May 13, 2019

Monday, May 13, 2019

MI to Launch Web Platform Connecting Startups

In one week, we will see the launch of a new web-based platform designed to create connections and opportunities for Michigan based tech startups and entrepreneurs.

“Michigan is the first state in the country to create an online resource designed specifically for startups, hubs and funders to help fuel the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) tweeted last week.

The database,, is expected to feature more than 335 Michigan based startups. The platform, which will be free for users, is focused on making researching Michigan startups easier, allowing users to filter by business model, funding stage, location and more.

“We often work with investors from outside the state and try to introduce them to Michigan startup companies,” Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager, Renaissance Venture Capital in Ann Arbor, said. “But there has never before been a single resource that included the relevant startup business and fundraising information that has. The central resource provides strong tangible value that will be a great help to the startup community in Michigan.”

The platform received funding by the MEDC and Michigan philanthropy including CMF members the William Davidson Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The NEI is supported by 12 CMF members and is focused on inclusive growth and culture of entrepreneurship in Southeast Michigan.

“ will help connect Michigan’s promising high-growth companies with investors and talent both locally and from around the world. NEI is pleased to support this much-needed platform because it raises the awareness of Southeast Michigan’s startups that have the potential to rapidly create high-quality jobs and economic prosperity for our community,” Maria LaLonde, senior program officer, NEI said.

Since its launch in 2007, the NEI has helped to launch 2,725 companies and provided entrepreneurial services to more than 276,000 people.

In 2018 alone NEI’s investments assisted 2,513 companies and helped to launch 207 companies, which collectively employ more than 5,600 people.

As for the database, it will officially launch during an event on May 20 in Detroit.







Addressing Our Caregiving Gap

As we look to the changing workforce landscape in our state and across the country, it’s clear our aging demographic shift will also impact the need for caregivers.

According to PHI, an institute that provides services in support of long-term care providers, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that “the total direct care workforce will be larger than any single occupation in 2026.”

PHI defines the “direct care” workforce as personal care aides, home health aides and nursing assistants.

BLS has projected that between 2016 and 2026:

  • The direct care workforce may grow by an additional 1.4 million workers by 2026.

  • Nationally there could be as many 7.8 million direct care job openings that need to be filled.

  • Michigan alone could need more than 34,000 additional direct-care workers by 2026.

There are CMF members working to address the impending caregiver gap.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation (RCWJF) recently announced the launch of THRIVE, a new $20 million partnership to support caregivers and improve retention rates.

The foundation and its partners shared in a press release, “Healthcare is projected to be the largest employment sector in the U.S. economy by 2026, and the fastest growing occupations in the sector are 'direct care' or 'front-line' caregivers. But despite the number of job openings, recruitment and retention of caregivers remains a pervasive challenge. Many caregivers may also face barriers to success which can lead to high rates of turnover.”

Transformational Healthcare Readiness through Innovative Vocational Education (THRIVE) will be piloted in three regions including Southeast Michigan.

The THRIVE program will include:

  • Screenings to proactively identify caregivers most at risk of encountering work readiness and success barriers.

  • One on one coaching.

  • THRIVE curriculum and resources for new hires.

“The program sits at the intersection of two of our grantmaking focus areas - caregivers and workforce development,” David Egner, president and CEO of RCWJF said. “And with caregiver recruitment and retention being a challenge that exists beyond the foundation’s two primary geographies of Western New York and Southeast Michigan, our hope is for THRIVE to serve as a sustainable model that can be implemented nationwide.”

RCWJF also funded research around family caregiving to examine the challenges and the impact of caregiving on an individual.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) has commissioned research studies to better understand the needs of caregivers and seniors in Washtenaw County. In late 2018 the Glacier Hills Legacy Fund of AAACF announced the winners of a competition designed to catalyze high impact innovation and solutions for seniors and their caregivers.

The conversation on caregivers continues later this month. On Wednesday, May 22 hear from the RCWJF, Presbyterian Villages of Michigan Foundation and others in CMF’s Michigan Grantmakers in Aging Affinity Group webinar, Caregiving: An Economic Issue for Employers, Communities and Families.







Flint’s Transformed Capitol Theatre Earns Preservation Award

The historic Capitol Theatre in Flint is one of six preservation projects that received the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation last week in Lansing.

“Historic structures and archaeological sites help to anchor our communities,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “These projects contribute to our economy and strengthen the neighborhoods we call home. When we can educate people about our state’s unique past and inspire curiosity in new skills that could lead to job opportunities, we are helping to build a stronger Michigan.”

As MLive reports, the theatre, built in 1928, was closed for more than 20 years before reopening at the end of 2017.

The $32 million restoration project got underway following a two-phase feasibility study which examined the potential role the space could play in revitalizing Flint’s downtown.

The transformation of the theatre was funded in part by several CMF members.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation announced a $15 million grant in 2016 to help renovate the theatre, recognizing the important role the theatre could fill in the revitalization of Flint following the water crisis.

“In fact, the challenges presented by the crisis are exactly why projects like the Capitol Theatre are so important to Flint,” Ridgway White, president of the Mott Foundation said in a statement at the time. “We need to not only reboot but redouble the forward momentum that was underway before the water crisis struck. By multiplying the reasons for people to live in, work in and visit the city, we’ll give new spark to the positive energy that will help Flint recover and rise from the crisis.”

The Hagerman Foundation also supported the restoration.

“One of my many memories of being a kid was in 1965 when my entire family went to see The Sound of Music at the Capitol Theatre,” Phil Hagerman, president founder of the foundation said. “Besides bringing back memories for Flint residents it is also a major revitalization project for the city, that helps to rebuild its position as a destination. Bringing people and businesses into the city is key to the development of Flint.”

The Ruth Mott Foundation provided funding for façade improvements to repair marquees and brick work.

Consumers Energy Foundation provided funding to enhance the theatre’s orchestra pit equipment.

After an extensive renovation and support from Michigan philanthropy and other entities, the theatre now provides diverse arts and cultural programming and entertainment for the community.

“The collaboration between the nonprofit sector, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and private foundations underscores the hard work needed to bring a complex project such as the Capitol Theatre rehabilitation to fruition,” Brian Conway, state historic preservation officer said. “This project has brightened the community and the Flint area has a new destination for education and entertainment.”








Major placemaking project led by Capital Region Community Foundation is now under construction

The Capital Region Community Foundation is currently leading and developing 13 potential projects to enhance the downtown Lansing riverfront in what will be the new Rotary Park.

CityPulse reports that construction is now underway on the future riverfront space.

According to the community foundation the new $2.5 million park will include an outdoor fireplace, a beach, new kayak and boat docks, shaded seating and an event space under the Shiawassee Street bridge.

CityPulse shares that in addition to funding from the Rotary Club of Lansing, the community foundation matched $1 million in funding from 11 donors including CMF member Delta Dental.

Dennis Fliehman, president and CEO of the Capital Region Community Foundation recently shared the importance of placemaking work and updates from the community foundation in an interview with Comcast Newsmakers.

“A couple of years ago our board decided that placemaking was a niche that the community foundation could fill that wasn’t being filled by government or business or by specific charities,” Fliehman said. “Placemaking is all about improving public spaces to make them more vibrant, enticing and attractive so we can attract and retain talent in our community.”

Rotary Park is expected to be complete later this year.

News type: