September 24, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Self-Driving Cars: Preparing Our Communities for Tomorrow

Our state has positioned itself as a global leader for mobility and autonomous vehicle technology (self-driving cars).

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) shared that last week, Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials were joined by global transportation leaders at the Intelligent Transportation Society World Congress in Copenhagen, bringing Michigan’s work to the global stage.

This comes after the governor signed off on forming several international partnerships to support intelligent vehicle testing and technology development.

“We are committed to bringing all of the key stakeholders to the table to fuel the next generation of transportation,” Jeff Mason, CEO, MEDC said. “Michigan put the world on wheels, and we intend to continue to drive the industry forward into this next age of mobility.”

This aligns with  MEDC's initiative PlanetM which is aimed at advancing the future of transportation in Michigan.

Michigan is also home to Mcity, a world-renowned research and development facility for autonomous technology which opened in 2015 as the result of a public-private partnership. It is supported by dozens of partners, including several CMF corporate members: Bosch, DENSO, Ford and General Motors. This work has led to the world’s largest deployment of vehicles in a connected vehicle test environment, totaling 1,500 in Ann Arbor.

The state’s latest promotional campaign, Choose Michigan, boasts that nearly 2,600 mobility-related patents have been awarded within the last five years.

While efforts are underway to accelerate the development and implementation of such technology, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a CMF member, announced last week that they are committing $5.25 million to launch pilot projects in Detroit and four other cities in the U.S. to involve communities in the conversations and plans for self-driving vehicles.

The foundation shared that the work in Detroit will engage residents in addressing “challenges getting to/from busy stops that connect Detroiters to employment hubs.”

“Autonomous vehicles are one of the most disruptive technologies of our time, holding significant implications for the way we move, work and interact within communities,” Lilian Coral, director for national strategy and technology innovation at the Knight Foundation said. “Important conversations are happening among government and industry on what these changes mean for the future, but residents have largely been left from the table. Without their input, we risk designing cities for new kinds of cars, rather than for people.”

The Knight Foundation says this investment is the largest among its efforts to develop people-centered, “Smart Cities.”

“Knight believes that a true Smart City puts people first,” Sam Gill, vice president for communities and impact, and senior adviser to the president at the Knight Foundation said. “Self-driving cars have the potential to remake the face of cities. We want to work with city leaders to ensure those changes respond to residents — instead of putting residents at the whims of technology. Further, by involving residents on the front end, cities can facilitate a smoother rollout of new technologies and programs on the back end.”

The foundation shared that the strategies used in Detroit and the other cities will be used to inform best practices for other communities.

Want more?

Learn more about the Knight Foundation’s work.

Check out Mcity and PlanetM.







Report: Free College Programs Need Equity-Driven Design

We are hearing more and more about the idea of “free college” and how such programs implemented by state or federal government could alleviate mounds of debt and connect low-income families with pathways to college.

According to The Education Trust, which recently released a new report examining free college programs, 42 percent of Americans surveyed said college degrees aren’t worth pursuing due to the rising costs and therefore student debt.

Ed Trust shares that policymakers are now considering and implementing free college programs in states across the U.S. to address concerns about college affordability and make college more attainable to align with the needs of our changing workforce.

However, Ed Trust's report shows there’s more refinement needed to such programs to ensure they are considering low-income families and students of color who disproportionately face more barriers to attaining higher education.

The report provides a framework of equitable design criteria for free college programs.  

Ed Trust’s recommendations include:

  • Programs should help cover costs beyond tuition for low-income students. The most equitable approach would be to offer “first dollar” aid which ensures funding levels aren’t reduced due to other aid the individual may be receiving, such as a Pell Grant.

  • Such programs should cover the cost of program fees and tuition for at least four years of college. Limiting a program to only cover tuition does not equitably support low-income students.

  • Programs should include benefits for adults and returning students, instead of limiting the eligibility to recent high school graduates.

  • Programs shouldn’t have a GPA requirement above 2.0, which is what’s needed to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid.

  • Programs shouldn’t impose enrollment intensity or credit accumulation requirements because it can limit access to older students and others who may benefit the most from a free college program.

  • The program should not require repayment of aid.  

In Ed Trust’s analysis of the 15 active free college programs already in place throughout the country none meet all the report’s criteria for equitable design.

Ed Trust reports that out of the 31 total programs (active and proposed) they analyzed, they “aren’t inherently equitable.”

Our neighbor to the south, Indiana, is the only Midwest state with a free college program currently in place. Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars meets all but two recommended criteria by Ed Trust. 

Ed Trust writes, “Part of the reason that no state met all of our equity criteria is that free college programs are a major financial undertaking. It is difficult for states to cover tuition and fees for all, as well as the total cost of attendance for all low-income students. But this is why equity advocates should push for approaches that provide additional resources to states for free college programs, possibly from the federal government.”

In Michigan, there’s no state-level free college program in the works but philanthropy continues to leverage partnerships and collaboration to connect students with opportunities.

For instance, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s Complete Your Degree Program (CYD), in partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, is an innovative scholarship model which focuses on supporting students beyond tuition. CYD provides support for books, supplies and short-term expenses that may include transportation, food, medical care, child care and housing.

Want more?

Read Ed Trust’s full report.

Be sure to check out several breakout sessions and a main stage conversation you don’t want to miss focusing on education in Michigan at CMF’s 46th Annual Conference, Oct. 7-9 in Grand Rapids.






Influencing Young Americans to Act Report

How are young Americans being inspired to connect with social issues and take action?

The  Millennial Impact Report, supported by the Case Foundation, continues to provide new insights on this generation of current and emerging leaders and how the social sector can best connect with them.

Now, we’re getting a look at additional research released by the Cause and Social Influence Initiative, also supported by the Case Foundation which details what’s motivating Americans ages 18-30, which social issues they’re most concerned about and how they view civic engagement ahead of the elections in November.

The report states that this is the first step in identifying what influences young Americans to act and how individual actions can create mass movements that lead to change.

Key takeaways:

  • Civil rights/racial discrimination was cited as the top issue of concern for those surveyed followed by gun safety, immigration and climate change.

  • While social media is popular among this age group, it may be surprising for many to learn that their leading source of influence for social issues came from TV news.

  • About 75 percent of young Americans said they view voting as a form of activism. 

  • While they see voting as activism, signing a petition after being informed by the news media was the most common action step by the group.

  • Those surveyed said they trusted like-minded individuals, nonprofits and social movements. Local and federal government and corporations came in last when it came to trust for the group.

  • The report shares that as a result, younger Americans view their choices to buy from or boycott a company as a form of activism that can lead to change.

  • Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movements were the top movements of interest for the group followed by All Lives Matter and the Women’s March.

  • African-Americans had the highest rate of participation in a movement with 38 percent involved in Black Lives Matter.

These movements and others that have followed have garnered major national and global attention; the report shares that this demonstrates the power of change that began with an individual and led to large-scale engagement to drive change.

What does this mean for the social sector?

Much like the recommendations that have surfaced from the Millennial Impact Report, this report highlights the need for nonprofit, business and political leaders to “rethink the pathway of cause awareness, interest, adoption and deep action. Without doing so, you risk becoming less relevant every day.”

Want more?

Read the full report.








2018 Community Foundation Databook

CMF has released the 2018 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 91 percent 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 $38.5 million.

  • Community foundation assets have grown to $4 billion, up from $3 billion in the 2014 databook.

  • About 47 percent of gifts received by participating community foundations were made online.

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

  • Of those community foundations working in MRIs, 84 percent of MRIs were investments in a specific project in the community to support economic development.

Check out the 2018 Community Foundation Databook. 

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