March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

TRHT Partnership with MI Department of Civil Rights to Advance Racial Equity Work

The state has announced that the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has received a grant to advance racial equity in Kalamazoo through partnership with the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) efforts underway in the area.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's TRHT effort is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

CMF is supporting the Michigan TRHT effort through a $4.2 million grant from WKKF, which is currently underway in Kalamazoo along with three other Michigan communities: Battle Creek, Flint and Lansing. 

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation is leading the TRHT efforts on the ground in Kalamazoo and will serve as a partner to MDCR in this work.

The grant from the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) to MDCR is aimed at strengthening “community partnerships and developing a racial equity lens to better analyze and address the issue of fair housing in the city.”

Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, vice president of community investment and TRHT lead at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation told CMF the grant provides innovation seed funding for a separation team that’s designed to focus on issues of segregation. She said the grant allows the team to target the issue of fair housing as their first project.

“Partnership and collaboration are key in addressing root causes of inequality in our community,” Gonzalez-Cortes said. “We are bringing together partners who don’t often have the opportunity to collaborate in a creative and innovative space in search of solutions for systemic problems from both a grassroots and a government or policy perspective.”

MDCR shares that the grant will support the department’s work to:

  • Build and deepen partnerships between the city of Kalamazoo, MDCR and community-based organizations focused on advancing racial equity.

  • Connect government entities to the community-based process and emerging infrastructure of the TRHT process in Kalamazoo and nationally.

  • Assist the city of Kalamazoo to adopt a racial equity framework in both its internal and external operations, including the implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) framework.

“There has been growing concern from Kalamazoo residents about issues related to housing, including quality and affordability, as well as high rates of homelessness,” Agustin Arbulu, executive director, MDCR said. “Looking at this concern through a racial equity lens, we see low rates of home ownership for people of color, high rates of concentrated poverty in neighborhoods where African Americans and Latinos live, and the legacy of redlining and segregation. This grant award enables us to bring together multiple efforts in a comprehensive and sustained way to help foster actionable change.”

MDCR said the results of this work will be incorporated into the city’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) consolidated plan for 2019-2024.

The four Michigan sites have been providing community programming, hosting racial healing circles and deepening community engagement since their launch last year.

Gonzalez-Cortes said a key meeting will take place on June 1 in Kalamazoo where they will share their vision, structure and focus areas for TRHT’s future work around the community.

Want more?

Learn more about TRHT and the framework.





Michigan House to SXSW

The Michigan House, a pop-up space dedicated to all things Michigan is in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) a conference and festival dedicated to film, interactive media and music.

The Michigan House is once again taking the best of Michigan to the national stage, showcasing our talent, creativity, economic growth and community development efforts.

Several CMF members are partners of the Michigan House including the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, CMF corporate members Steelcase and Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans and the New Economy Initiative, a project of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan which is also supported by 11 CMF members. The Michigan House is led by Creative Many Michigan, a statewide nonprofit supporting the creative sector.

"Michigan House is a unique experiment in collaboration and creativity," Jennifer Goulet, president and CEO of Creative Many Michigan said. "We cover a broad spectrum in a short time. The deep connections we form in Austin carry back to Michigan and the transformative work being done by talented, creative leaders across the state."

Beyond providing an interactive Michigan experience where you can sit, use, taste and check out Michigan made products, there’s live entertainment from local Michigan artists and panel discussions led by Michigan community and municipal leaders and CMF members.

“The responses to the discussions taking place at Michigan House have been great, and it’s not just folks with ties to Michigan who’ve been interested,” Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative said. “There’s a hunger nationally for the exchange of ideas to transform cities and regions into equitable engines of opportunity, and Michigan House has been a forum for doing just that.”

Today, the conversations continue with the Mott Foundation leading a conversation at SXSW about current efforts to protect Michigan’s water in Flint and throughout the Great Lakes.

Other Michigan discussions include entrepreneurship, growing technology, strategies for neighborhood health, neighborhood solutions and the future of mobility, providing insights from our state.

“SXSW provides the perfect platform for local startups and retailers to combine their efforts and truly showcase the massive growth and development taking place in Detroit,” Whitney Eichinger, vice president of communications at Rock Ventures said. “Partnerships with groups like the Michigan House allow us to share that passion as Detroit continues to position itself as an innovative technology hub.”

This year the NEI is sponsoring four social entrepreneurs who are transforming their neighborhoods in Detroit and Highland Park. They’re sharing those lessons at SXSW to demonstrate inclusive strategies to revitalize communities.

“It’s a great reminder that Michigan is brimming with talent,” Lewis said. “Our greatest resource in our state isn’t our industrial infrastructure or geography, it’s our people. This really comes into focus at Michigan House, which has done a great job of reflecting the diversity of talent in our state.”

You can follow along with the conversations and the activity around the Michigan House on social and check out a video about the Michigan experience at SXSW.





How are Millennials Engaging in Causes They Care About?

We’re getting an inside look at what Achieve’s Millennial Impact Report, supported by the Case Foundation, learned about millennials from its 2017 research in its newest study, An Invigorated Generation for Causes and Social Issues.

The report sheds light on shifts in causes millennials care about, what’s driving their engagement and how they’re engaging on social issues and causes.

The report examines how millennials have responded to divisive national conversations and a changing political atmosphere. We’re highlighting specific takeaways for their cause engagement and what the nonprofit sector should know about this generation.

Highlights include:

  • Millennials are most interested in causes and social issues that support quality of life and equity for all, especially marginalized populations.

  • They’re more engaged in causes than ever.

  • While they share information about causes and social issues they are interested in online they view “current online discourse as uncivil and don’t engage in it.”

Shifts in causes they care about:

  • In 2016 millennials said education was their top concern, that shifted to civil rights and racial discrimination in 2017.

  • Now, their top five issues of interest include: civil rights and racial discrimination; employment; health care reform; climate change and immigration.


  • Millennials are driven to engage locally on issues more than nationally, especially when they feel they’re personally affected by the cause or issue such as education and health care.

  • Millennials said they’re more likely to engage on a national level when issues didn’t feel as personal and were broader, the report provides the example of net neutrality as a broader issue.

Taking Action:

  • Voting, signing a petition and posting information on social media were the top three ways millennials reported they took action on social issues and causes.

  • 57 percent of millennials said they believed more in the power of organizations than their own power to effect change.

  • Only 6 percent said making a charitable contribution to an organization around a social issue or cause is a typical behavior for them. Donations that were reported were mostly $25 or less.  

“Right now, millennials believe in organizations and in other ways to effect change. Together, millennials and nonprofits can create solutions,” Derrick Feldmann, founder, Millennial Impact Project and board chair, CMF’s Learning to Give said. “But, if we as nonprofit entities won’t adjust to their needs, millennials – our new and future constituents – will move on without us.”

Utilizing the research and findings the report provides three recommendations about how to best engage with millennials on social issues and causes.

Recommendations include:

  • Share stories of individuals whose lives have improved through the efforts of your organization and work.

  • Refocus messaging and ensure communications and development work closely as a coordinated team to deepen relationships with millennials.

  • Curate your social media, marketing and other messages to millennials to highlight positive, emotion-based language about how the issue affects individuals and facts. Share short term and long-term calls to action and desired outcomes and opportunities to take immediate steps as well as long-term involvement opportunities.

Check out the latest report and the full collection of research from the Millennial Impact Report.






Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation launches largest senior-focused prize competition in North America

Content excerpted from foundation press release. Read the full release here.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) recently launched Vital Seniors: A Community Innovation Competition, a $2.5 million initiative sponsored by the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund at the community foundation.

Prizes will range from $50,000 to $500,000 for innovative projects that provide actionable solutions to challenges faced by seniors, their families and caregivers. The competition is open to organizations in Washtenaw County.

AAACF shares that by 2040, the number of adults age 60 plus in Washtenaw County will more than double, as will the number of seniors in poverty, highlighting the need to develop innovative models to address issues facing the aging.

The community foundation said that it’s particularly interested in innovations addressing independent living support; safe/affordable housing; health; transportation/mobility; and caregivers.

The competition is the largest competition dedicated to seniors in North America, aimed to shape local innovations that can serve as models across the country.

The competition strengthens AAACF’s longstanding commitment to seniors and complements enhanced grantmaking for ongoing programs and services for seniors and their caregivers through its new $16 million Glacier Hills Legacy Fund permanent endowment.

Want more?

Learn more about the competition.

We'll hear from the Ann Arbor Community Foundation about its efforts at the upcoming Michigan Grantmakers in Aging Affinity Group convening in Lansing on April 10. Register today!

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