What We Heard from CMF Members on the CEO Listening Tour
New CMF president and CEO Kyle Caldwell is sharing some of the key themes that emerged from his eight-week multi-stop listening tour that welcomed nearly 150 members from more than 50 unique foundations. In January, February and March 2019, Caldwell traveled across the state for both regional events and informal gatherings members hosted in their homes.
A 2.5-minute video on CMF's YouTube channel features listening tour photos and highlights.
We are grateful to the event hosts! They include the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Marquette County.
Caldwell says he welcomed the chance to immediately begin to grow his relationships with and understanding of members after beginning his new role with CMF.
“While I have worked in the Michigan philanthropy field for most of my career, I knew it would be important to invest time in more deeply understanding the perspectives of our members.”
Caldwell says he also recognized the need to talk with CMF members, face to face, about their work.
“Not since the tax reform of 1969 has our field faced as complicated a changing landscape as we face today. Our world is changing—politically, demographically, economically, environmentally—and philanthropy is at the forefront of exploring how society needs to adapt.”
In each region, three specific questions guided the dialogue:
What are the opportunities, trends and challenges you see for Michigan philanthropy?
What is the most important role CMF can play to address these opportunities, trends and challenges?
What are new leadership roles you see for Michigan philanthropy and for CMF?
“Our hope was that these conversations could inform CMF’s future strategic planning efforts while also initiating local dialogues to identify common challenges and opportunities for the field. Our hopes were far exceeded.”
Through small group and large group conversations, the following common themes emerged:
CMF must maintain its leadership role in advancing public policy.
Members need support in cultivating the next generation of philanthropic leaders.
CMF is urged to consider fostering or creating “neutral space” to have civic dialogue around hard conversations.
Michigan philanthropy needs to maintain multi-sector (business, government, nonprofit) ways to communicate together.
Michigan philanthropy needs to support efforts that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
Michigan philanthropy needs to more effectively respond to new trends in giving habits.
Michigan philanthropy needs to remain engaged in unique public-private partnerships and going forward, the economic roles and roadmaps must be clear about our respective boundaries.
Data-informed decision making needs to be widely adopted and philanthropy should lead the way.
Michigan philanthropy and CMF’s role may need to evolve as we explore how to respond to the changing environments for philanthropy.
These represent just some of the issue areas that emerged from conversation on the listening tour.
Which of these themes resonate most for you? We want to hear from you! A quick poll is open now through April 26. You can also share comments using #OurMIcommunity on CMF’s Twitter page and Facebook page (@michfoundations). Let’s keep the conversation going!
In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to explore both short- and long-term strategic integration of the input collected during the listening tour.
One way that Caldwell says he envisions responding to this member feedback was inspired by responses to the question asking about the roles CMF can play in addressing opportunities and challenges. The most common answer: Helping to facilitate discussion and coordinate safe spaces for dialogue, not only with CMF peers, but also with community leaders, local business and nonprofit partners, and government officials, among others.
“There are issue areas unique to each region that will require hard conversations. I heard loud and clear that members are eager to dig into and wrestle with those issues together. I believe CMF can be a successful partner in that work,” Caldwell remarks.
Members are invited to stay tuned for more on these future opportunities!
Undercount Issues Facing Children in Census 2020
Michigan stands to lose $1,800 in federal funding per person not counted in Census 2020, every year for 10 years.
Unfortunately, several communities are at risk of being under counted in the census, including people of color, low-income families, renters, people living in rural areas and children under the age of 5.
Nationally, about one million young children, or 5 percent of those under the age of 5, were not counted in the 2010 census, making them the largest undercounted age group in the last census.
The census data directly guides federal funding for school districts and programs such as Head Start, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and free or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs. Therefore, when children aren’t fully counted such necessary programs don’t receive the necessary funding to serve young children.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, common situations where young children aren’t counted includes children who are:
Splitting time between two homes.
Living in a lower income household.
Living in a household where they’re not supposed to be for one reason or another.
Living in a household with young parents or a young, single mom.
Living in a non-English or limited English speaking household.
Living in a household of recent immigrants or foreign-born adults.
The Census Bureau has shared messaging for families and individuals about the importance of participating and getting kids counted.
