September 10, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Michigan Ballot Proposals: What You Need to Know

In less than two months, Michigan voters will elect our next governor and weigh in on several key issues.

There are several proposals slated to be on the ballot, you can view them all here.

Some of the key ballot proposals include redistricting, voter engagement, the Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Act, a part-time legislature and the legalization of marijuana.

We’re providing information regarding key ballot proposals related to philanthropy’s work.

Create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

If passed in November, this ballot measure: Create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, would transfer the authority of drawing our political maps from elected officials (the Michigan Legislature) to an independent, nonpartisan committee of registered voters.

Last week CMF’s Board of Trustees voted to support this ballot proposal, at the recommendation of CMF’s Public Policy Committee as it supports fair, accessible and equitable civic engagement for all.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission would be comprised of 13 commissioners who are randomly selected from a pool of registered voters, consisting of four members who self-identify as Republican, four members who self-identify as Democrat as well as five non-affiliated members.

Current and former partisan elected officials, lobbyists, party officers and their employees aren’t eligible to serve on the committee.

The Secretary of State would oversee the selection process of the committee members.

Advocates for this ballot measure say that creation of an independent committee would prevent gerrymandering - when government officials draw political maps to ensure their party voters remain the majority.

A recent report from the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan found that Michigan has a history of gerrymandering, the results of which are experienced for the 10 years following the redistricting that occurs after release of the census data, which will be collected next in 2020. 

Eric Lupher, president of CRC, wrote an article about their research for the Detroit Free Press, explaining how gerrymandering can affect civic engagement.

“Gerrymandering also erodes public trust in the political process,” Lupher wrote. “When groups feel the system is designed to limit their voice, or prevent them from electing candidates, it can lead to citizen disengagement and weaken the representational aspect of our governmental system.”

Michigan Radio reports that if the measure passes in November, there will be at least 15 public hearings to guide the planning process of the independent commission.

Promote the Vote

Another key ballot proposal is Promote the Vote. If passed, this proposal would provide qualified Michigan voters with the following rights:

  • To vote on a secret ballot.

  • For military and overseas voters to be sent a ballot 45 days before an election.

  • To vote straight party on all partisan general election ballots.

  • To be automatically registered to vote when obtaining a driver’s license or a personal ID card (unless the person declines).

  • To register to vote by mail on or before the 15th day before an election.

  • To register to vote in person at any time with proof of residency.

  • To vote an absentee ballot, by mail or in person, without giving a reason.

  • To have election results audited to ensure the accuracy of elections.

The Promote the Vote website states in part, “Every eligible person can vote, and every vote will count. By making voting more accessible, secure and fair, our democracy will better serve all Americans and our laws will better reflect the will of the people. Everyone – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – deserves to have their vote secure and counted.”

As Bridge Magazine reports, “Opposition to the initiative has been quiet to date. No one spoke Thursday against certifying the proposal, though a ballot committee called Protect My Vote challenged a number of Promote the Vote’s signatures.”

The CMF Public Policy Committee will be studying this ballot proposal to provide a recommendation to the CMF Board of Trustees at its October board meeting. The results of this study will be shared with members.

Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Act

This proposal focuses on initiating the Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Regulation Act, prohibiting the state from granting easements over or through the Great Lakes for pipelines to transport crude oil. Coming up next month, the CMF Green and Blue Network will host a breakout session at CMF’s 46th Annual Conference about how funders can play a role in solving complex environmental problems, using Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac as an example. Attend this session to learn more regarding this proposal and issue.

To get further connected with what’s ahead in November, CMF is hosting a special webinar this Friday, Do’s and Don’ts: Supporting and Advocating for Ballot Issues. The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) will join us to take a deeper dive into the ballot issues and we will discuss how you can legally advocate.

Want more?

Register for the September 14 webinar: Do’s and Don’ts: Supporting and Advocating for Ballot Issues.

Learn more about Promote the Vote.

Check out the ballot for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.







Zeroing in on Workforce Development

While our state’s unemployment rate has dipped to 4.3 percent, trending lower than it has in recent months, there’s still a skills gap and a workforce shortage facing our state. 

A look at the data:

  • Our state projects there will be 811,055 high-demand career openings through 2024.

  • The highest number of job openings will be in information technology and computer science; manufacturing; health care; professional trades and business with the average salary for these careers at $60,532.

  • Michigan has more than 100,000 unfilled job openings.

  • In Southeast Michigan, job postings for software developers grew 416 percent over five years. Job postings for mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers all soared as well.

  • 73 percent of construction companies have reported difficulties in recruiting talent.

  • In July, there were more than 300,000 more construction jobs than the same time period last year.

How can we prepare students for the careers needed today and, in the future?

“I think the community colleges play a huge role, not just with the high school students that want to move on in a postsecondary way, but also the adults,” Roger Curtis, director, Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan said during a recent panel discussion with the Detroit Free Press. “Community colleges are probably one of the most misunderstood entities in the educational system, and the opportunities that are there to utilize them I don't think are fully being maximized.”

Community college foundations, a membership category at CMF that opened just three years ago, from around the state recently gathered at CMF member Northwestern Michigan College with CMF corporate and independent foundation colleagues to discuss the issues at play, how they can be engaged and what other funders are doing to support workforce development and respond to the changing environment.

Lisa Baragar Katz, senior program officer, economic vitality and entrepreneurship at the William Davidson Foundation and the founder of Workforce Intelligence Network, framed and moderated the daylong discussion.

DTE Energy shared at the community college convening that they’re working to close the learning gap and prepare students for immediate employment opportunities by partnering with community colleges such as: Lansing Community College’s Electrical Apprenticeship Program, Monroe Community College’s Nuclear Engineering Technology Program and Henry Ford College’s Energy Technology Program.

There are major efforts underway on the state level, also focusing on building partnerships to address the skills gap.

As CMF has reported, the governor’s Marshall Plan for Talent, aimed at closing the talent gap, will invest $100 million over five years in programs to attract and develop talent in Michigan.

The Marshall Plan is supportive of partnerships between the education and business community and other sectors to ensure students are learning the latest skills needed in the workforce. There are opportunities for community colleges within the plan.

Macomb Community College and Schoolcraft College have partnerships with their local school districts to help build talent. Through the Marshall Plan, such partnerships could be eligible for funding for a talent consortium, which would help fund community colleges to teach skills-based courses.

The Marshall Plan has grants available for community colleges and universities, who are involved in such partnerships, to provide coaches to mentor students.

Here are a few innovative programs underway at community colleges focused on engaging youth in career pathways and enhancing workforce development:

  • Kellogg Community College: The college’s next Kellogg Advanced Manufacturing Assembly training program begins next week. It’s a four-week program to prepare participants for entry-level manufacturing positions and is open to Battle Creek residents who meet income guidelines.

  • Delta College: The college partners with Dow Chemical to prepare individuals for careers through their 13-week program, Delta College Chemical Process Operator Fast Start.

  • Lansing Community College: The college announced recently they’re partnering with Google to expand the college’s digital skills training to job seekers and small businesses in the area.

  • Schoolcraft College: Earlier this year, the college hosted a Career Pathways Open House to connect with middle and high school students about opportunities in technology and engineering.

  • Mott Community College: This summer the college launched MOTT NEXT, a summer youth program giving middle and high school students a chance to explore career opportunities first-hand.

Barton Malow and DTE Energy, both CMF members, shared with community college foundations workforce development initiatives they are working on which show the value of these partnerships, which include:

  • Barton Malow Bootcamp: A six-week program that provides classroom instruction and supervised on-the-job training in partnership with unions, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent and Detroit Workforce of the Future.

  • Randolph Career and Technical Center: A partnership with Barton Malow, DTE Energy, Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Employment Solutions Corp to update, renovate and bring back essential classes. DTE Energy shares that the center had 232 people enrolled this summer with a goal of 300 attendees by the end of the year.

 “The convening of community college partners was a helpful opportunity to share successes and challenges,” Rebecca Teahen, executive director, Northwestern Michigan College Foundation, a CMF member, said. “The partnerships some colleges, funders, and other community partners have created are inspiring and will help to create opportunities to change lives and change communities in a positive way.”

Want more?

Learn more about the Marshall Plan for Talent.

