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Opportunities to Shape Federal Funding Through Partnerships

Michigan is receiving significant funding through federal and local recovery dollars, representing the largest federal investment in generations.

Michigan is receiving significant funding through federal and local recovery dollars, representing the largest federal investment in generations. As part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Michigan will receive an estimated $11 billion dollars over the course of this year and next. This is on top of billions already received from the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The state is additionally forecasting surpluses in state revenues close to $2 billion dollars above 2021 budget figures.

During the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference, CMF and the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) discussed how to effectively leverage the influx of federal funding.

David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and CMF trustee, moderated a conversation with CMF president and CEO Kyle Caldwell, Alize Asberry Payne, racial equity officer of Washtenaw County and Stephan Currie, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties. 

Caldwell discussed philanthropy’s role in navigating the incoming funding.

“When the recovery dollars became clearer, we decided that philanthropy could now stand in as a strategic partner to help lay the groundwork for scalable and equitable investments,” Caldwell said during the session. “Through the recommendations of our COVID-19 Working Group, we created the Statewide Equity Fund (SEF).” 

As CMF shared in July, the SEF is intended to serve as a collaborative vehicle for Michigan philanthropy to catalyze opportunities that advance impactful strategies to address systemic challenges laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The SEF empowers CMF members to strategically pool resources toward systems change efforts with an equity-centered approach, utilizing a co-investment model focused on the policy areas of public health, education and economic prosperity. 

For the first phase of this work, CMF launched a pilot which will focus on economic prosperity. 

“Philanthropy is putting together a $2 million pooled fund to work in five pilot communities to think about how we shape these dollars at the local level, putting equity at the center,” Caldwell said. 

The pooled resources through the SEF Strategic Support pilot will support bringing technical assistance into municipalities as they think about the planning of these resources, sharing innovative approaches, metrics and tools that help inform public sector and philanthropy investments and supporting innovations to regional partnerships that can shape future public investments and outcomes. 

Caldwell said CMF is collaborating with partners like MAC, Michigan Municipal League (MML) and the Michigan Association of Regions to help identify the five regions for the pilot. 

“Our best play is to work with great partners who know their members well and talk to them about what their members are saying they really need,” Caldwell said. “Working with the business community to understand these local tables - how do we create thoughtful and strategic conversation about the deployment of these dollars and make sure it is informed by community voice.”

The SEF Strategic Support Working Group has been working through the Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) with the State Budget Office to help Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office shape their criteria for the use of the stimulus funds, which includes equity and transformational investments.

“For our members, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape funding for years to come and we think it’s very important to get these partners at a table to think strategically about this,” Caldwell said. 

Want more?

Learn more about the Statewide Equity Fund. 

Learn more about the SEF Strategic Support Working Group. Diana Sieger, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Melanca Clark, president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and CMF trustee serve as co-chairs of the Working Group. 

If you would like to learn more about this work or share what you are doing in your own region to support local units of government in making transformational investments with federal funding please contact Regina Bell, director of government relations and public policy.