November 22, 2021

Monday, November 22, 2021

Michigan Reaches 70% Vaccination Goal 

Michigan has reached the state's goal of vaccinating 70% of residents ages 16 and over, with at least one dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to the state, nearly 5.7 million Michiganders have received at least one of the COVID-19 vaccines since the first doses became available less than a year ago.

“This is an important step to stemming the spread of the virus,” Kyle Caldwell, president and CEO of CMF and member of the state’s Protect Michigan Commission said. "Unfortunately, Michigan is also once again the top state for cases per capita. More urgently Black, Indigenous and People of Color remain at higher risk of illness and death due to COVID-19. This virus remains an important equity challenge for Michigan and an ongoing opportunity for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector to lead.”

The Protect Michigan Commission has been focused on raising awareness of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, educating Michiganders and helping protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents.

Caldwell was appointed to the Protect Michigan Commission along with other leaders from across the state who are serving as an advisory group to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“I have had the distinct honor to serve on the Protect Michigan Commission to advise on how we can all work together to eradicate the spread of COVID-19. This has been important work and Michigan achieved two important milestones in the COVID-19 pandemic that we need to heed,” Caldwell said.

Since the vaccine first became available in January, CMF has highlighted Michigan philanthropy’s collaborative responses to increasing equitable access and education of the vaccine within their communities. 

Earlier this year, a partnership with the Saginaw Community Foundation, Saginaw County Health Department and several other organizations resulted in the creation of the Health and Community Connected (HCC) Workgroup.

The workgroup supported access to and education about COVID-19 vaccines for those who were considered to be most at risk of being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The Greater Flint Urgent Relief Fund, established by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) in partnership with the United Way of Genesee County, awarded funding to support the Community Health Navigator program. Launched by Michigan United, the program is aimed at educating and raising awareness of the vaccines to community members.

The grant awarded by CFGF and the Greater Flint Urgent Relief Fund went toward the purchase of iPads to help register community members for the vaccine. 

CFGF also partnered with Michigan State University (MSU) and the Michigan Public Health Institute on a collaborative effort to promote COVID-19 vaccine knowledge and increase vaccination rates in Flint.

The National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity, or NNICE project, seeks to address the barriers preventing people of color from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The project is funded in part by a $6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to MSU.

In partnership with MSU, CFGF is administered $900,000 in funding from the CDC for a year of research on solutions to increase adult vaccination.

The Kresge Foundation announced $1 million to bolster vaccine access and health equity through Detroit’s community health centers, community development organizations and human service agencies.

The Foellinger Foundation matched a donation from Uber to support a program offering free transportation for residents in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund, The Kresge Foundation and the Michigan Association of United Ways supported the Vaccination Champion program, a program aimed at increasing the COVID-19 vaccination rates and addressing misinformation in Southwest Michigan.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation collaborated with Honor Community Health, a federally qualified health center, to support COVID-19 community-based vaccine clinics in Pontiac and surrounding areas.  

The Dart Foundation supported the Cristo Rey Community Center, a nonprofit basic needs service center that provides access to food, medical care and counseling programs to the community of Lansing, and their efforts to administer vaccines by purchasing coolers and other equipment and to offset vaccination clinic staffing costs. 

These efforts are just a snapshot of the work our community of philanthropy is leading to support vaccination equity and distribution.

The state is focusing on encouraging all Michiganders 18 and older to receive their booster shot now that the FDA has approved for all adults. As of last week, Michigan has administered over 1.1 million boosters. The state is also working on getting children ages 5 and older vaccinated.

Recently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Protect Michigan Commission hosted a virtual town hall to answer questions for parents and families about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The town hall included a panel of pediatricians and family physicians answering questions and talking about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Governor launched a new pilot program, MI Backpack Home Tests, in partnership with the MDHHS to provide free, at-home COVID antigen tests to participating schools to create a safer environment for K-12 students, parents, teachers and support staff amid the pandemic. 

The program kicked off last week in Charlotte Public Schools. Parents, students and staff enrolled in the program receive one at-home COVID-19 test kit that includes two tests. MDHHS will provide the kits and educational materials and schools will distribute the kits to participants.  

Is your organization supporting efforts connected to the education, access or distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine? We invite you to share your story with the CMF team so we can lift up opportunities for peer engagement and share emerging grantmaking practices with our entire CMF community.




Supporting Healthy and Fulfilling Aging

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) commissioned the AAACF Washtenaw County Healthy & Fulfilling Aging Systems Research Report: 2020 Analysis of the Local Senior Ecosystem & Opportunities, first of its kind research, to learn from older adults and caregivers in Washtenaw County about what matters most to individuals aged 55 and older and to explore potential community-driven solutions. 

AAACF contracted with Root Cause, a national research firm specializing in community development and systems change, on the report.

The community foundation is the largest grantmaker for older adult needs among Michigan’s community foundations and through this report, sought to understand the current status of local seniors and the systems designed to serve them.

The research project began in November 2019 and gathered insights through interviews with more than 70 local older adults and focus groups.

We’re sharing key takeaways and solutions from the report.

Demographics of Older Adults in Washtenaw County

•    Washtenaw County is home to an estimated 371,000 residents. More than 20% (72,000) are 65 years or older, and 15% identify as people of color.

•    79% of adults age 65 and older are not employed. In the past 12 months, 90% of households led by individuals 65+ years old received a mean income of $24,026.

•    Of the 50,000 adults age 65 and older who are not living in an institution setting, more than one in four (29%) have a disability. 

•    10% of older adults speak a language other than English, and 5% expressed challenges speaking English.

•    15% of older adults are U.S. military veterans. 

•    44% live alone, 3% live with their grandchildren and 1% are caregivers.

According to the report, “The demographic data reveals that service accessibility, availability and quality can differ for older adults based on geographic location, race, class, socioeconomic status and more. Healthy and fulfilling aging requires an interconnected web of services that accounts for these differences.”

Common Barriers to Healthy and Fulfilling Aging

From the more than 70 interviews and focus groups with older adults, the most common barriers to healthy and fulfilling aging were around the areas of housing, transportation, social connection and technology and access to information/services.

•    Respondents cited lack of affordable, senior-friendly housing options and the need for a central resource for affordable, vetted housing services like report contractors, real estate brokers, affordable housing programs and more. 

•    Respondents expressed that getting around Washtenaw County is very difficult without a car and that there is a strong need for a coordinated transportation system which offers door-to-door service and affordable options. 

•    Older adults shared the negative impacts social isolation has had on their mental and emotional well-being amid the pandemic, with many trying to stay connected through phone and Zoom calls. The need for access to high-speed internet and comfort with using a computer were critical during the pandemic.

•    Respondents shared that information on services and resources for older adults is difficult to find. The respondents cited the need for a centralized agency to help people plan for older adulthood, find resources, navigate health and financial benefits and access reliable information.

Recommended Actions

Based on the review of demographics and learnings from older adults, the report highlights four action strategies for impact and the intended results.

•    Solidify a more robust field around Healthy & Fulfilling Aging and Aging Justice: A cross-sector, collaborative stakeholder group to serve as an anchor to develop and own a county-wide aging strategy, expand partnerships with other groups, spread an aging justice lens across other fields and promote ages-friendly practices.

•    Champion older adult capacity to influence systems change: Empower older adults to expand civic engagement, generate new leaders and work with allies to build a political and economic power that works to improve aging systems. 

•    Shift mindsets to prioritize aging, older adults and systems change: Value older adults as a priority stakeholder group for engagement and investment.

•    Advance targeted solutions in priority aging areas: Solutions are defined, prioritized and make implementation progress in the areas of transportation, housing, community connections and equitable access.

AAACF shared it is committed to advancing these strategic actions through funding and collaborative partnerships. 

Want more?

Read the full report. 

AAACF has also named its new president and CEO, Shannon E. Polk, J.D., D. Min. Polk is an accomplished nonprofit leader with demonstrated success as an executive director, trainer, consultant, and board member as well as comprehensive experience in philanthropy including grantmaking, estate planning and fundraising. Read AAACF’s full press release.




Racial Equity at Lean Foundations

The inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic have led philanthropy to evolve and reimagine its work in a multitude of ways, especially as we work to advance racial equity.

Exponent Philanthropy’s new publication, Mind the Gap: Exploring the Role of Diversity and Racial Equity in Leanly Staffed Foundations, shares research on leanly staffed foundation demographics and how lean funders are approaching racial equity in their work.

Exponent Philanthropy, a partner of CMF, is a national membership organization with programs and resources designed specifically for funders working with limited infrastructure. 

The publication highlights Exponent’s most recent findings through its annual Foundation Operations and Management Report (FOMR), surveys and interviews with members. 

We’re sharing key data points and takeaways from the publication.

Key takeaways on the behavioral practices of funders surveyed:

•    73% of foundations reported racial equity as being somewhat relevant or very relevant to their mission compared to 65% in the previous year. 

•    25% of foundations shared that they do have an institutional commitment to addressing/ eliminating inequities. 

•    64% of foundations shared they do have authentic relationships with members of the communities they serve. 

•    36% shared that their board and staff have a strong understanding of the social, environmental and structural determinants of racial and ethnic inequities.

The publication highlights the findings collected from the 2021 FOMR on the board and staff demographics of participating leanly staffed member foundations:

•    72% of foundations have boards entirely made up of people who identify as white.

•    12% of foundations’ boards include one member who identifies as a person of color, and 3% of foundations have a board whose members all identify as people of color. 

•    Independent foundations have a higher percentage of Latinx and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) board members than family foundations and other types of foundations.

•    74% of participating staffed foundations have no paid staff who identify as BIPOC.

•    11% with a full-time CEO have someone in that role who identifies as BIPOC. 

•    15% of foundations have at least one professional/grantmaking staff member who identifies as BIPOC, and 26% have at least one BIPOC administrative/support staff member.

“We’ve seen in our data over the past few years that more lean funders are recognizing the importance of racial equity in their work. But we haven’t seen any significant shifts in the board or staff demographics of leanly staffed foundations,” Brendan McCormick, manager, research and education, Exponent Philanthropy told CMF.

McCormick works with Exponent Philanthropy’s staff, members and partners to develop resources grounded in research that relate to impact and evaluation and foundation investments. He also leads Exponent Philanthropy’s efforts to learn more about its community of lean funders.

“If funders want to advance racial equity, they can’t just look at their outward-facing practices, they also need to look internally at who holds power and why,” McCormick said. 

The publication outlines how foundations can integrate racial equity practices into their grantmaking in a variety of ways, highlighting catalytic philanthropy.

“Lean funders who are catalytic have shifted their philanthropy from a transactional, year-to-year practice of reviewing proposals and writing checks to a more transformational enterprise that engages people and stakeholders over years or decades,” the report states.

Key takeaways on grantmaking from the funders surveyed:

•    Foundations indicating that racial equity is very relevant to their mission are more likely to fund community organizing or movement building.

•    Foundations reporting that racial equity is somewhat relevant to their mission are more likely to streamline or simplify grant requirements. 

•    Foundations indicating that racial equity is very relevant to their mission are more likely to engage constituents in the grantmaking process.

•    Foundations stating that racial equity is somewhat relevant to their mission are more likely to collaborate with other funders.

•    Foundations reporting that racial equity is very relevant to their mission are more likely to meet with policymakers or politicians to educate them about an issue.

•    88% of foundations make grants that support children and youths and 78% make grants to support economically disadvantaged populations.

In conclusion the publication states that lean funders are increasingly focusing on racial equity, an essential part of philanthropy. 

“Not only is racial equity work in philanthropy important but it is necessary. Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a key component of catalytic philanthropy,” Afia Amobeaa-Sakyi, director, equity and inclusion, Exponent Philanthropy told CMF.

Amobeaa-Sakyi plays a critical role in shaping and sustaining an inclusive and equitable culture at Exponent Philanthropy, and among their community of lean funders and external stakeholders.

“Lean funders are well positioned to nurture and support leaders of color as well as small, dynamic grassroots organizations. Lean funders also are in a good position to engage grantees and members of the community in decision making,” Amobeaa-Sakyi said.

Want more?

Download the full publication.

CMF partnered with Exponent Philanthropy to offer the “Advocacy Field Guide for Lean Funders” to our community of philanthropy at no cost. Developed by Exponent Philanthropy and authored in partnership with Frontera Strategy, the guide features a set of seven practical, field-tested steps to engage in advocacy by leveraging the knowledge of your local community, your relationships and your voice. Access the guide. 




