October 30, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Michigan Needs to Get Counted

A major statewide initiative recently launched, focusing on ensuring an accurate census count in 2020 so Michigan doesn’t lose out on more than $17 billion in federal funding.

The Michigan Nonprofit Association’s (MNA) 2020 Michigan Nonprofit Counts Campaign is underway. With startup funding from W.K. Kellogg Foundation and support from CMF, the campaign will work with nonprofits to support on-the-ground outreach efforts within historically hard-to-count populations to ensure a complete count in Census 2020.

Hard-to-count populations include children, immigrants, people living in rural or low-income communities and people of color.

“Nonprofits have better success with get-out-the-count efforts and interacting directly with people in their communities than government does due to a higher level of trust,” Joan Bowman, external affairs officer, MNA said.

Bowman led a Big Thoughts, Quick Talks table at Our Common Future conference last week, highlighting Michigan’s campaign, what’s at stake if we don’t receive a complete count, and the work ahead.

What’s at stake:

  • As CMF has reported, census data helps determine how more than $500 billion in federal funding will be spent on critical federal programs, such as food assistance, housing vouchers, Head Start, healthcare and much more. This data also helps shape economic development projects as businesses use it to help determine where they should locate or expand.
  • Michigan’s state budget relies more on federal funding than any state in the country other than Mississippi. 
  • Unfortunately, not everyone gets counted and often our most vulnerable communities get overlooked, including people of color, low-income communities, children, renters and the homeless.
  • Michigan stands to lose an estimated $1,800 of federal funds per year for every person who isn’t counted.
  • Census data is used to reapportion the 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats among the states. In 2020 Michigan could lose a congressional seat, resulting in a decrease in the number of seats Michigan has in the Electoral College.

MNA’s campaign has many elements including a Nonprofit Complete Count Committee that will be comprised of statewide grassroots organizations who serve or represent historically hard-to-count communities. The committee will provide guidance for the campaign, mobilizing their members to participate in local get-out-the-count efforts in their communities.

The campaign states that it will:

  • Provide trainings and tools for nonprofits on effective outreach tactics
  • Assist nonprofits in identifying hard-to-count communities
  • Award mini-grants to local nonprofits and track their activities to share insights
  • Coordinate a statewide communications plan and work with government officials to avoid duplication of efforts and enhance government’s communication and outreach efforts to ensure a complete count.
  • Collect, analyze and visualize data by partnering with universities across the state. The campaign will provide local communities with data to inform their efforts in reaching hard-to-count populations.

Bowman said to start, the campaign is focusing on four cities, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Dearborn which have hard-to-count populations, with the goal of maintaining participation rates from the 2010 census.

Bowman said there are many challenges with this census including lack of funding.  That’s why Bowman said increasing participation rates will be incredibly difficult, which is why maintaining previous rates is critical to secure federal funding levels.

As CMF has reported, decisions that could impact the equity and accuracy of our census counts are being made now.

“We’re targeting cities in the next six weeks to make sure they sign up for the LUCA program (Local Update of Census Addresses Operation), the deadline is December 15,” Bowman said. “LUCA is the only opportunity offered to governments to review and comment on the U.S. Census Bureau's residential address list prior to the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau relies on a complete and accurate address list for inclusion in the census.”

Testing or “dress rehearsals” for the census are happening in 2018, demonstrating the urgency for funding to build the platform that will be tested next year and used in 2020.

CMF is part of the Forum’s Census 2020 Project, through a grant from the Joyce Foundation, the project is aimed to educate philanthropy about the census, increase funding support for the census and mobilize funders to advocate for policy improvements for the census. 

Want more?

Connect with the 2020 Michigan Nonprofit Counts Campaign






Arts Social Change Movement: The Michigan Initiative 

How can we best engage our communities in arts and culture programming, events and organizations to enhance learning and community engagement? 

Through grant support from the Frey Foundation and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation nonprofits working in the arts and culture space recently gathered at a series of workshops in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Traverse City to dive into research and opportunities to build public will around arts in their communities. This project originated from interest from CMF’s Arts and Culture Affinity Group.

Arts Midwest, a nonprofit regional arts organization led the Creating Connection workshops, sharing that their workshops are part of a “national social change movement dedicated to making arts, culture, and creative expression a more recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life.”

 “Numerous studies have shown that a vast majority of the American public engages in creative activities on a regular basis,” Anne Romens, program director, Arts Midwest told CMF. “Yet our sector is often treated as a nicety, rather than a necessity. We’d like to change that by using proven social change theories and approaches to help people see how arts and cultural activities are already aligned with their values.”

“We’re conducting research designed to uncover what people value and how those values relate to arts and culture,” Romens said. “With that research in hand, we’re working with arts providers across the country to help them create new messages and experiences that align with those values—thus broadening relevance among current audiences.”

What Arts Midwest’s research tells us:

  • There’s a participation gap in Americans participating in more formal arts activities which are defined as attending concerts, museums, theatre, etc.
  • Only 33 percent of Americans go to a formal arts event once a year, this subgroup of people has been declining over the years.
  • About 38 percent of Americans say they participate in arts activities on an informal basis, which may include festivals, their church choir, etc.
  • There’s 29 percent of Americans who aren’t involved in arts formally or informally, which poses an issue for audience and donor engagement.
  • Barriers to arts and culture engagement include: time and money.

How can we engage them? While we may share the value of arts and culture by highlighting the economic impact, how they create a sense of understanding of different cultures, and build community, Arts Midwest shares that those angles may not resonate or motivate the public as values do. That’s why the research highlights top values identified by the public that organizations can craft their messaging around to engage their communities.

Arts Midwest points to research which shows what Americans value most:

  • Research shows family and health and well-being are the two-top cited things that are most important to people surveyed.
  • “Doing things with children and family” is cited as the top priority.
  • Connection is a key motivating value.

Arts Midwest shares a model where organizations can create connection in their messaging, marketing and websites by focusing on four pillars: growth, voice, well-being and happiness.

Highlights include:

  • Happiness: Develop messaging and visuals that show your organization’s events and programming can create lasting memories.
  • Well-being: Develop messaging and visuals that show your organization’s events and programming can reduce stress, energize and recharge, promote cognitive development.

Arts Midwest is currently working with a team of arts, cultural, and civic leaders across Michigan to share the early results of the Michigan workshops and develop next steps to support communities across the state in accessing and applying the research.

“We’re hopeful that those next steps will include workshops in eastern Michigan, the UP, as well as opportunities to revisit Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City, to support those communities in experimenting with these concepts and sharing them beyond the arts community to potential allied sectors and partners,” Romens said.

Want more?

Learn more about Arts Midwest.

Connect with CMF’s Arts and Culture Affinity Group.

Connect with the work underway in Michigan. Please contact Chelsea Holmes to learn more.






Fund the People: Building Capacity for Grantees 

Building capacity for grantees can help to catalyze and expand impact in the communities we serve.

Fund the People, a national campaign focused on investing in the nonprofit workforce, led a conversation at Our Common Future conference last week on talent investment.

The organization has shared its Fund the People Toolkit, funded in part by the Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which provides best practices and strategies for funders seeking to build capacity of their grantees.

Fund the People shares the top reasons to invest in nonprofit talent, highlights include:

  • “Strengthens nonprofit performance and organizational effectiveness,” through boosting morale, productivity and service.
  • Fund the People shares that about 1 percent of foundation dollars are invested in nonprofit leadership development, showing a need for more investment.
  • While the country is on track to become a nation with a majority people of color, only 16 percent of people of color are in nonprofit leadership positions, showing a need for increased diversity.
  • Investing in talent promotes collaboration among colleagues of all ages, helping to close any inter-generational gap.

“Nonprofit people are nonprofit programs. Investing in the nonprofit workforce is one of the most effective strategies for increasing the performance, impact, and sustainability of nonprofit organizations – and the funders who support them,” Rusty Stahl, president and CEO of Fund the People said.

The toolkit explores the various options for funders to consider in Thinking Through Options in Talent Investment, highlights include:

  • Determine the level of intervention that aligns with your foundation: Is it with individuals, at an organizational level of a nonprofit, a network/ecosystem of nonprofits or the sector as a whole?
    • Fund the People shares that each level requires different kinds of investments and attention. For instance, investing in individuals leads funders to get a better understanding of their needs based on their identities, career stage and job roles. For nonprofit organizations, they vary in maturity and needs.
  • Determining your options for talent investment in grantmaking
    • Foundations can choose to invest in talent within grants, on top of grants, through foundation-administered programs, or outsourced programs.
  • Determine the people: Where will you invest? There are different roles and job levels foundations can consider from the board level to prospective staff.
    • Fund the People shares that “enabling grantees to offer well-paid internships can bring a more diverse group of new leaders into the nonprofit pipeline.”

There’s several resources for funders to explore within the toolkit, but what could talent investment look like for a funder? A few highlights from 10 potential areas of focus include:

  • Organizational culture: Investing in this area promotes a workplace that “encourages and enables healthy morale, motivation and self-discipline, loyalty, leadership at all levels, engagement, inclusion, and productivity.
  • Recruitment, retention, retirement: Developing procedures for these three R’s may include campus outreach, supporting internal career paths, transition plans and staff alumni engagement.
  • Personal sustainability: “Supporting engagement, morale, stress management, work/life balance, and long-term personal sustainability.”
  • Human capital planning: “Preparation for building the organizational chart, skill sets, and staffing needed to develop strategic plans, and mission-related goals and objectives.”

Funders can take a deeper dive into the possibilities, best practices and strategies for talent investment by checking out the full toolkit.

Want more?

Explore Fund the People’s Toolkit.

Connect with CMF’s Talent and Human Resources Affinity Group.






Our Common Future Conference

Our Common Future conference convened more than 1,400 individuals from more than 600 organizations from Michigan and across the country in Detroit last week, making it the largest conference ever hosted by CMF, MNA and IS in the history of the three organizations.

“I would not be here without Russ Mawby,” La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) opened the Main Stage events by paying tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Russ Mawby, who founded CMF, MNA, the Michigan Service Commission and was chairman emeritus of WKKF.

We explored the most pressing needs facing our communities and how creative collaborations and new partnerships can power us toward real, equitable, long-term change:

  • “We need to forge alliances around the non-negotiable,” Rip Rapson, president and CEO, The Kresge Foundation said.
  • "Real empowerment is saying you decide what the right message and priorities ought to be,” Darren Walker, president, Ford Foundation said.
  • “This city (Detroit) should be a model for the world,” Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder, Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up.”
  • “Diversity is a moral and strategic imperative and makes us better grantmakers,” Dr. Robert Ross, president and CEO, The California Endowment said.
  • "No matter what, speak the truth with love and respect. Telling the truth isn't wrong. It's just the truth,” Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO, Native Philanthropy said.
  • "All of us here have 526,000 minutes a year - how can we come together and collectively transform the world?” Dan Cardinali, president, Independent Sector said.

On Friday’s main stage, Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy (MFAAP) honored Robert Thornton, senior program officer, The Skillman Foundation with the 2017 Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy. The award recognizes the significant efforts and contributions of individuals in the field whose work and grantmaking activities promote effective and responsive social change in communities of color.

Stay tuned, CMF will be sharing deep dive content into CMF member-designed sessions from conference throughout the coming weeks, so you can experience the takeaways and data from national thought leadership, Michigan-specific issues and programs.

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