The Download

The Download

November 7, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hometown Heroes

Many veterans and veterans’ groups across the country have shared sentiments that they feel disenfranchised with our political system, and some feel forgotten completely. While mental health treatment and resources for veterans have been topics in recent presidential debates and town halls, there’s a call for more action. Later this week we will pay tribute to those who have served in our armed forces in honor of Veterans Day. What’s the climate for veterans living in Michigan?

  • Michigan is home to more than 650,000 veterans, with the 11th largest veteran population in the U.S.
  • One-third of our state’s veterans live in metro Detroit
  • About 50,000 post 9/11 veterans live in Michigan, Veterans Affairs estimates as many as 20 percent of post 9/11 veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues linked to depression and suicide

An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day in our country, stressing the need for mental health interventions and resources. U.S. Senator Gary Peters just announced that he has co-sponsored a bill to improve the veteran crisis toll-free hotline, in hopes of saving lives.

Often connected with mental health, we have veterans living on the streets. More than 4,000 homeless veterans are estimated to live in our state, a troubling number but welcome decrease from years past. In the latest report by Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) it shows the number of homeless veterans has dropped by 15 percent.

MSHDA and Michigan Veterans Affairs announced they’re partnering with continuums of care around the state to end homelessness for veterans. In Muskegon County, they identified more than 50 homeless veterans in the area, in just a few months the county’s continuum of care network connected 20 of those people with housing.

There are several nonprofit organizations and agencies statewide offering transitional housing, counseling and addiction treatment services for veterans.

  • Emmanuel House Recovery Program in Detroit has served more than 3,000 veterans struggling with addiction, mental health issues or homelessness
  • Piquette Square in Detroit more than doubled the number of long-term supportive housing beds available to homeless veterans in Michigan
  • Michigan Veterans Foundation’s main project is the Detroit Veterans Center, offering transitional housing and resources. The foundation hopes to open similar facilities in other locations in the state
  • Feeding America West Michigan (that also serves the UP) recently received a grant from the M&M Area Community Foundation, a CMF member, to fund a pilot project to help a local veterans assistance program offer food to those in need
  • Ford Motor Company, a CMF member, is sponsoring 175 scholarships to help veterans to receive Red Cross nurse assistant training

These call-outs are a small reflection of a range of efforts happening statewide to support our veterans, not just on November 11 when we honor our hometown heroes, but year-round as Michigan works to end veteran homelessness and provide resources to support their future success.






Millennials’ Impact: Politics and Philanthropy

The 2016 divisive presidential race that has grabbed all-time high television ratings, dominated social media and created contentious debates throughout our country, will be decided tomorrow. While we wait to see the outcome, one generation is said to have significant power in this election cycle: millennials (those born 1980-2000).

Where do they stand and what could this election mean for their future interest in social issues?

The Millennial Impact Project, supported by the Case Foundation, released its latest findings, examining the evolving ideas of millennials, shaped by our political climate. Researchers wanted to find out how millennials’ cause engagement may trend during an election year, to help organizations who may utilize this generation for future change understand what makes them tick, especially in a challenging political landscape.

Among the findings, the research revealed that two categories increased during the study, the number of millennials saying they won’t vote for either major party candidate and those opting not to vote at all.

Key findings:

  • During the last few months of the campaign millennial interest increased in three social areas: education, health care and employment
  • More millennials continue to self-identify as conservative-leaning rather than liberal-leaning, based on answers they provided to researchers
  • Millennials consider themselves activists but without showing a strong affinity for direct action
  • Fewer millennials believe they can make the country a better place to live, the biggest drop in this belief was among women millennials
  • Women also reported lower participation in social issues and activities, dropping anywhere from 3 to 12 percent in some categories

The report notes the study is ongoing, but researchers believe after the study is complete, it will show that millennials’ interests in social causes change during an election cycle based on their political alignment and their cause-related engagement on social media and activities will increase to support those interests. The Millennial Impact Report expects to release another wave of data after Election Day.

Want more?
Dive into all the data from the Millennial Impact Report’s ongoing research.







Narrowing the Early Childhood Education Gap: An Update

We know access to high quality childcare and early childhood education may be out of reach for many lower income Michigan families, as CMF explored the findings of Building a Better Childcare System, a report prepared for the Michigan Department of Education Office of Great Start, with funding by the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, in a September edition of the Weekly Download.

The study revealed the higher costs of childcare may be creating an early childhood development gap.

The report highlights how Michigan families who should benefit from financial assistance for childcare may need a lower income to qualify in Michigan, as our state’s income eligibility limits are among some of the strictest in the country.

The Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) and CMF's P-20 Education Affinity Group recently held a briefing on the findings of the study. More than 30 CMF members were in attendance and have requested that CMF provide next steps on how they can coordinate efforts to overcome the gap.

The study has struck a chord with many in the philanthropic community. As a result of our previous coverage, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County shared with us what they are doing to increase access to high quality early childhood education.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s Women’s Initiative, in partnership with St. Clair County’s Great Start Collaborative, announced a new tuition assistance program for local families with preschool age children.

The community foundation’s Women’s Initiative identified similar issues found in the study when it comes to a lack of resources available for 3 to 5-year-olds.

A snapshot from St. Clair County:

  • Only 41 percent of their 3 and 4-year-olds attended preschool (2009-2013)
  • Total childcare providers dropped from 124 to 115 within the past year alone
  • Full-time childcare costs an average of $606/month
  • 69.4 percent of parents with a child (infant to 5-years-old) is employed

The community foundation’s assistance funding is dedicated to working families who earn more than the threshold covered by state and federal resources, but still fall into the 251-400 percent federal poverty level range, and have a preschool age child enrolled in a quality program.

“Our hope is that this tuition assistance program will focus on those Michigan families in the gap: families making too much income to qualify for Head Start or the Great Start Readiness Programs, yet not able to make ends meet with quality childcare costs,” Jackie Hanton, vice president, Community Foundation of St. Clair County said.

The foundation’s goal is to give all children the opportunity for one year of high quality preschool, ensuring they’re kindergarten-ready.

Several CMF members are working to improve affordability and access to high quality early childhood education programs.

Last month the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced the Innovation Fund, a collaborative effort involving several CMF members, is investing an additional $6.2 million to support programs and services at Detroit area Head Start agencies. The fund is also expanding its scope to the tri-county region after data showed one-third of young children in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties lack access to high quality early education and care.

Want more?

Learn more about St. Clair’s tuition assistance program






Cook Family Foundation’s scholarship model offers roadmap for larger statewide effort

Excerpted from the University of Michigan’s Fall 2016 Leaders and Best, read the full article here.

The University of Michigan announced a new scholarship program aimed to replicate and expand the scholarship work of the Cook Family Foundation.

The Cook Family Foundation ensures every student from Shiawassee County who’s admitted to the University of Michigan receives support to attend, and every year two students receive large four-year scholarships. Before the foundation developed its scholarship program few Shiawassee County students even applied to U of M.

There are many other counties, especially rural counties, that are underrepresented at U of M. Of the 10,000 in-state U of M applicants most are from just seven of the state’s 83 counties, primarily in Southeast Michigan.

That’s why the Michigan Alumni Scholarship is following the Cook Family Foundation’s lead from their work in Shiawassee County by offering financial support to students from other areas that are underrepresented at U of M, expanding reach to counties in the upper portion of the Mitten.

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