March 25, 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

Proposed Federal Budget

The White House recently released A Budget for a Better America, the administration’s 2020 federal budget proposal. We’re providing an update on several key budget items including Census 2020, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and national service funding.

  • Census 2020: The budget includes $7.2 billion in funding for the census. This is an increase from the proposed 2019 fiscal budget which included $3.8 billion for the U.S. Census Bureau to fund investments in information technology and field infrastructure. 

  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): The budget proposes a 90 percent reduction in funding to the GLRI. The GLRI, which received bipartisan support in Congress, is aimed at ensuring a healthy future for our lakes and protecting them from pollution, invasive species and other environmental threats.

    • In Michigan: Senator Debbie Stabenow, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, released a statement saying she will lead the bipartisan effort to restore full funding to the GLRI for the fourth year in a row.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): The budget includes reducing spending for SNAP by 30 percent over the next decade. This was also recommended last budget cycle.

    • In Michigan: Nearly one in seven Michigan residents receives SNAP benefits.

  • Health Care: The budget calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicaid expansion.

    • In Michigan: The Healthy Michigan Plan, available through the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, provides approximately 683,455 low income residents with access to health care. The Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT), a nonprofit and nonpartisan impact organization, says the HMP has added economic activity that generates $150 million in state tax revenue annually. 

The budget calls for the elimination of funding for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

As CMF has reported these are the same programs that have been slated for elimination in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 budget proposals but they received bipartisan support in the final versions passed by lawmakers.

Michigan lawmakers will be deliberating the budget along with their fellow members of Congress in the coming months.


Preliminary 2018 Charitable Giving Results

At Foundations on the Hill in Washington, D.C., CMF members recently educated our Michigan lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the importance of incentivizing giving for all Americans and provided additional context to recent charitable giving data.

As the United Philanthropy Forum shared in a recent blog post, charitable giving data that showed overall giving had increased about 1.5 percent in 2018 perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story. While overall giving may have slightly increased, the number of donors decreased.

Now, the United Way has created a visual snapshot of data to provide more context on the current state of preliminary 2018 charitable giving results.

Highlights include:

  • Between 2014 and 2017, charitable giving has either matched or exceeded GDP growth, except in 2018 when charitable giving only grew by half the GDP growth.

  • For those who give less than $1,000, overall giving declined in 2018.

  • When it comes to year-end giving, charitable giving dropped 2.3 percent in December 2018 compared to December 2017.

  • The percentage of households making charitable gifts has been steadily on the decline for years.

  • Itemizers (those who can utilize the charitable tax deduction) give at more than twice the rate of non-itemizers.

While it will likely be months, if not years, before we know the true quantitative impact of the 2017 Tax Act on charitable giving, we do know it is still projected to reduce giving by up to $19 billion a year and result in the loss of more than 220,000 jobs.

In conversations with our lawmakers, CMF members and staff asked for support around efforts that would incentivize charitable giving either through making it available above the line or through a tax credit.

CMF has also requested nonpartisan data on the impact of the 2017 Tax Act on charitable giving and jobs in the nonprofit sector.

Want more?

View United Way’s infographic


MI Educators Weigh in on Key Education Issues

Nearly 17,000 Michigan educators have provided their feedback on a statewide survey which will now help to shape policy recommendations around literacy, educator support, accountability and school funding.

As CMF reported in February, the survey was fielded by Launch Michigan, the statewide coalition of diverse organizations, including CMF, who are working together in support of improving student outcomes.

The survey was administered to gather insights from Michigan teachers, support staff and administrators, to listen to what they believe is needed to provide a best in class education to all Michigan students.

The project was modeled after a similar survey used in Tennessee, a state that is widely regarded as a model for education improvement according to Launch Michigan. The Michigan data has also been presented alongside Tennessee data to show how their educators responded for comparison purposes.

Key takeaways:

  • A little more than half (56 percent) of the educators said they feel empowered to teach in ways that best fit their students. In Tennessee that number is 73 percent.

  • Only 43 percent reported receiving professional learning suggestions that were curated to them. That’s compared to 75 percent of Tennessee educators.

  • One in 10 Michigan educators say they will leave for another career in the next two to three years while another one in 10 will retire.

  • More than half of the educators (54 percent) said the M-STEP is not helpful.

  • When it comes to literacy, nearly a quarter of Michigan educators say their schools are not prepared to provide additional support to students who may be held back by the 3rd grade reading requirements. This rises to over four in ten in certain types of urban districts, especially those with high poverty and low per pupil spending. Only 22 percent say their schools are prepared to offer substantial support to students who are retained.

