After the Election: Many Questions and Few Answers Right Now
We congratulate the new members of Michigan’s congressional delegation – Paul Mitchell and Jack Bergman and the members re-elected. We thank them all for their service in Washington and look forward to their support for our mission to grow the impact of Michigan philanthropy.
With all three branches of government held by one party, the chances of major tax reform are greater than ever, and this will likely impact both individual and foundation giving. In the coming weeks President-Elect Donald Trump is expected to officially announce his cabinet members and 2017 strategic priorities. CMF will continue to provide connections between policy and philanthropy as these priorities emerge.
While we will continue to promote federal legislation in the lame duck session before the holidays that deal with our priorities of simplifying the excise tax on private foundations and allowing gifts from IRAs to community foundation donor advised funds, we anticipate having to re-introduce this legislation again in the new Congress.
In Lansing, CMF will continue to work with the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) on legislation dealing with nonprofit property tax exemption and on our bill allowing for the transfer of income from the sale of unused assets from local public agencies to community foundations. However, we anticipate both bills will need to be re-introduced in the new year considering lawmakers will only be in session for a few more days this year.
While leaders in the state senate continue, we look forward in the new year to working with new Speaker of the House Tom Leonard and new House Democratic Leader Sam Singh, former president of MNA. We congratulate the 42 new members of the State House on their election and thank all of the state representatives and state senators for their service.
We've seen post-election protests in several communities in the aftermath of a divisive presidential campaign. CMF will provide information and resources to our members as they become available to assist in supporting a peaceful transition. CMF is coordinating with other infrastructure organizations such as the MNA in Lansing and the Council on Foundations and Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers in Washington to update you regarding state and national perspectives and activities.
CMF’s Public Policy Committee will meet this afternoon to receive a briefing on the election, discuss next steps following the election, so look for more updates in the weeks to come.
What can you do?
Join us for Foundations on the Hill 2017, when we’ll head to D.C. in March for our annual meetings with these members of Congress, our senators and their staffers to share the importance of our philanthropic work, the impact of tax policy on giving and strategic partnerships with policymakers in Michigan.
Help us share the valuable role of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector with our Michigan policymakers. CMF will continue to provide information and resources to assist in this education.
As we honor in this past week both the peaceful transition of government and the service of past and current veterans, let's appreciate as Adlai Stevenson said, “Patriotism is indeed the steady dedication of a lifetime,” and continue our work to attain improvement and inclusion for all.
Equity: Building Opportunity for All
A focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is at the root of all that we do as we work to reduce barriers to build a pathway to opportunity for everyone. Equity is not restricted to one race or gender; it touches all our communities where people may have less access to resources and opportunities than others.
What are we doing at a cultural and organizational level to ensure we are zeroed in on breaking down those barriers and building opportunity for all?
A recent study conducted by Putnam Consulting Group examines what 15 foundations are doing when it comes to equity work within their organizations and grantmaking.
- Equity should start from within including in your programming, finance, accounting and HR
- Some foundations say equity is inherently in their DNA while others have a studied approach offering more models and processes
- Overcoming assumptions that an overall approach serves everyone in need even when the data says otherwise is a challenge for some foundations
- Definitions of equity vary (some foundation members viewed equity as synonymous with social justice, equality or racial equity)
The study highlights the importance of having a common language and definition for your organization.
In 2014 CMF adopted this definition: “equity means having access to opportunities in all indicators of well-being that will lead to positive outcomes regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, age, ability, status, and other factors.”
CMF has launched a new resource, Equity: Is Your Foundation Ready to Invest in Building Opportunity for All?, to help your foundation identify and discuss how your organizational culture and grantmaking supports equity, as well as areas for improvement.
In the guide the Kalamazoo Community Foundation discusses the importance of devoting time and funding to resources that support policies and programs that increase opportunity for all.
“While we’ve been working hard on this for several years, we know our learned experience is inadequate and incomplete compared to the lived experience of people who are the targets of discrimination. So, working with the community and not just for the community is essential,” Carrie Pickett-Erway, president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation said.
Recommendations for equity best practices:
- Include the community in strategy development
- Address structural sources of inequities
- Make long-term commitments
- Support the infrastructure of nonprofit partners
- Trust nonprofit partners’ choices
CMF has many members who are utilizing the diversity, equity and inclusion resources of CMF that are both stand-alone and embedded into other programming. In one year about 174 unique organizations out of our 310 member organizations participated in CMF programming and use of resources in this topic area.
Want to assess readiness at your organization?
Want more? Visit CMF's Knowledge Center to acccess the Leveraging Differences Self-Assessment and the resource, Is Your Foundation Leveraging the Power of Differences?
Changes on the Horizon for Detroit Schools
Post-election the focus is now on January, and for the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) that means new leadership at the helm, with its newly elected school board, and hopefully a new chapter for the struggling district.
The new board was voted in just a day after a major district plan was unveiled, focusing on five key areas: literacy, career pathways, innovation, family and community and wraparound services.
The comprehensive plan is aimed to increase student’s academic growth by 10 percent and reduce chronic absenteeism.
As CMF reported in a June edition of the Weekly Download, national data including the 100 largest school districts by enrollment showed DPS has the highest rate of chronic absences in the U.S.
The district’s new wraparound services will be designed to focus on reducing absences by taking a closer look at what’s keeping students from attending class and meeting those needs. One idea is to offer in-school laundry access for students who may not have clean clothes, discouraging them from going to school. The district will likely look to businesses and community partners in developing and funding its wraparound services.
As the comprehensive plans rolls out, more changes are in store in 2017, as we will also see the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) merge with DPSCD.
The EAA was created as a state-run “turnaround district for the lowest performing schools,” those schools will rejoin DPSCD and the EAA will dissolve by next summer.
It’s believed that if most of the students currently at the EAA schools return to Detroit’s public schools, “it could mean millions more in state funding for a district that has been hemorrhaging money and thousands of students for years.”
CMF will follow the changes expected to be implemented throughout 2017 for our Detroit schools.
The Pokagon Fund awards $1.6 million grant to support downtown revitalization
Excerpted from the Harbor County News, read the full story.
A Southwestern Michigan city’s downtown is getting a boost thanks to a $1.6 million grant from The Pokagon Fund. The funding will go towards New Buffalo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, supporting improvements such as wider sidewalks, landscaping, better lighting, installation of public art and upgrades to accessibility, parking and safety.
“One of the primary focus areas of The Pokagon Fund is community vitality,” Rob Gow, chairman of The Pokagon Fund’s board of directors said. “We can think of no better example than the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which we are confident will bring new energy and activity to our area, benefitting both residents and visitors alike.”
New Buffalo’s city manager said the revitalization efforts will expand business opportunities and create a more appealing downtown for the community.