September 23, 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Countdown to Census 2020

We are now 191 days away from Census 2020 and efforts across the state to support a complete count are in full force. In one week, Michigan residents will start to see the first wave of advertisements and messaging on billboards and through television and radio stations about the importance of participating in the census through the work of the Michigan Nonprofits Complete Count Campaign (NPCCC).

The NPCCC is led by the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) in partnership with CMF. It launched in 2017 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The campaign is supported by more than 40 CMF members and it recently received $5 million in appropriations funding from the Michigan Legislature, growing the campaign’s assets to more than $10.4 million.

Donna Murray-Brown, a co-chair of the NPCCC and president and CEO of MNA, recently shared updates on the committee’s work at a meeting of the state’s Complete Count Committee.

The state’s Complete Count Committee was established by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in June. Murray-Brown serves on the committee along with CMF’s president and CEO, Kyle Caldwell.

The state’s committee also received a briefing and a timeline on what the U.S. Census Bureau is planning from Marilyn Sanders, regional director for the bureau. 

Sanders shared that in-field address canvassing operations are still underway; bureau employees are walking designated census blocks to verify addresses now through October.

Starting in January, the U.S. Census Bureau will launch an advertising campaign to encourage participation and begin enumeration in remote Alaska.

Residents throughout the U.S. will begin receiving initial invitations by mail to respond to the census starting on March 12. For those who live in areas with low internet connectivity, they will receive a paper questionnaire in their first mailing.

The bureau shares that regardless of how households are invited to respond, respondents will be able to respond by any of the three modes—online, by phone or by paper.

Since Michigan residents will start receiving invitations to respond in just a few months, the NPCCC is launching a new “microsite” next week as a pre-census preparation site to give everyone an opportunity to see all nine questions that will be on the census to provide transparency and ease concerns about the questions being asked.

Despite these efforts, concerns about an undercount still remain around the state.

Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (MSU IPPSR) brought together stakeholders from the academic, government and philanthropic sectors for a recent public policy forum to discuss the challenges in collecting census data and best practices for achieving high public participation and count rates.

At the forum, Joe Scantlebury, vice president for program strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and CMF trustee, shared challenges facing Michigan in the census.

In his presentation Scantlebury outlined key strategies to help the state get an accurate count of all residents:

  • Educate. Leaders across sectors should learn about the census and its importance for their communities, and share information within their spheres of influence.

  • Engage. Leaders can participate in trainings and engage with resources to learn about effective methods for promoting the census to their communities.

  • Empower. Leaders can provide materials about the census, information on completing the census, and opportunities and resources for community members to complete the census.

WKKF is one of many CMF members through the NPCCC and beyond working to ensure all Michiganders are counted.

Eleven CMF member community foundations are serving or partnering as regional census hubs through the NPCCC in their area. There are 13 Michigan hubs in total, covering every region of our state. The hubs have been in the process of finalizing or announcing their mini-grants to grassroots organizations doing on-the-ground outreach efforts to historically undercounted communities.

Want more?

Connect with the NPCCC.

Check out upcoming census webinars.  

Learn more at a breakout session at CMF’s Annual Conference: The Countdown to Census 2020: What You Need to Know happening on Monday, October 7 at 2 p.m.






TRHT Kalamazoo Team Lead Advocates for School District Resolution on Interactions with Law Enforcement

Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) recently passed a resolution to ultimately provide guidance to the district on interactions with law enforcement agencies for its students.

As a public school district, KPS is legally required to enroll all students and protect their personal information regardless of the student’s citizenship status.

The resolution states in part that the school board “believes that it is important to establish protocols for district administration and staff to address court orders, search warrants, subpoenas, visits and/or inquiries from federal, state or local law enforcement agencies that may be seeking access to or information from the district's students.”

Truth Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo shared on social media that the resolution was led by Tandy Moore, a member of the KPS Board of Education and the lead for TRHT Kalamazoo’s Separation Design Team.

“Every child deserves the right to feel safe at school,” Moore told CMF. “The looming threat of detention, deportation and separation from loved ones - parents, family members, friends - is ever-present in the lives of many of our schoolchildren, and directly impacts their ability to learn.”

KPS now plans to review district policies and implement administrative guidelines for district administration and staff on how to handle situations that may involve its students and their families.

“This resolution is not a silver bullet that eliminates that threat but acknowledging the rights of all of our students and their families to safe access to public education, and holding district leadership and staff accountable for upholding those rights, is an important step,” Moore said.

TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Kalamazoo is one of four TRHT sites in Michigan.

TRHT Kalamazoo shared that within its Separation Design Team, separation examines ways to address segregation, colonization and concentrated poverty in neighborhoods to ultimately ensure equitable access to housing, education and jobs.

“My hope is that this resolution is only the beginning of an ongoing conversation around the ways children experience harm in a society that marginalizes so many, and that we continue to seek out ways that our institutions can act with intention to dismantle the hierarchy of human value.”

Want more?

Learn more about TRHT.

Connect with TRHT Kalamazoo.







Statewide Microloan Fund Continues to Grow to Support Women Entrepreneurs 

This fall the first loans from the Michigan Women Forward’s (MWF) Community Impact Notes (CIN) will be deployed to help Michigan women grow their businesses.  

A year ago, MWF, a CMF member, launched CIN, a revolving microloan fund as a vehicle for foundations, family offices, corporations and banks to provide impact investments into MWF. 

MWF says $10 million of CINs are now being raised throughout the state to provide loans to low- and moderate-income women, primarily women of color. Interest from the fund and the microloans will pay for at least half of the deployment costs and technical assistance support.  

“It’s a beautiful statewide team effort,” Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of MWF said. “We are excited to offer this opportunity to all foundations, family offices and corporations who want to make impact investments that will improve the lives of women in Michigan and break the cycle of poverty for those who have been unable to obtain access to capital to start or grow a business.” 

According to Jennifer Oertel, CMF’s impact investing expert in residence, CINs have been used for more than two decades.

“Because charities cannot issue traditional ‘ownership’ interests, the investors lend money at a certain interest rate to the charity (including a charitable fund) that in turn lends out that money for charitable purposes at an interest rate that is set at a level so that it may repay investors (with the promised interest rate) and cover the charitable lender’s costs of operating the program,” Oertel said. “Sometimes foundations will provide a loan loss reserve that further de-risks the capital for investors.”

Cassin tells CMF that the innovative approach has proven to be very effective and in the first year nearly 30 percent of the fund has been committed. 

The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, all CMF members, have provided MWF with loss reserve dollars and infrastructure funding so the loans can be effectively made and their social impact tracked.   

MWF is also working closely with some community foundations to get involved in this work. 

“This is the perfect impact investing vehicle for community foundations. They can invest in us and we do the on-the-ground work for them of finding the entrepreneurs, making the loan and getting repaid,” Cassin said. “Their money makes the impact, but we do much of the front-line work. The benefit for MWF is tremendous, it provides loan dollars in communities where we have not had dollars to invest – like Flint and Ypsilanti.” 

Cassin is also talking with some private foundations that would like to get started in impact investing and want to partner with MWF because of its experience in this work and because many foundations do not have internal impact investment staffing at this time. To further help lower the costs associated with impact investing, CMF’s Impact Investing team connected these potential investors so that they can share due diligence.

The first loans to be deployed will be from the Adrian Dominicans and the Sisters of Mercy funds.

MWF has been focused for some time on investing in women entrepreneurs through programs, mentorship opportunities and investments. 

Over time, the organization has invested $3.3 million to help more than 200 women start and grow businesses. Approximately 386 jobs were created in Michigan by MWF clients’ companies.  

Cassin says the CINs expand this work on a statewide level and align with the MWF board’s long-term goal of achieving financial sustainability by the development of balance sheet assets and earned income that contributes 50% of operational expenses each year.  

Want more? 

Learn more about the fund by connecting with Carolyn Cassin. 

Be sure to check out What’s the DEAL with Impact Investing?, a breakout session happening Monday, October 7 at CMF’s 47th Annual Conference.  

In November, CMF is hosting a series of impact investing convenings for members in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Southfield. Check out the dates and join us for a conversation happening near you!

LOCUS is hosting a series of livestreamed talks on impact investing, beginning on December 11. If you are interested in being a local viewing site, you can sign up with LOCUS. 






2019 Community Foundation Databook

CMF has released the 2019 Community Foundation Databook which examines assets, grants, gifts, finance and operations, and program- and mission-related investments among Michigan community foundations.

The databook is the most comprehensive statewide analysis of community foundations in the field. This year, about 89% of community foundations in the state participated in the annual survey.

Key takeaways:

  • Education and instruction (non-scholarships) remains the top-ranking annual grant category awarded by community foundations, totaling $41.3 million.

  • Community foundation assets have grown to $3.8 billion, up from $3.2 billion in the 2015 databook.

  • Over $2.36 million in grants were awarded by community foundations, a 10% increase from 2018.

  • 28% of community foundations who responded to the survey say they engage in program-related investments (PRIs), with 12% completing mission-related investments (MRIs).

  • Four of five respondents who engage in mission-related investing perform due diligence in-house.

This year’s databook includes a pair of data points that are new for 2019. While community foundations have been asked in past surveys whether they own or lease their office space, this year’s survey also included questions asking whether those who own their space have tenants and whether their space is made available for community convenings. The 2019 findings show that while the majority do not have tenants (68%), the majority do provide community space (77%).

Check out the 2019 Community Foundation Databook.

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