CMF and the Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) are hosting the webinar: The Marshall Plan for Michigan Talent: Engaging with State Government on Workforce Development next week on September 19,  where we will hear from the Michigan Department of Education and Department of Talent Economic Development about the initiative, opportunities and how funders can get involved.






What Public Health Means for Michigan

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released a new report: An Ounce of Prevention: What Public Health Means for Michigan, which examines the current state of public health, the challenges facing our state and recommendations for a better future.

The report states, “Michigan is a tremendously unhealthy state.” The data shows that on average our state exceeds the national average on rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, pneumonia, the flu and much more, compared to national averages.

The report highlights the need for long-term, sustainable investments in public health.

Public health affects our state in many ways including: education (students’ ability to learn), workforce development efforts, our economy, quality of life and the ability to attract and retain talent in Michigan. Public health issues also disproportionately affect low-income communities and people of color.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • When it comes to funding public health, Michigan is in the bottom 10 states in per-capita funding for public health, at $128 million.

  • Our state is heavily reliant on federal funding to support public health, “yet federal fund­ing for public health appears increasingly scarce.”

  • The report points to this lack of investment in public health as a contributing factor to harmful environmental toxins facing communities. It also notes that a lack of funding affects resources needed for officials to promote health and address societal factors that contribute to poor health and health inequities.

  • Additional funding in Michigan would allow the state to develop new policies and programs to address public health issues.

  • Social determinants of health - not medical care - account for the greatest proportion of disparities in the health of different communities.

  • Health inequities face our Michigan communities. For instance, a person who lives in one of several zip codes in the Detroit area has a lower life expectancy at birth than the national average. This is due to various factors facing those communities that can worsen their health over time.

  • Improvement is needed for Michigan’s system of public health service delivery as it’s currently fragmented among several departments in our state.


  • The report agrees with the Governor’s Public Health Advisory Commission that our state needs a comprehensive review of public health funding on the state level.

  • A deeper examination to understand the best way to maximize service efficiency and equity of public health delivery.

  • Increased cross-sector collaboration among nonprofits, community-based organizations and government.

  • All state departments and agencies should adopt a “health in all policies” approach as policy decisions in many different areas, including city planning, impact public health.

  • Leverage programs across departments to promote and improve public health. One example is providing education programs which provide greater health literacy.

CMF’s Health Funders Affinity Group developed a breakout session for the Annual Conference that dives into how funders can help transform the state of health in Michigan. Be sure to check out Mobilizing a Healthy Community, during CMF’s 46th Annual Conference in Grand Rapids October 7 -9.

Want more?

Read CRC’s full report.








Igniting Ideas, Sparking Change. Philanthropy on the Move. What’s in Store for You in Grand Rapids!

If you haven’t already secured your discounted registration rate for CMF’s 46th Annual Conference, Igniting Ideas, Sparking Change., time is running out!

Online registration closes September 30. Be sure to lock in your discounted rate now to join us in downtown Grand Rapids, October 7 – 9.

Your peers from around the state have designed a can’t-miss three-day event for you that lifts up the latest trends, research, tools and resources to bring fresh ideas to your work.

As part of conference activities, we will head out to visit two iconic locations in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, Fountain Street Church and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

On Sunday, at Fountain Street Church we will hear from CMF members and partners about public-private partnerships at work in Michigan and the powerful community-building impact they achieve. We will also get special after-hours access to the Fountain Street’s curated ArtPrize exhibit.

This is a particularly special year because this will be the final conference for Rob Collier as president and CEO at CMF. On Monday night, we head to the Grand Rapids Public Museum for “The Sweet, the Savory and Surprises: A Night to Remember,” where we will celebrate Rob and his dedication to Michigan philanthropy.

Also, we know that improving education outcomes has proven very challenging for Michigan so on our Monday main stage, hear about the historic diverse coalition of stakeholders that has formed committed to boosting education excellence. We will hear from CMF members about the outcomes of their work that aligns with these efforts.

Our conference wraps up Tuesday with Frans Johansson as he shares how the best opportunities for innovation and growth are found in diversity, when disciplines and ideas intersect.

Register for CMF’s 46th Annual Conference.

View the full conference schedule.

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