Part I: Pushing Pause: The Reaction
The travel ban has been lifted, at least for now. Over the weekend refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries continued their travels to the U.S., following Friday's announcement that a federal judge blocked enforcement of the travel ban. The Department of Justice then responded by filing an appeal over the weekend to reinstate the travel ban but on Sunday morning the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied that request.
As USA Today reports, the Department of Justice could file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.
In Michigan, during the week the ban was in place we heard reactions from our business and community leaders, educators, government agencies and philanthropy.
During the ban the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center asked people to avoid leaving the U.S. if they weren't an American citizen for fear they would not be allowed to return.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights released a statement saying in part, “It is particularly damaging in times like now, when we must work to mend our divisions, not multiply them. Relying on stereotypes instead of facts will always foster unintended consequences, like bias, hate and prejudice.”
The Ford Motor Company, a CMF member, was among the first major companies to officially denounce the ban, saying Ford does not support the travel ban policy “or any other that goes against our values as a company.”
General Motors, also a CMF member, told employees it would support any employee with a visa who was traveling back to the U.S. and faced an issue.
Other CMF corporate foundation members including Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase also spoke out about the ban.
The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a national organization based in Dearborn and the nonprofit parent organization of CMF member the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, hosted a town hall last week to discuss next steps for the community.
Last week the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan shared on social, the foundation “is proud to have supported immigrant and refugee-serving organizations with over $1.6 million in grants in 2015 and 2016.”
The Ford Foundation, a CMF member, shared a video from its ongoing “Inequality Is” online series, highlighting the contributions of refugees.
“Migration policy is a big decision, it goes way beyond visas and walls, it has big effects on opportunity around the world,” Michael Clemens, a senior fellow, Center for Global Development said in the video. “Extending equality of opportunity means uncaging human potential.”
Fast facts about Michigan’s role with refugees:
- Our state has taken in more than 2,000 Syrian refugees since the beginning of 2015, the highest number in the U.S., only behind California.
- It’s not just Syrian refugees who call Michigan their new home, Michigan is among the top five states in the nation for total refugee resettlement.
- Southeast Michigan is home to one of the largest Middle Eastern populations in the U.S.
In response to the ban, Governor Rick Snyder said he recognizes the great contributions of immigrants and refugees in our state. “I’m going to continue to promote Michigan as a welcoming place for immigrants, in particular, that’s something that’s important that ties right into my theme of growing Michigan in terms of our population,” Snyder said.
As Mlive reports immigrants alone make up about 6 percent of our state's population.
Growing Michigan's population remains a priority for the state for economic and workforce development. Michigan Radio reports that Michigan was the only state in the nation to suffer a net loss of residents in the last Census, and we know our current workforce is aging. As CMF reported last July, by 2030, one-in-four people in Michigan will be over the age of 60.
If you would like to connect with fellow funders on immigrant and refugee issues, CMF is hosting a deep dive in effective grantmaking for immigrants and refugees, in Detroit on March 2, developed in partnership with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
Part II: What Can Funders Do?
For more than a week government actions and opposition rallies have trended on social media and dominated headlines following the president’s executive order halting admissions of refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The travel ban was lifted over the weekend following a federal judge blocking enforcement of the ban. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal which was denied on Sunday morning by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the legal battle could continue, as the DOJ could file a counter-response on Monday.
It's clear there was a huge response in the seven days the ban was in place. In one weekend the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) received more than $24 million in donations, six times more than the ACLU receives in donations in an average year.
With the future of the executive order still uncertain, funders in top refugee states such as California and Michigan may be wondering how to respond.
Last week CMF joined a briefing by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), as experts discussed the recent presidential executive orders around the travel ban, plans to build a wall along the Mexico border and how to address urgent needs for those who could be affected in our communities.
GCIR said philanthropy has a vital role to play in this critical moment, noting philanthropy has been making rapid response grants the past two months to support advocacy for immigrants and refugees following rhetoric during the presidential election.
Experts shared various action steps funders can take to offer short-term and long-term support to immigrants and refugees.
- Support mental health organizations that can offer counseling to refugees and immigrants who may be experiencing anxiety or fear about their own status or their family’s status.
- Support organizations that welcome incoming refugees and immigrants. Many of these groups offer access to English courses, job training, access to transportation and connections to housing. Here's a list of organizations throughout the state that provide refugee resettlement services.
- Support and implement cultural competency programs to stem school bullying, hate incidents and crimes. Hate crimes should be reported to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
A group of foundation CEOs in California are currently exploring a long-term broad based communications campaign that would change the current narrative around immigrants and refugees, which could leverage community support.
In Michigan, you can connect with Welcoming Michigan, to learn how to make your community more inclusive for immigrants.
Bethany Christian Services also welcomes refugees and immigrants and helps them adjust to their new home in Michigan, connecting them with necessary services.
“The refugee program is a life-saving program,” Kristine Van Noord, the program manager for Bethany's refugee program told Mlive during the ban.
ACCESS offers a wide range of services for immigrants and refugees, connecting them with basic needs, financial stability, translation services and more.
If you would like to connect with fellow funders working in this space, CMF is hosting a deep dive in effective grantmaking for immigrants and refugees, in Detroit on March 2. The event was developed in partnership with GCIR and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
A Roundup of Recent Work in MI Philanthropy
Every week CMF shares issue areas and challenges facing our state in hopes of highlighting different ways philanthropy can intervene and create action plans for our Michigan communities. In this edition of the Weekly Download, we've reported on the issues coming forward surrounding the immigrant and refugee executive order but we also want to share some recent good work that's happening in various areas throughout our state.
Here's a recent roundup of some innovative and strategic approaches a few of our members are leveraging to create meaningful social change:
Sustainable Economic Development
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation has committed to a $500,000 grant to Midtown Detroit, Inc. to incorporate green, sustainable infrastructure into the redevelopment of the Woodward Grand project.
The Woodward Grand and the North End Collective are part of a mixed-use redevelopment project in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood. It’s a $7.5 million redevelopment project by Midtown Detroit, Inc., PNC Bank, also a CMF member, and others.
The Woodward Grand will feature green, sustainable infrastructure including rain water cisterns to water a rooftop garden and the water harvested will service building restrooms.
The foundation is also moving its headquarters into the Woodward Grand as part of the redevelopment project.
Crain’s Detroit Business reports that the DTE Energy Foundation has committed to supporting a STEM and environmental education program for about 7,500 middle schoolers in Detroit, Ecorse, Trenton and River Rogue schools over the next three years. The program offers hands-on geology classes and teaches students how to build simple circuits using light bulbs and buzzers.
Arts and Culture
In Ann Arbor, Mlive reports that free memberships to the University of Michigan’s Museum Art are now available for everyone, through a grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan.
"UMMA belongs to the citizens of Michigan, the university, and--now, truly—everyone,” Carrie Throm, deputy director of development and external relations at UMMA said.
Free membership ensures access to cultural events and exhibitions for all.
Early Childhood Development
In Grand Rapids, several CMF members supported the funding of a new, innovative early childhood learning laboratory at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).
The Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, Frey Foundation, Jandernoa Foundation, Sebastian Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s collective support provides care for preschoolers, infants and toddlers and classroom space and observation booths for GRCC child development and education students.
“Now, early childhood care providers from the community will meet here to learn and share practices that best support children and families,” JaneAnn Benson, GRCC laboratory preschool director said.
In Northern Michigan, a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation is making headlines, as it’s supporting Telehealth monitoring units to go home with heart patients. It’s a proactive approach to cardiac care. The data from the home units are transmitted to a nursing team, allowing them to monitor a patient’s vitals, symptoms and alert their doctors of any issues.
These are just a handful of recent headlines you may have missed, serving as a good reminder of how we’re touching our Michigan communities every day to make them healthier, safer, more viable and equitable for all.
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If you’re interested in any of these issue areas CMF’s affinity groups can connect you with other like-minded funders. Check out our list of affinity groups.
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Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation’s grant will help pair children with mentors
Content excerpted from the Grand Haven Tribune, read the full article here.
The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation recently awarded a $25,000 grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore to support matching children with an adult mentor in Muskegon, Ottawa, Oceana and Mason counties.
“This grant will be utilized to help our organization grow in the four-county region by matching those children that have been waiting for that Big Brother or Big Sister to come into their life to make a lasting positive impact,” Lisa Hegenbart, the agency’s executive director said. “There are currently over 70 youth still waiting to be matched.”
This year the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation is awarding grants through its new B.E.S.T. Community Grant program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore was one of nine throughout Michigan to receive funding from the foundation’s first grant cycle.
“Michigan Masons are continuing to make a difference in the lives of others,” Walt Wheeler, executive director of the foundation said. “We are excited about this new grant program and the opportunity to award $500,000 this year to organizations that focus on the needs of our communities.”