  • Two in five educators said there aren’t enough books in their classrooms.

  • Educators in urban districts, particularly those with high poverty and lower per pupil spending, are more likely to report certain types of problems, such as large class sizes, poor building conditions, lack of parental involvement and lack of resources for literacy.

“This is a very rich set of data that provides Launch Michigan with a good read into the perceptions of front-line educators across the state,” Emma White, the researcher leading the survey analysis said. “The results show the passion that educators have for their students and their careers, as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for education policy in this state.”

Educators did weigh in on specific policies that could positively impact their classrooms and schools.

  • Most educators (80 percent) said reducing class size would make a large impact on the education system.

  • In addition, 65 percent said expanding access to high quality preschool would lead to big improvement in schools.

  • Most teachers also reported that allocating funding based on student need, effective mentoring for early-career teachers and principals and expanding programs to connect families with social services would have a large impact.

  • Educators in mostly urban areas and lower funded districts said literacy coaches would make a large impact.

As for next steps, Launch Michigan said it will use the findings of the survey to guide a set of policy recommendations it intends to propose to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and our state Legislature later this spring.

Want more?

Check out the full report.

Connect with Launch Michigan.


Opportunity Zones Update

While we are still awaiting final guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on Opportunity Zones (OZs), The Kresge Foundation has made a major announcement in an effort to establish equitable best practices for OZ funds.

The foundation is partnering with two impact fund managers, providing $22 million in investments for their emerging OZ funds.

The firms are Arctaris Impact and Community Capital Management (CCM). CCM also manages the Michigan Collaborative Fund which provides opportunities for investment in Michigan in affordable housing, targeted small business lending and civic infrastructure from endowment portfolios. It is available to CMF members, and CMF is also an investor.

The foundation says the fund managers expect to raise and deploy more than $800 million in capital nationally into census tracts designated as OZs.

Kresge shares that the two fund managers “have agreed to a level of transparency, accountability, and disclosure thus far unheard of in the Opportunity Zones space.”

“Opportunity Zones will only be a positive force in low-income communities if paired with responsible investing principles,” Rip Rapson, president and CEO, The Kresge Foundation said. “This legislation was passed without minimum transparency or reporting guidelines, permitting a ripe opportunity for misuse. Nearly a hundred are rumored to be currently seeking investment. Because of our mission to expand opportunity in low-income communities, Kresge has decided to put into action and model for other investors how solid deals can be constructed to meet the needs of investors and communities alike. Our intent is to establish proof points at scale to demonstrate that there is a responsible way to implement this incentive.”

As CMF reported in 2018, the foundation published a call for proposals to find potential Opportunity Zone projects that aligned with the foundation’s work with the hope of setting an example of best practices in socially responsible community investments, guided by transparency, research and reporting. The foundation selected Arctaris Impact and CCM from a pool of more than 140 responses.

Kresge shares that both fund managers have agreed to go beyond what’s required in the Opportunity Zone legislation. The fund managers have agreed to:

  • Prioritize the development of affordable housing units and prevent displacement.

  • Invest in the creation of living wage jobs.

  • Prohibit non-productive investments such as those into self-storage facilities.

  • Form community advisory boards.

CMF recently reported on the release of the Opportunity Zones Reporting Framework that provides a set of guiding principles, a reporting framework and a shared goal of measuring outcomes.

Kresge states that the agreements with the two fund managers complement the principles shared in the framework, which was developed in part through Kresge grants to the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown.

“The Opportunity Zone Program represents a unique way to bring new investors into the impact investing arena. The tax advantages may draw people in, but they may be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact outcomes that are as rigorous, granular, and transparent as traditional financial reporting,” David Sand, chief impact strategist, CCM said. “The covenants we have agreed to might not be required by legislation or regulation, but we believe they should be – we are going above and beyond to demonstrate to the market what this can look like when done right.”

Want more?

View the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) OZ resources.

Connect with The Kresge Foundation’s OZ work.

Check out Mission Investors Exchange’s OZ resources.  



47th Annual Conference Program Committee Unveils 2019 Conference Theme

CMF’s 47th Annual Conference Program Committee, comprised of 35 CMF members from around the state and representing all foundation types at a variety of sizes, has unveiled the theme for the 2019 conference: Equity. Partnerships. Impact.

Through collaborative discussion, the committee developed the theme which will be woven throughout the conference experience.

The committee and CMF affinity groups are currently designing nearly 30 sessions, aligning with the theme for CMF members to explore during the three-day event.

Save the date! The 47th Annual Conference is happening October 6-8 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City. Registration goes live on CMF’s website this summer.

Want more?

Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities are open now.

News type: