The Download

The Download

September 12, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Price Tag of Tuition

As colleges and universities begin a fresh fall semester, earning a diploma at a public university in Michigan is costing students more than ever. According to the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), tuition has more than doubled at many of our state’s public universities since 2003. The MLPP attributes this to reductions in state funding and financial aid. The MLPP’s latest back to school report points out that the tuition surge is not in line with inflation, which would only attribute for a little more than a 20 percent increase, and not the actual triple digit increases.

The numbers

  • State funding for higher education dropped $262 million since 2003
  • State financial aid has dropped by 55 percent since 1992

The MLPP noted that the current situation is hurting college access, affordability and the state’s job market as our college graduates are in the ninth highest average debt level in the nation.

MLPP’s recommendations

  • Restore state funding cut from public universities and community colleges over the past few years
  • Pass legislation mandating clear information on student loans, job placement and expected earnings
  • Increase programs and policies that help low-income students
  • Implement a state work-study program, connecting employment with academics

A growing number of foundations across the state are working to address many of the issues facing our future college grads, specifically helping to connect low-income students with paths to a degree. The annual Community Foundation Databook, which CMF will release next month, shows that in 2015, Michigan community foundations granted nearly $13.5 million in scholarships.

Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is among the examples of philanthropy addressing this growing issue, providing scholarship awards to students who are of color, low-income, and/or the first generation in their family to attend college. Bay Area Community Foundation has a commitment scholarship focused on helping first-generation students earn a degree. The Saginaw Promise is a “last dollar” scholarship where the amount awarded is determined last based on what other financial aid a student receives.

Beyond traditional scholarship models, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and Huron County Community Foundation implemented a Talent Retention Program by using reverse scholarships to encourage skilled, educated college graduates to return home by offering them student loan repayment.

As for dollars coming from the state, the governor’s office said that Governor Rick Snyder’s goal is to return state funding for higher education to 2010 levels by the end of his administration.

Read MLPP’s full report on rising tuition.







Inequities of Race and Wage Exposed

Engaging children in interactive, educational environments in their early years is vital, for their development and future success in school. It’s no wonder a number of foundations focus their grantmaking on access and improvement to early childhood development. But a new report from Center for American Progress shows that while millions of children under the age of 6 are in center-based care and education, their teachers and caregivers fall into the bottom 20 percent for annual salaries.

The report, Underpaid and Unequal, shows a racial divide within that already smaller pay scale, with African American women making about 84 cents for every $1 earned by their white counterparts, which adds up to a gap of nearly $4,400 a year. African American teachers are also most likely to lack insurance coverage and access to financial support for education and training. The report notes that “examining the poor compensation available to the early childhood workforce through a colorblind lens ignores the vastly different experiences that women of color have had compared with white women in terms of their experiences in care work.” In recent years, there have been policy changes for more stringent educational requirements for teachers in early childhood settings, yet wages remain low.


  • A major federal investment in early care and education to increase compensation while ensuring care is affordable for parents
  • Improve professional development, education and training with a focus on equity
  • Enhance scholarships and support to teachers seeking degrees

New Detroit’s Metropolitan Detroit Race Equity Report, funded in part by The Kresge Foundation and The McGregor Foundation, highlights the racial divide in the Detroit region. When it comes to household income, the latest numbers provided by the report show a large disparity in earnings when examining different income brackets and races, including African American households with incomes less than $25,000 in:

  • Detroit: 46 percent
  • Macomb County: 34 percent
  • Wayne County: nearly 45 percent

New Detroit also realizes the importance of early childhood education and supporting educators. In 2015, the organization offered training programs for educators, as well as business camps for low-income high schoolers in hopes of narrowing the gaps for people of color.

The report highlights a number of organizations making a difference when it comes to leveraging opportunities for people of color, including the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Forgotten Harvest, Focus: HOPE and more.

Read more about the programs within the report's "Making a Difference" sections.

Learn more about New Detroit’s programs.






Curbing Violence in Michigan

While many cities across our state are looking for ways to stop community violence, the city of Kalamazoo is now working with the National Network for Safe Cities to begin implementing the Group Violence Intervention Program. It’s something the city has considered for a few years, but action was catalyzed after the tragic shooting death of a 13-year-old boy. Last month, funding was approved from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the city to make the program a reality.

According to Mlive, a team from the National Network for Safe Cities will review violent crime in Kalamazoo and propose a tailored approach and plan for the community. The National Network for Safe Cities develops strategies to reduce violence, minimize incarceration and improve relationships between law enforcement and communities. The organization is involved in more than 60 cities across the country, including Detroit, where they launched Ceasefire Detroit in 2013 to curb gang violence.

Ceasefire Detroit requires violent street group members on parole or probation to go to meetings as a condition of their release. During those meetings they hear from law enforcement officials and social services about programs that can connect them with job training, substance abuse counseling and transportation. The same program resulted in a 41 percent drop in homicides in Cincinnati and a 60 percent reduction in Boston. Flint is also listed as a member of the National Network for Safe Cities.

As highlighted in a June edition of the Weekly Download, there are ongoing efforts around Michigan as the philanthropic community seeks long term answers to community violence prevention.  At the request of members, including the Battle Creek Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Kalamazoo Community Foundation, our public policy fellow has done research and informed the public policy committee on violence prevention strategies. The findings will be presented to the CMF Board this week and soon shared with members as a resource.

The CMF Health Funders Affinity Group is also looking into various ways to educate peers about community violence prevention as a public health strategy, and CMF will update details as they emerge.

While Kalamazoo develops its plan with National Network for Safe Cities, you can learn more by checking out the resource, Group Violence Intervention: An Implementation Guide.







Berrien Community Foundation announces challenge to raise money for officer safety gear

Excerpted from an article by WSJM: read the full article here.

The Berrien Community Foundation is working to help the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department raise money for new officer safety gear, including vests and holsters. Following the recent fatal shootings at the courthouse in St. Joseph, the foundation said they got a large response from people in the community wanting to help local law enforcement in some way.

“We received many calls from community members asking what we could do to help, and just like everybody else, we wanted to do something,” Lisa Cripps-Downey, president of the Berrien Community Foundation said. “This was a small part that we could play in reacting to this tragedy.”

The community foundation announced a matching campaign; the foundation will give $1 for every $2 donated by the public, up to $5,000.

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