The Download

The Download

March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hate Incidents ‘Unprecedented’ in MI

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is currently monitoring at least 86 places throughout the state where hate incidents have been reported, with more than half occurring at schools and college campuses.

The MDCR usually intervenes in five to 10 cases in a year. In December, CMF reported the MDCR was tracking and intervening in 65 incidents that were reported throughout the state in less than two months.

The MDCR presented the latest data to CMF's Public Policy Committee on Friday, following its presentation to CMF's Board of Trustees last month, as the department is seeking cross-sector partnerships to help communities respond.

“The rate at which this is happening and evolving is unprecedented,” Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, community outreach director for MDCR told CMF in an interview. “The number of vulnerable communities being targeted simultaneously and that need support, is unprecedented.”

“We have to change channels and understand the fact that it’s ‘not happening’ in your community is a fallacy,” Mark Bishop, strategic partnership coordinator and hate crimes specialist at MDCR said.

Bishop and Gonzalez-Cortes said these incidents are not isolated to urban or rural areas, they’re spilling over into communities across Michigan, targeting our Native American communities, people of color, people’s religious beliefs, the LGBTQ community and beyond. They said hate incidents victimize more than one person or group, they create a ripple effect, impacting entire communities.

Gonzalez-Cortes said it’s crucial for our communities to develop strong community outreach and engagement programs with our youth.

“What are we doing today and what can we do tomorrow, when the victims are the youngest in our community?” Gonzalez-Cortes said. “That’s the stuff that keeps me up at night.”

The MDCR is calling on a cross-sector of partnerships to help communities prevent hate incidents and crimes and respond if they do happen.

MDCR’s targeted areas of support for intervention include:

  • Building communications capacity for nonprofit partner agencies across the state, to help them communicate in multiple languages and with community messaging to avoid rumors and misinformation.
  • Developing and training rapid response teams to deploy around the state to share education on hate incidents and bias, “know your rights” information and education.
  • Training a variety of community members, law enforcement and other community stakeholders in identifying and responding to civil rights infringements.
  • Supporting cultural events and youth events to educate them on diverse populations and raise awareness of bias.
  • Support youth engagement and anti-bullying programs in schools.

Gonzalez-Cortes said funders can also help by convening and engaging their communities, and asking what the community’s capacity is to respond to a hate incident and to prevent an incident from happening? Those conversations can lead to identifying partnership opportunities and a roadmap for the community.

At CMF’s recent briefing on immigrant and refugee issues, Michigan United shared that they’re partnering with the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), the ACLU and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center in a hate crime collaborative to focus on community education which will include lessons on bias, how to report incidents, file complaints and develop impact litigation.

CMF will continue sharing updates and recommendations for tackling hate incidents in our communities.

Want more?

View resources from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Learn more about Michigan United

Join ACCESS’ Take on Hate campaign







Great Lakes to Lose $290 Million?

Our Great Lakes generate jobs, serve as a lifeline to our robust tourism economy and as a drinking water source for 30 million people.

This week the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, funded by several CMF members, is heading to Washington, D.C. for Great Lakes Day, as groups gather to discuss priorities and policies around the Great Lakes. This comes as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), housed within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), faces a potential reduction of 97 percent of its federal funding, from the current $300 million to $10 million.

The EPA calls the GLRI “the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.” The GLRI is aimed at ensuring a healthy future for our lakes and protecting them from pollution, invasive species and other environmental threats.

Many opposing the cuts are pointing to a public health issue, as EPA grants and regulations focus on preventing pollution, ensuring clean air and water quality.

“If something happens to the EPA and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, it’s going to be public health that suffers,” Bradley Cardinale, a University of Michigan ecologist said in a Huffington Post article. “This is going to result in a lot of job loss, a lot of pollution and reverting us back to many of the problems we had when Lake Erie once caught on fire because it was so polluted.”

Representative Dan Kildee, penned an op-ed, saying the cuts would halt programs that battle invasive species, habitat restoration projects and “funding to prevent harmful algal blooms, like the one that occurred in Toledo affecting the drinking water of 400,000 people.”

CMF talked to the co-chairs of the Green and Blue Network (GBN), a CMF learning community for environmental funders, about how the reduced funding could impact environmental work on the ground in Michigan.

“Many of our nonprofit (NGO) partners have been able to use GLRI funds to clean-up the environment and protect water quality,” Tom Cook, co-chair of GBN and executive director of the Cook Family Foundation said. “This important work has taken place with local, state and regional nonprofits. GLRI funds make them powerful partners with the philanthropic community."

Tom Porter, co-chair of the GBN and co-founder of the Michigan Climate Action Network, said cuts to the EPA and the GLRI create more challenges for our state as it’s already underfunded when it comes to environmental issues.

Porter said less federal funding means foundations and nonprofits will “have to double down on local efforts.”

“What people are doing is focusing on local action, where people work and live, so a lot of philanthropy is doing that already,” Porter said.

