September 30, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

New MI Opportunity Zones Website Launches

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) have partnered to launch a new website that provides information on Michigan’s Opportunity Zones (OZs) and corresponding tax incentives.

OZs, which are designed to increase long-term investments in low-income communities around the country to stoke business growth in those areas, were created in 2017 as part of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. There are currently 288 OZ census tracts across Michigan.

Through OZs, taxpayers can get capital gains tax deferrals for investing in Qualified Opportunity Funds. These funds can then be invested in qualified OZ properties, which can increase the amount and stability of businesses in low-income areas.

MSHDA and MEDC have designed the new website to provide information for investors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, developers, builders and more to encourage investment in the state’s OZs.

The new website provides a hub for resources about OZs in Michigan, including a map of the state’s OZs, how to market a community to investors, information for developers and updates from the state and federal level.

“At MSHDA, we’re advancing the conversation around Opportunity Zones and offering decision-makers across the state knowledge, tools and resources to take advantage of what they have to offer,” Gary Heidel, acting executive director, MSHDA said in a press release. “Questions continue to come in about what Opportunity Zones are and how business owners and community leaders can take advantage of them. This website will answer those questions and more as a one-stop, comprehensive resource aimed at giving interested parties information they can use to engage in our Opportunity Zones.”

The website highlights a few OZ projects underway in Michigan, including Capital City Market, which will add a four-story mixed-use building consisting of an urban grocery market, market-rate residential units and a hotel in a formerly blighted and contaminated property on Michigan Avenue in Lansing.

The state shared that the partnership between MSHDA and MEDC is critical in encouraging local business leaders and developers to invest in neighborhoods and areas with the potential for growth.

“Working together with our partners at MSHDA and other state agencies, we are working to make more businesses and developers aware of the benefits of investing in our Opportunity Zones, and this new website will be an important resource in helping to tell that story,” Jeff Mason, CEO, MEDC said.

While projects and resources continue to emerge around Michigan and the U.S., The Kresge Foundation continues to push for higher levels of reporting and transparency in OZs to ensure equitable community development. Foundation staff recently shared insights from this work in two podcasts: an episode of Wharton Business Radio’s “Dollars and Change” and SOCAP’s “Money + Meaning.”

Want more?

Check out the new MEDC and MSHDA website.

Learn more about Michigan’s Opportunity Zones.






New Legislation in Place Ahead of Medicaid Work Requirements

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed off on bipartisan legislation that is aimed at protecting coverage for Healthy Michigan Plan recipients once new work requirements go into effect on January 1.

The governor signed Senate Bill 362 last week in an effort to ensure recipients have enough time to report their work status to the state and avoid losing coverage.

“We know from other states that many people lose health care simply because they struggle to navigate complex and unduly burdensome requirements,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Moreover, while the supposed rationale is to promote employment, the result is a loss of health care coverage, and that itself is an obstacle to employment.”

As CMF reported earlier this month, the New England Journal of Medicine’s (NEJM) research into the effect of the work requirement mandate in Arkansas showed that many Medicaid recipients said they were unaware of the policy or confused about how to report their status to the state. A federal judge halted the program in Arkansas after 18,000 recipients lost their coverage. 

The Healthy Michigan Plan, available through the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), provides coverage to more than 680,000 people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Earlier this month the state estimated as many as 270,000 Healthy Michigan Plan recipients could be at risk of losing their coverage once the new requirements go into effect.

The newly signed bill in Michigan will:

  • Increase the amount of time a person can report their work status, expanding it from the 10th day of the month to the last day of the month.

  • Allow recipients 60 days to verify their work status if they fail to meet the monthly reporting deadline.  

  • Ensure some individuals who qualify for and are receiving other state supports and are in compliance with those requirements will automatically have their work status verified. 

“These changes will reduce the number of people who must jump hurdles to provide proof of what they are already doing,” Whitmer said.

The governor highlighted the ongoing work of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) as it continues outreach and messaging to recipients to make them aware of the work requirement and reporting process.

However, Whitmer stated that even with such efforts combined with the legislation, there will be an impact of the new work requirements statewide.

“While SB 362 meaningfully reduces the potential impact, the likely coverage loss under this legislation remains enormous,” Whitmer said.

Michigan is one of 16 states where work requirements are in the works or involved in legal challenges. Indiana is the only state where work requirements are currently being implemented according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. 






Nonprofit Impact Matters

The National Council of Nonprofits (NCN) has released a new report which details the value of nonprofits as well as the challenges the sector is facing.

Nonprofit Impact Matters: How America’s Charitable Nonprofits Strengthen Communities and Improve Lives provides an inside look at the operations of nonprofits nationwide, the importance of their work, gaps that may exist in nonprofit support and opportunities to help them advance their missions.

“Nonprofits provide vital leadership in building and sustaining thriving communities across the country,” Donna Murray-Brown, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and board chair for NCN said. “We’re economic powerhouses, champions of democracy, and promoters of civic engagement. When we come together to amplify our voices, we’re a powerful force for more equitable communities and the common good.”

While nonprofits are vital to our communities, they also help fuel our economy, employing more than 10% of the country’s private workforce.

 The report provides a snapshot of four major challenges the sector is facing.

Meeting growing needs of the public

Research shows that many states, including Michigan, still have higher human need rates (which includes food and housing assistance) than the pre-recession era, which is affecting nonprofits.

From that lens, nationally, 57% of nonprofits reported that their organizations couldn’t meet the demand. For nonprofits serving low-income populations, 65% of nonprofits said they’re straining to meet the public demand.

Policy proposals that threaten the work of nonprofits

Policies can sometimes inadvertently impact the work of nonprofits. The report points to the importance of keeping tabs on what’s happening on the state level, since research shows that’s where most policy action occurs.

On average, state Legislatures may pass more than 28,000 laws in a given year, compared to the federal level where it can pass more than 330 laws, according to the report.

When it comes to nonprofits, research shows that less than 3% of nonprofits lobby to advance their missions – compared to 100% that have the legal right to do so.

Beyond legislative lobbying, advocacy can include educating lawmakers, research and analysis, media advocacy - which involves educating the public, and much more.

“Since nonprofits see the solutions to the community’s challenges firsthand, nonprofits should be sharing their insights with policymakers to help them make informed decisions,” the report states.

For funders who want to help advance advocacy work, general operating support can be a powerful vehicle to help nonprofits do so.

Trends developing around charitable giving

The report states, “One trend is that, over the last 15 years, fewer households have been making donations to support the work of nonprofits. Also, the amount that ‘small’ and ‘medium’ donors have contributed has been declining.”

Continued lack of diversity, equity and inclusion

The gender pay gap and a lack of diversity are cited as continued areas that need improvement. The report points to recent research in the first national survey of race and leadership in the sector conducted by the Building Movement Project, in which one-third of the respondents who are people of color reported that their race or ethnicity had negatively impacted their career at a nonprofit.

Increased demand for nonprofit services, concerns around charitable giving, a need for more diversity, equity and inclusion in the sector and increased advocacy work are all areas funders across the country and here in Michigan are working to address.

New research continues to emerge showcasing how philanthropy can best partner and support the growing needs of nonprofits.

Last week, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) released a guide on foundation and nonprofit relationships and how major givers can support nonprofits most effectively.  

Earlier this month, a major collaborative effort by five foundations, including the Ford Foundation, a CMF member, was announced. The effort is aimed at leveraging new practices to “end the nonprofit starvation cycle.”

Want more?

Read the full report.







Seven CMF members commit to $1 million fund to support Detroit Youth Choir

Coming off of their second-place run on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” the Detroit Youth Choir (DYC) returned home recently to acclaim and admiration from their city.

Hundreds crowded into Campus Martius in downtown Detroit to welcome the DYC home. Greeted by the Detroit Lions cheerleaders and mascot, and the Mumford High School Drumline, the choir performed “Champion” by Carrie Underwood, which they sang during their run on the show.

The performance was part of a larger homecoming event for the DYC, which included leaders from across the city. Unbeknownst to the choir, the celebration included the announcement of a $1 million fund to recognize their accomplishments.

Wendy Lewis Jackson, Detroit Program managing director, The Kresge Foundation and Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation announced the fund.

“We’re here today because a group of philanthropies and businesses in this city wanted to come together to show our appreciation, love and pride for all of you,” Lewis Jackson said. “Together, we established a fund that will ensure there is support for the Detroit Youth Choir now and into the future.”

“At The Skillman Foundation, we believe every young person in this city deserves the opportunity to show their genius,” Allen said. “And didn’t the Detroit Youth Choir show genius? We were so grateful that America loved you the way that we love you. It was great to see America and the world champion you. We love the support; we love the accolades; and we love the love that they gave to you. But ain’t no love like a Detroit love!”

Seven CMF members committed to support the fund, including: The Skillman Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ballmer Group, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), the DTE Energy Foundation and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, as well as Bank of America, Huntington Bank and Dakkota Integrated Systems.

CFSEM will manage the fund, which will support DYC in perpetuity. DYC will receive funds to further its mission of youth development through performing arts, mentorship and skill-building.

In addition to the fund, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan awarded the DYC with the key to the city, making them the youngest-ever recipients of the honor.

Want more?

Read about the fund and watch a video of the announcement.

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