to move the P-12 public system forward in new ways.”

The analysis provides a comprehensive road map on strategies our state can leverage to create transformational change in our education system by 2030.

Highlights of recommendations include:

  • Provide all Michigan teachers and principals with high-impact professional development opportunities that are focused on the nation’s most up-to-date practices in reading instruction.

  • Implement a high-quality, common statewide assessment of kindergarten readiness that evaluates how well students are being prepared for kindergarten and identifies students in need of additional academic and developmental support early.

  • Revamp Michigan’s funding formula to systemically prioritize equitable funding to address the funding gap between its highest poverty and lowest poverty districts so that all schools and districts can meet the needs of their students.

  • Increase compensation and improve conditions and support for teachers who work in districts with the highest needs while also addressing the gap between average teacher salary in higher-income and lower-income districts.

  • More effectively support early-career and struggling teachers.

  • Invest in grant programs that help low-income students cover the full cost of attending two- and four-year colleges and universities, including non-tuition expenses.

  • Enhance Michigan’s statewide postsecondary attainment goal by setting specific, separate and trackable attainment goals for students of color, as well as identifying plans and strategies for how the state will attain those goals.

There are many recommendations on how to better support our teachers, their professional development and effectiveness through evidence-based strategies that align with much of what Michigan educators shared in Launch Michigan’s statewide educator survey earlier this year.

“There is no greater opportunity available to improve learning and outcomes for our children than to encourage and methodically prepare educator talent and leadership,” Julie Ridenour, president, Steelcase Foundation and member of Launch Michigan said.

Want more?

Read the full report.

Connect with Launch Michigan.







MI Launches Justice for All Taskforce

The Michigan Supreme Court recently announced the launch of a new taskforce aimed at increasing access to our civil justice system for all Michigan residents.

The Justice for All Taskforce will assess resources in the state and identify gaps that may be barriers for residents, particularly low-income residents, when it comes to dealing with civil legal concerns such as health insurance, veterans’ benefits, child custody and landlord issues.

The 16-member taskforce is comprised of stakeholders within the community, court and legal system. The taskforce includes Martha Gonzalez-Cortez of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and Sonja Bonnett, a community legal worker with the Detroit Justice Center, which is supported by some CMF members. The taskforce will further engage and seek input from community stakeholders in workgroups, surveys and focus groups.

“From a community foundation perspective our priorities are always local but the reality is for the people in our local communities the health and well-being and access to justice are key issues that need to be addressed at the state level,” Gonzalez-Cortes said. “This is an exciting opportunity to bring local voice and perspective into the conversation as we reimagine our efforts to access to justice on the state level.”

Jennifer Bentley of the Michigan State Bar Foundation (MSBF), a CMF member, is serving on the taskforce and participating on the planning team.

“In Michigan, the civil legal aid community, the court, the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan State Bar Foundation have a history of collaborating to implement innovative solutions to help more individuals who face civil legal problems,” Bentley said. “The work of the taskforce will assess and build on these efforts, bring in additional community stakeholders, and create a comprehensive plan. By taking an integrated approach and broadening partnerships across sectors, I believe that we can create a system in which everyone in Michigan has access to meaningful and effective assistance for their civil legal needs.”

According to the Michigan Supreme Court, national data shows that more than seven out of 10 low-income households reported at least one civil legal problem in a year and almost all received inadequate or no legal help.

The MSBF recently shared in a blog: “Everyone deserves equal justice under law, but the reality is wealth and power have the advantage in civil courts. Most people will have a problem like a divorce, or wrongful treatment by a landlord or debt collector and need a legal solution or advice. But millions will lose their cases in civil court, not because they’ve done something wrong, but because they don’t have the information or legal help they need. 

In its blog post, MSBF shared information about the launch of a national campaign, All Rise for Civil Justice, which will serve as a hub for civil legal aid and civil justice reform. The project is funded in part by The Kresge Foundation.

All Rise for Civil Justice data shows:

  • There are more than 100 million civil justice problems in the U.S. every year.

  • In three out of four civil cases, one or both sides are there without legal help because they often can’t afford representation.

  • Civil legal aid organizations are part of the solution to this issue but due to a lack of funding they are staffed with less than one attorney for every 10,000 low-income Americans.

As for the Michigan taskforce, it’s focusing on a comprehensive approach and will make recommendations in a strategic plan to fill the gaps facing Michigan residents.









Delta Dental supports Detroit riverfront transformation with new playground

Content excerpted and adapted from a Crain’s Detroit Business article. Read the full article.

Delta Dental of Michigan, a CMF corporate member, is donating $5 million toward construction of a five-acre playground along Detroit's west riverfront in the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, where construction is scheduled to begin next year.

The Delta Dental Play Garden "is going to be a game-changer for the families in Detroit and for folks who live in this region," Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy said.

Goran Jurkovic, CEO of Delta Dental of Michigan, said the donation will be the largest in the dental-benefits management company's 62-year history.

Construction of 22-acre Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, which is being underwritten by a $40 million donation from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, is expected to begin in 2020 and be complete by 2022.

The park is envisioned as a public space to connect Corktown and other neighborhoods of southwest Detroit to the riverfront walkway through downtown and the East Riverfront.

"It's a park we really do think is going to be transformational for our entire region," Matt Cullen, chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and principal at Rock Ventures LLC said.

News type: