March 19, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

The State of Michigan Education

The Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan, data-driven education policy, research and advocacy organization, has released its 2018 State of Michigan Education Report, providing analysis and recommendations to improve our education outcomes.

Ed Trust-Midwest has provided data and insights to CMF’s Board of Trustees and most recently CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group around third-grade reading level improvement.

Ed Trust-Midwest launched the Michigan Achieves campaign in 2015 in an effort to make Michigan a top 10 education state. This latest report is based on nearly two years of research and is aimed at further catalyzing action to improve our education system.

Ed Trust-Midwest’s new analysis and state data reveals:

  • “Michigan third graders showed the greatest decline in third grade reading compared to other states participating in the same assessment consortium, despite nearly $80 million of targeted state investment to improve reading outcomes.”

  • Michigan is one of only five states in the U.S. that has seen a decline in fourth grade reading performance for all students since 2003.

  • Ed Trust-Midwest shares that other states have adopted higher standards for teaching and learning which have resulted in improving literacy outcomes.

  • Only 44 percent of all Michigan third graders are proficient in reading.

  • 29 percent of low-income students are proficient in third grade reading.

  • In 2016-2017, 20 percent of African American students in Michigan were proficient in third grade language arts on the MSTEP.

  • 32 percent of Latino students were proficient in third grade language arts on the MSTEP.

The report highlights a successful intervention that’s underway in West Michigan to improve outcomes for high-poverty third graders. Ed Trust-Midwest’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) was created in collaboration with the Steelcase Foundation, a CMF member.

CETL is in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools and Wyoming Public Schools, who are working with educators to better support instructional practice, collaboration and professional development. Three of the five elementary schools working with CETL are among the top improving schools in the state.

The hope is that this program and others can be modeled across the state to improve outcomes.

The report shares additional recommendations for Michigan’s education. Highlights:

  • The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) should reevaluate models for teacher professional development.

  • Conduct data collection and evaluation of the state’s early literacy investment.

  • Prioritize quality alignment of early childhood programs and K-12 in terms of curricula, standards, data, educator training and instruction.

  • Implement a quality statewide educator evaluation, feedback and support system based on leading state models and provide capacity for districts to deliver annual evaluations and feedback.

  • Don’t modify or drop the statewide assessment MSTEP, as it provides quality benchmarking data showing how Michigan’s outcomes are trending compared to other states.

  • Deliver a statewide strategic plan for early literacy.

  • Develop comprehensive support and guidance to districts in providing additional instructional time for students with an explicit responsibility around improving student outcomes.

  • Provide transparent reporting on the state’s top and lowest performing schools, including schools that are not serving the needs of students of color and low-income students.

The report shares that other states have models, much like the CETL program that was modeled from another state, that we can learn from and implement in Michigan to improve student learning.

CMF is working with Ed Trust-Midwest and others to facilitate discussions regarding potential next steps as this plan, and others emerge.

Amanda Price, chair of the governor’s Michigan Pre K-12 Literacy Commission, shared with CMF that there are a number of efforts around the state to improve literacy outcomes including the Reading Now Network (RNN) which is a coalition of 100 school districts in West Michigan who are working to increase reading outcomes by identifying best practices in schools to replicate those practices in other schools.

Want more?

Read 2018 State of Michigan Education Report.

Learn more about the Michigan Achieves Campaign.

Connect with CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group.






MI Philanthropy at Capitol Hill

Nearly 30 CMF members are back at home this week after traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with our Michigan congressional delegation and senators for Foundations on the Hill.

During their time on Capitol Hill, members from all foundation types and every corner of Michigan shared stories of their work with our lawmakers to demonstrate the importance of Michigan philanthropy.

“Educating and informing our Michigan delegation about the importance of philanthropy is an important and long-standing focus of CMF,” Neal Hegarty, chair, CMF Board of Trustees and vice president of programs, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation said. “The lawmakers continually remark to us that they value our input and appreciate learning about how policy impacts philanthropy in Michigan.”

Following a meeting with Senator Gary Peters, the senator tweeted, “The support offered by foundations has been critical to Michigan’s resurgence. Thank you to CMF for all you and your members do to make Michigan a better place.”

CMF and its members also shared several talking points with legislators, including the benefits of public-private partnerships, workforce development efforts and an accurate and thorough census, as well as policies that affect the effectiveness of philanthropy and the communities we serve.

“It is of the utmost importance to share with our legislators the impact that public-private partnerships have when investing in our communities, particularly in the youth sector,” Sara Morley LaCroix, trustee, CMF Board and trustee, Morley Family Foundation said. “Census 2020 is pivotal in funding. Many of the programs that help prevent delayed learning and help sustain a healthy environment for learning rely on an accurate census count.”

Here are a few key topics discussed at Foundations on the Hill:

  • The Charity Act: This bill would simplify the excise tax on private foundations to a flat 1 percent, which would relieve the burden on administrative and financial calculations for foundations. CMF sponsored research by Cambridge Associates which confirms the current formula is an administrative and financial burden to calculate and it results in less giving. It would also permit IRA charitable rollover gifts to donor advised funds (DAFs). We know that DAFs continue to be the fastest growing form of organized philanthropy in Michigan and across the country.

  • Census 2020: Every person counts: CMF requested that federal government not add the citizenship question to the Census 2020 form because it hasn’t been field tested. All of the questions on the census form to-date have been tested. By law, the form closes on March 31 and adding the citizenship question now would mean it’s too late to be field tested and would make it the only untested question on the form. The upcoming census is facing many challenges, including underfunding on the federal level. We know how important an accurate and equitable count is for Michigan, as our state stands to lose an estimated $1,800 for every person who isn’t counted. CMF in partnership with the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), has asked Congress to allocate $4.7 billion for the Census Bureau in the 2019 fiscal year that will keep the census preparations on track and help achieve an accurate count. Read more about MNA’s Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign and the challenges facing Census 2020.

  • Protect the Johnson Amendment: While the tax reform package preserved the Johnson Amendment, there are still talks on Capitol Hill about repealing it. The Johnson Amendment as it stands today keeps politics out of the charitable sector and retains the public’s trust, maintaining the long-standing rule of not allowing charitable organizations to accept political donations, endorse candidates, i.e. become politicized. Last year, CMF joined nearly 4,500 nonprofit organizations in signing a letter of nonpartisanship which urged Congress to maintain the Johnson Amendment. 

  • Economic analysis of tax reform on charitable giving: In D.C. CMF requested an economic analysis on the impact of the new tax act on charitable giving and jobs in the nonprofit sector, as we know that prior research has estimated that the tax reform package could reduce charitable giving by up to $19 billion a year and result in the loss of 220,000 plus jobs. We also asked in alignment with CMF’s Government Relations goals that lawmakers support legislation to incentivize giving by all Americans.

  • Support federal funding of public-private partnerships with the nonprofit sector through federal departments, agencies and programs such as: the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, without which the quality of life for all Michiganders would be diminished.

Several CMF members, including Brenda Hunt, president and CEO, Battle Creek Community Foundation (BCCF) also met with the U.S. Treasury Department to discuss the new unrelated business income tax (UBIT) on targeted fringe benefits that include transportation and wellness for employees of any 501c (3) nonprofit, mission-related investments (MRIs) and potentially other paths of investments.

“It was a very useful meeting with Treasury Department representatives in order to discuss solutions for potential UBIT taxes that could inadvertently negatively affect the good work of foundations and many nonprofits,” Hunt said. “CMF played a key leadership role in defining the impact and with member input providing examples of how clarity and correction would be useful to supporting the good work being done.”

Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary and treasurer, Consumers Energy Foundation, who’s been attending FOTH with CMF for years said, “It is an incredible learning opportunity. I always return energized, inspired and grateful to work in a field with so many incredibly talented and amazing professionals.”

Bloodworth is the longest running member to attend FOTH. While at FOTH this year, she shared all of the action from the Hill in a Twitter takeover on CMF’s Twitter account (@michfoundations) to share updates with the membership. Posts included thanks to a number of individuals who met with the group, such as Representative Mike Bishop on the Ways and Means Committee and Senator Debbie Stabenow who sits on the Senate Finance Committee.

(Tweet 3/14/18): “Thank you @RepMikeBishop for meeting with us and supporting issues important to #philanthropy the #census2020 #workforce development and #GLRI #CMFontheHill #FOTH18 #FabulousRob – at Cannon House Office Building”

(Tweet 3/14/18): “Our youngest member of the team, Mackenzie, had a seat at the table and enjoyed the opportunity to meet with both of Michigan’s Senators, including a warm welcome and hello from @SenStabenow #CMFontheHill #FOTH18"


CMF’s policy-focused affinity groups are developing their strategies for 2018. For instance, next month the Health Funders Affinity Group will review their policy framework at their convening and decide on which policies they may address in 2018.

Fast facts about Michigan philanthropy:

  • 2,609 foundations in Michigan collectively give more than $1.98 billion annually.
  • The top five focus areas of total giving include: education; arts and culture; community and economic development; health; and human services.  

Want more?

Learn more about Census 2020.

Check out the resource: Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook.

View our latest Michigan Philanthropy stats. 

See the CMF Governance Committee’s 2018 Government Relations Goals.






An Inclusive Economy: How Detroit and GR Performed

We’re getting an inside look at how 100 of the largest metro areas are performing in economic growth, prosperity and inclusion as the Brookings Institute has released its new 2018 Metro Monitor.

Detroit and Grand Rapids are highlighted in the report, showing how our two largest Michigan cities are doing when it comes to growing an economy that benefits everyone.

On the national level, the report shares that there’s a divide happening. The economy is surging with its 88th consecutive month of job growth and wages rising across the country, but the economic growth isn’t benefitting as many communities as it should.

The report says, “economic growth remains uneven,” noting that while the stock market has been favorable “few sectors of the economy appear to be making investments that lead to greater prosperity.”

While more families may be benefitting from economic growth, the study points out that disparities continue to grow.

However, the data highlighting Detroit and Grand Rapids does reflect positive, inclusive economic growth.

Michigan data:

  • Detroit is one of only 11 metro areas in the U.S. that saw improvement in all three areas of growth, prosperity and inclusion.

  • Detroit and Grand Rapids are ranked among the top 20 cities nationwide when it comes to growing prosperity. 

  • Grand Rapids is ranked number two nationwide for growth which demonstrates added jobs and overall economic growth. The report attributes this to Grand Rapids’ expanding manufacturing and health care sectors.

  • Detroit ranked number 10 for inclusion. Despite seeing subpar job growth, the city experienced above-average gains on inclusion measures.

  • Detroit is one of just nine cities that consistently reduced racial disparities across all inclusion measures.

National trends:

  • 87 percent of the metro areas experienced an increased standard of living, with 79 percent seeing increases in the average wage.

  • 82 percent of the metro areas say the employment rate among working-age adults increased.

  • The tightening labor market increased employment rates for white people more so than for people of color.

  • About 66 percent of the cities did see some increases in the employment rate among people of color.

  • Construction, hospitality and health care sectors continue to contribute to growth.

  • Professional services, finance and information contributed to prosperity but not job growth.

The report states that while progress is being made across the country it’s still not enough to generate an inclusive economy.

“These findings suggest that underneath the nation’s headline growth, metro areas are confronting new challenges, requiring new solutions that create a more advanced economy that works for all.”

In Michigan, we know that many CMF members support inclusive workforce and economic development efforts in our urban, suburban and rural regions.

Governor Rick Snyder has also lifted up talent attraction, retention and development as a key economic strategy for the state, unveiling many new programs to connect Michigan residents with opportunities.

Most recently, Talent for Tomorrow, through the governor’s Marshall Plan for Talent, is aimed at providing scholarships for low-income individuals who may face barriers such as child care or transportation.

Want more?

Check out the 2018 Metro Monitor.

Check out our latest rural philanthropy video which highlights how a CMF member is supporting workforce development: Pennies from Heaven Foundation: Workforce Development.








Hagerty launches initiative to provide child safety seats for families in need

Content excerpted from an Insurance Business article. Read the full article here.

Hagerty, a corporate giving program CMF member and specialty insurer, is launching an initiative to provide child car seats for families in need.

Hagerty shared that all proceeds from purchases at The Shop, the company’s exclusive collection of custom-made car-themed merchandise, will be used to fund the initiative.

“Hagerty and The Shop are committed to preserving driving for generations to come, and that starts with protecting future drivers,” McKeel Hagerty, CEO, Hagerty said.

The Shop is partnering in the car seat initiative with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit that provides low-income children with diapers, clothes and other basic necessities.

Through Baby2Baby, 34 million items ranging from diapers to clothing have been distributed to families in need within the past six years. The organization has received 13,456 requests for car seats in 2018 in Los Angeles, though families nationwide will benefit from the program.

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