November 11, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Michigan Will No Longer Prosecute Juvenile Offenders as Adults

Governor Whitmer signed legislation on October 31 that would raise the age offenders could be tried as adults, going from 17 to 18 years old. Known as the Raise the Age bills, the bipartisan legislation features sponsored bills from both the House and the Senate. It includes youth rehabilitation and support for youth who encounter the criminal justice system.

“I’m proud that Michigan has joined 46 other states in ending the unjust practice of charging and punishing our children as adults when they make mistakes,” Governor Whitmer said in a press release. “These bills will strengthen the integrity of our justice system by ensuring that children have access to due process that is more responsive to juveniles.”

Michigan is one of only four states that prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults for non-violent crimes. Provisions in the new legislation will allow for youth who commit violent crimes to still be prosecuted as adults.

“We can’t go back in time, but we can move the stick now and say what’s going to happen in the future,” Sen. Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Township, said in an interview with MLive. Lucido was among the lead sponsors of Raise the Age bills from the State Senate.

The new legislation is set to take effect in October 2021. It is expected to save taxpayer money by decreasing the amount of repeat juvenile offenders who are housed in Michigan prisons.

Advocates of the legislation believe this shift will allow youth in the criminal justice system to have a better chance of rehabilitation.

“Today’s action is a win for child well-being and safety, a win for racial equity, a win for bipartisanship, a win for our local communities and economies, and a win for our national reputation,” Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO, the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), said in a statement.

The issue has been one of prominence for the MLPP and its Kids Count efforts, which measures children’s well-being at both the state and local levels and uses the data is collects to advocate for children. Funding for Kids Count’s Michigan is provided by eight CMF members, including The Skillman Foundation, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, The Steelcase Foundation, The Frey Foundation, The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, The DTE Energy Foundation, The Ford Motor Company Fund, The Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Ruth Mott Foundation, with additional funding from the American Federation of Teachers Michigan, the Michigan Education Association and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Additional CMF members have advocated for changes in laws pertaining to minors in the criminal justice system. The Hudson-Webber Foundation has been one such member leading the charge.

“We are delighted to see Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sign legislation increasing the jurisdiction of juvenile court in Michigan to age 18, a key recommendation surfaced at our Michigan Roundtable on Safety and Justice,” Melanca Clark, president, The Hudson-Webber Foundation told CMF. “Committed advocates like the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency and the Michigan League for Public Policy have fought hard to remove Michigan from the short list of states with antiquated laws that allow 17-year-olds to be automatically treated as adults for any offense, and we are thrilled to see their efforts bear fruit." 

Want more?

Read Gov. Whitmer’s press release.

Read the Michigan Roundtable on Safety and Justice report.


Helping Districts Empower Counselors and Create Postsecondary Pathways for Michigan Students

The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), in collaboration with The Kresge Foundation and the National Postsecondary Strategy Institute, recently launched the Michigan Postsecondary Strategy Institute (MPSI). This initiative aims to help school districts develop internal capacity to support every student toward attaining a postsecondary certificate or degree.

Over two days in early November, representatives from 23 Michigan school districts convened in East Lansing where they worked to develop actionable strategies based on three critical components for postsecondary success:

  • Creating a clear plan for increasing student postsecondary outcomes tied to measurable data points.

  • Connecting local data with state datasets, analyzing data by subgroups and using data to identify where strategies need to be developed.

  • Empowering counselors to lead the postsecondary access work within their schools, engaging partners in the process.

“MPSI provided district teams a generative, supportive space where they could look at their data, examine what they're doing related to college and career counseling, and have deeper dive discussions about where the needs are and how they can better align the systems within their districts to best support students,” said Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of The Kresge Foundation's Education Program.

“In today’s economy, it's more critical than ever that students get some type of training after high school. School counselors play a critical role in helping students navigate that path,” Smith added. 

The initiative’s emphasis on school counselors is timely. Michigan is in the midst of a school counseling crisis. According to MCAN, the current student to counselor ratio in our state is 729:1, the third worst ratio in the country. Nearly 90 districts in Michigan have no school counselors at all.

“We need to pay attention to the school counseling crisis and do whatever we can to help ensure our schools are staffed with well-trained counselors who have reasonable caseloads and can help our students chart their course for life after high school,” Smith said. “This is a priority and an important investment in the future.”

House Bill 5133 was recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature. If passed, it would allocate $5 million in state funding for more school counselors.

 “What makes MPSI unique is the framework provided by the National Postsecondary Strategy Network which focuses on a district postsecondary framework and strategy, a data strategy, and engagement of counselors as leaders. These three critical components, paired with MCAN's focus on systems change work within districts, provided a unique opportunity for school teams to learn and begin developing a postsecondary education strategy together,” said Jamie Jacobs, MCAN’s senior director of high school innovation.

The MPSI is the first of its kind offered in Michigan. District teams self-selected to take part in this initiative.

Cathy Longstreet is a counselor at Hastings High School. She was part of a district team that participated in the MPSI. “Although my administration is already very supportive of my counseling department’s work, it was an added benefit to hear the speakers as they shared data and research around the critical importance of school counselors in this work,” Longstreet said. “My team left feeling motivated, armed with both information and a plan of action.”

Moving forward, districts that participated will receive technical assistance from the National Postsecondary Strategy Institute to help implement their action plans.

“This powerful initiative aligns with our goal of ‘Sixty by 30’ and increases college access by strategically supporting Michigan’s school leadership,” Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN, said in a press release. “We look forward to seeing how nationally-tested strategies focused on policy and practice changes can be implemented to support every Michigan student on their postsecondary education pathway.”

Want more?

Learn about House Bill 5133

Learn more about the National Postsecondary Education Institute.

Learn more and see the list of school districts that participated in MPSI.



Results of Second National Benchmark Survey of Family Foundations Released

The National Center for Family Philanthropy recently released Trends 2020 which details the results of the second national benchmark survey of family foundations.

According to NCFP’s website, “Trends 2020 includes new questions relevant to ongoing changes in the field including issues of equity, place-based giving, transparency, the role of the donor, and the question of spend down versus perpetuity.” 

Key takeaways:

  • 81% of older family foundations (those established before 1970) focus their grantmaking geographically, while 82% of newer family foundations (established since 2010) focus their grantmaking on issues.

  • Grant amounts from family foundations have grown since 2015. However, the number of grants in that timeframe has decreased, indicating grants are larger.

  • Overall, the top three issue areas for family foundations are education (38%), poverty (27%) and social services (25%).

  • Foundations established since 2010 appear to be more focused on economic inequality and addressing basic needs, and significantly less focused on education.

  • The number of family foundations engaged in mission/impact investing has doubled since 2015.

  • About 56% of family foundations have one more founders actively involved. This has declined slightly since 2015.

  • Most family foundations have a clear understanding of their founder’s intent and 65% adhere very closely to that intent.

  • More than half of family foundations have multiple generations serving on the board, while 10% have three or more generations.

  • Two-thirds of family foundation boards include non-family board members. The total number and percentage of non-family board members as a percentage of family foundation boards has grown significantly over the past five years.

  • Fully one in three family foundations have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in their future plans.

Want more?

Read the full report.

Register for CMF’s webinar New Trends: Research Findings from NCFP’s Second Family Philanthropy Study taking place this Thursday, November 14 at 12 PM.

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