The work on the ground will continue, Porter said and he encourages those interested in the environment to connect with their local nature conservancies and environmental nonprofits.

Porter said a big priority for the Great Lakes Funders Collaborative, a group that seeks to strengthen cross-border collaboration and action by the funding community in the Great Lakes region, is dealing with the algae growing in Lake Eerie.

For supporters, protecting the Great Lakes is viewed both as a public health issue and an economic issue, to keep Michigan’s tourism industry booming.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes said in a statement,“Great Lakes protection is not a partisan issue. No matter how different our backgrounds, Great Lakers value clean water."

Michigan Republicans and Democrats have released statements voicing support for the Great Lakes, calling the potential cuts “extreme and dangerous.”

Representative Fred Upton said, “I will be fighting hard alongside colleagues on both sides of the aisle so we can turn this around and make sure our Great Lakes are properly protected.”

Want more?

Connect with the Green and Blue Network.

Join the Green and Blue Network at the Kalamazoo Nature Center on March 17.







Learning for Effective Philanthropy

As we seek innovative solutions to tackle our communities’ most pressing issues, we’re getting an inside look at how foundation staffers and trustees around the country gather and use knowledge to hone effectiveness and affect change within their organizations and their grantmaking.

A field scan, Peer to Peer: At the Heart of Influencing More Effective Philanthropy, was recently released by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, to highlight what funders want to know, where they go for that information and some of the barriers they may face in affecting change.

Highlights include:

  • Peers and colleagues are a preferred knowledge source for funders, allowing them to tap in to insights on shared interests, regional issues, expertise, etc.
  • Funders want to know more about best practices on collaboration, communication, governance, strategy and more.
  • The top three areas where funders seek practice knowledge include: evaluation/assessment, grantmaking and advocacy/topics.

Across the board funders want to know about the most effective and helpful model for evaluation and assessing impact. The scan notes, “Funders have become more outcome-oriented over the past two decades but still struggle to effectively measure and articulate their impact.”

While the scan shows that foundations look to their peers, to networks, membership and affinity groups for information, insights alone aren’t enough to lead to change within organizations. The scan shares that organizational readiness and openness to change are key to implementing change for effective philanthropy.

Those interviewed mentioned top barriers to change, including:

  • Bureaucracy: Slow decision making and siloed organizations 
  • Reluctance to take risks: Is your foundation’s board of trustees supporting a culture that's open to taking calculated risks? 
  • Lack of accountability: Lacking honest feedback can create complacency.
  • Lack of time and resources: It can be difficult to implement new knowledge with limited time.

What can catalyze practice knowledge and change:

  • Shifts in the economy, politics, social landscape, etc. can propel a foundation to shift using knowledge
  • Change in leadership
  • Planning and assessment can lead to foundations seeking feedback, assessing needs and adapting for change

What does elevating knowledge to change look like?

The Kresge Foundation was highlighted as a case study in the scan for using the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) resources, Working Well With Grantees and Grantee Perception Report, in evaluating practices with their grantees and implementing change.

“We used the guide during that process to help do some level-setting and to work on creating some new shared cultural norms at Kresge about the values of providing great customer service to grantees, being more responsive and being more proactive in reaching out to grantees,” Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director, The Kresge Foundation and CMF trustee said.

The learning led to the foundation conducting “more frequent and shorter ‘pulse’ surveys with a sample of grantees” and following up with grantees on grant reports within three months.

Researchers say it takes support from peers, leadership and the organization to transform learning documents and insights into institutional changes that can effectively up your grantmaking game.

Want more?

Connect with your peers through CMF’s affinity groups and learning communities.

Pose a question, crowdsource ideas through a CMF online community.







Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund Collaborative awards first grants to tri-county region

Content excerpted from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. Read the press release.

The Head Start Innovation Fund Collaborative (Innovation Fund), supported by 10 CMF member foundations, announced its awarding grants to nine agencies in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

It’s the first round of grants since the Innovation Fund expanded into the tri-county region and continues the fund’s support for nearly 9,000 children and their families. The Innovation Fund awards competitive grants for programs and partnerships that improve the quality of Head Start services and outcomes for children and their families in Detroit and the tri-counties.

“The Innovation Fund was impressed with the plans agencies proposed for teacher recruitment and retention, as well as programs that will assist early educators in supporting children and families living in adverse conditions,” Katie Brisson, vice president of programs, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which administers the fund on behalf of the 10 foundations said.

The nine grants totaling $1.5 million will go towards Head Start and Early Head Start teaching retention and development, trauma-informed training and support for parents and staff and an innovative apprenticeship program for high school students interested in an early educator career.

The $11 million Head Start Innovation Fund is supported by 10 foundations who are part of the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, they’re also CMF members.

  • Colina Foundation
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • McGregor Fund
  • PNC Bank Foundation
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • The Jewish Fund
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Skillman Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
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