If a child is splitting time between homes, families or caregivers should count where the child stayed on Census Day, April 1.
The bureau has a legal commitment to keep census responses confidential and says it will never share information with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies or allow the information to determine eligibility for government benefits.
The census counts all people living or staying at an address, not just the person or family who rents or owns the property.
Non-English-speaking individuals are encouraged to self-respond to the census. The online form and phone line will be available in 13 languages. Language guides will be available in 59 languages.
As CMF has reported, through the Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign, led by the Michigan Nonprofit Association and supported by and leveraging the expertise of many CMF members, customized messaging for hard-to-count communities in Michigan will be deployed through grassroots organizations doing on-the-ground outreach in the coming months.
Check out the new resource from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Connect with the Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign.
The Power of Public Spaces
A new report from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is highlighting what Detroit and four other cities around the country have learned through Reimagining the Civic Commons, a project that's transforming public spaces.
The Knight Foundation announced last week that this work began three years ago when the foundation partnered with The Kresge Foundation and others to see, “Would it be possible to revitalize and connect disused civic spaces to foster greater civic engagement, promote economic development and enhance environmental sustainability?”
The report – Common Goals, Different Approaches – provides an overview of the progress and key takeaways from the cities participating in this work.
In Detroit, the project is focused in the Fitzgerald neighborhood where there’s 20 acres of vacant land and nearby vacant storefronts.
The Fitzgerald project is intended to infuse greenways and public space into the neighborhood.
The Civic Commons team held 100 community meetings to get input over the past couple of years which informed the plan for Ella Fitzgerald Park.
The city acquired 400 vacant properties in the neighborhood and turned them over to a developer in what the city says is one of the largest land transfers to a single developer in its history.
The space officially opened last summer after the city transformed the 26 vacant lots into a green space.
This has been a cross-sector effort. The city of Detroit has leveraged $4 million in funding for the project to become $40 million in public, private and philanthropic investment.
“Has it been done before? Everything you’re seeing here has been done before,” Maurice Cox, planning director for the city of Detroit said. “Is there a city that took 26 vacant lots and turned it into a 2 1/2-acre park across alleys and streets? Probably not.”
There are more plans in the works, to continue to fill vacant storefronts and lots with tenants and spaces based on the residents’ needs and feedback.
Civic Commons is also intentional about transforming the area without displacing residents. The team is working to revitalize 100 houses in the neighborhood.
The foundation shared in its announcement, “At Knight Foundation, we believe community change happens when we are able to work with residents and other partners to unleash and accelerate what’s already moving in community.”
Philadelphia, Memphis, Akron and Chicago are also highlighted in the report for their own Civic Commons projects, each with a different approach.
Read the full report.
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation announces grants to address environmental contributions to asthma and lead
Content excerpted and adapted from a foundation newsletter and a recent City Lab report.
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation has announced its latest round of grants that aim to address environmental contributions to asthma and lead.
Last week City Lab reported that “nearly one in five childhood asthma cases were caused by traffic related air pollution.”
City Lab has shared a data visualization tool which illustrates the impact of traffic related air pollution on childhood asthma in the U.S. It provides a county-by-county breakdown which shows Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties have the highest rates of childhood asthma cases due to air pollution exposure.
The foundation shared that four grants addressing air quality impacts on asthma will:
Reduce exhaust fume emissions in residential neighborhoods by revising truck routes and increasing enforcement of Detroit's anti-idling ordinance.
Organize a group of local businesses to explore strategies for improving indoor air quality in early childhood centers and elementary schools.
Convene academics, nonprofit organizations and government officials to encourage consideration of the cumulative impact of air emissions in state policy and permitting. While some other states consider the effects on human health from cumulative exposure from multiple sources, Michigan does not.
Develop an options analysis for solid waste disposal and energy generation in the City of Detroit.
The fifth grant pilots a cooperative project between the Detroit Health Department, Detroit Public Schools, school districts, health providers and professionals and nonprofit partners to increase testing and follow up services for children with elevated blood lead levels.
The foundation shares that Michigan Medicaid policy requires that enrolled children are tested twice before 24 months but only 62 percent of Detroit children enrolled in Medicaid are tested on or before their second birthday.