Member Spotlights

AAACF names Shannon Polk as President & CEO

Content excerpted from a Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation press release.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) Board of Trustees has selected Shannon E. Polk, J.D., D. Min., as its next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Polk is an accomplished nonprofit leader with demonstrated success as an executive director, trainer, consultant, and board member as well as comprehensive experience in philanthropy including grantmaking, estate planning, and fundraising. She has most recently led The Witness Foundation and consulted with the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area to facilitate staff competency in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

“Shannon Polk has the knowledge, experience, commitment, and passion for leading community-based organizations to greater impact and enhanced engagement,” shares Elizabeth (Betsy) Petoskey, AAACF Board Chair. “Trustees unanimously agreed Shannon’s experience in leadership, management, grantmaking, and philanthropy will help guide the continued growth and evolution of the Community Foundation.”

Polk’s appointment comes as AAACF continues to build on successful completion of a five-year strategic framework that resulted in more than doubling assets to $200 million for measurable impact across Washtenaw County and emerging as the largest grantmaker for older adults among Michigan community foundations. Polk’s career aligns with AAACF’s commitment to empowering others and building effective partnerships and collaborations to enhance community.

After graduating from Michigan State University, Polk gained both political and teaching experience that spurred a desire to address systemic change through community engagement and advocacy. Building upon her law degree from Western Michigan University and successful collaborations and partnership-building as Director of Leadership Program for Resource Genesee, Polk served several years on the place-based grantmaking team at the C.S. Mott Foundation, overseeing a $6 million grant budget focused in the areas of education, race relations, economic development, children and families, arts, and workforce development. As executive director of the Michigan Breastfeeding Network, she led a statewide advocacy effort that resulted in the passage of anti-discriminatory legislation.

Polk’s understanding of communities enabled her to consult with Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders Program to facilitate equitable grantmaking in major markets across the country. On a statewide level, Polk created and led numerous programs for the Council of Michigan Foundations, including mentoring, leadership development, and equity initiatives.

Throughout her career, Polk has maintained a deep commitment to community service at the local level. Her Doctor of Ministry from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary at Evangel University exemplifies her passion for serving others. Through The Witness Foundation, she has worked to develop the next generation of civil rights leaders committed to criminal justice reform, disability advocacy, entrepreneurship, arts, food access, and mental health.

“I was drawn to lead the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation because its Core Values of Prioritizing Community, Pursuing Equity, Earning Trust, Leveraging Knowledge, and Embracing Collaboration represent the way I have approached every aspect of my professional career and my personal principles,” Polk explains. “I look forward to building upon the foundation’s commitment to permanent endowment as a way to effect positive change across the entire County.”

Polk and her family—a husband who is also an attorney and a school-aged daughter—look forward to relocating to Washtenaw County and immersing themselves in all aspects of the community. She hopes to continue her engagement with The Links, Inc., and Junior League locally. Polk will begin her role at AAACF on January 10, 2022.





Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation Signs Disability Inclusion Pledge

The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation (GTRCF) is the first community foundation in the state of Michigan to sign onto the Disability Inclusion Pledge, which was developed by the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy to advance disability inclusion across the philanthropic sector.

The Disability Inclusion Pledge recognizes that ableism is a barrier to equity and inclusion, and foundations who have signed the pledge will commit to advancing systemic change within their organizations regarding disability inclusion. 

“Within our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we include health and ability status as an element of diversity. This means that disability inclusion must be a lens through which we consider our DEI priorities and through which we support our five-county region,” David Mengebier, President and CEO of GTRCF, CMF trustee and CMF Government Relations Public Policy Co-Chair said in a press release.

By signing the Disability Inclusion Pledge, GTRCF is committing to disability inclusion learning and pursuing action steps that go above and beyond minimum legal requirements, including but not limited to:

•    Incorporating disability inclusion language into organization communications.

•    Examining grantmaking process to be move inclusive of people with disabilities.

•    Providing regular disability education trainings to both the staff and board of directors.

•    Improving accessibility options at hosted events and engagements.

As CMF reported earlier this year, several foundations joined the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy to work together to advance disability inclusion through the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, including The Kresge Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Convened by the presidents of the Ford and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy consists of 17 foundations, including The Kresge Foundation, who have committed to work together to advance inclusion.  

The council’s long-term vision is to integrate disability rights and justice within the philanthropic sector through implementing disability-inclusive policies and practices, increasing representation in philanthropy by having more individuals who are disabled work as staff and board members and focusing on disability inclusive grantmaking. 

Want more?

Read the full press release.

Learn more about the Disability Inclusion Pledge.

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