Building Inclusive Communities for Refugees and Immigrants
The horrific and devastating acts happening to the people in Aleppo, Syria, have brought international attention to the plight of refugees. While evacuation efforts and political talks were continued at the end of December, the war continues.
As many as 11 million Syrians have been forced from their homes since the war began in 2011, and an estimated 13.5 million in Syria are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. As of last fall our state had resettled more than 1,400 Syrian refugees since the war began, second in the U.S. only to California.
While we don’t know how many refugees our state may see in 2017, efforts to ensure our state is a welcoming, safe home for all continue to grow. In the wake of hate incidents across the country and fears among immigrants and refugees about their future status in America, Detroit has launched a new program offering ID cards to ensure access to city services for everyone.
In December, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the new program that will provide ID cards to everyone, regardless of their personal situation or immigration status. The ID program is expected to help thousands in Detroit have access to city services, financial institutions and cultural organizations.
In Ypsilanti, a city council member is proposing a “don’t ask” immigration ordinance that would prohibit any city worker or law enforcement officer from asking about someone’s immigration status, unless they were directed to do so by the federal government. MLive reports that the ordinance is like the sanctuary city model, where cities like Detroit say they won’t prosecute immigrants solely for violating immigration laws.
Sanctuary programs and "don't ask" initiatives are considered controversial as they don't align with federal law. As Michigan Radio reported in November, both Detroit and Ann Arbor have policies to protect immigrants regardless of their status, in the article Governor Rick Snyder said he will be watching to see what President-Elect Donald Trump does with his immigration policy once in office.
Recently the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and Alma College signed a letter in support of students who are children of undocumented immigrants working to obtain their education, through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A program the universities and college say should continue.
The Michigan Office for New Americans just announced its awarding more than $228,000 in grants to organizations with programs that help break down language barriers for immigrants and refugees, linking them with employment. The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) is among the recipients, it's the parent nonprofit organization of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), a CMF member.
As reported in previous editions of the Weekly Download, CMF members including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan are working in this area to offer support and services for refugees and immigrants in Michigan. The community foundation awarded a grant earlier this year to support employment readiness and job assistance for immigrants, refugees and low-income families.
In March, CMF is hosting Beyond the Headlines: Why Understanding Immigration is Essential to Effective Grantmaking, to help funders explore ways to ensure long-term success for our growing community of immigrants.
Global Citizen shares 15 Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees Now
Check out the Michigan Immigrants Right Center for a list of services, programs and organizations supporting immigrants and refugees.
View resources from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, including ways to address hate incidents in schools.
MI Scores Low in LGBTQ Equality
Our state falls in the bottom category when it comes to LGBTQ equality, according to the 2016 State Equality Index, shared by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Equality Federation Institute. The index provides a legislative snapshot of states’ actions in non-discrimination policies, hate crime laws, youth policies, and health and safety for the LGBTQ community.
HRC calls for states to “build an economy that works for everyone by fostering fairness and inclusion,” instead of passing legislation that could undermine protections of LGBTQ communities.
In the index, Michigan is in the bottom category when it comes to LGBTQ equality, along with 27 other states, classified as “high priority to achieve basic equality.”
The index shows Michigan lags behind 30 states since we lack LGBTQ protections and non-discrimination policies in the areas of employment, housing, adoption, foster care, public accomodations, hate crime laws, LGBTQ inclusive juvenile justice and more.
While seven laws have passed in Michigan since 2011 that support LGBTQ protections and equality, in 2016 a bill was introduced in the Michigan Senate to amend our hate crime law to add protections for the LGBTQ community, but the bill stalled in committee.
Michigan was one of the five states that banned insurance exclusions for transgender health care in 2016, which the index called "great gains" for health and safety for the transgender community.
“This report serves as an important tool for advocates to keep pushing forward,” said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of Equality Federation Institute. “We’re not going to stop until all LGBTQ people and their families are able to reach their full potential, free from discrimination, no matter what state they live in.”
Many CMF members fund programs and projects that support equity for the LGBTQ community. In 2014 the CMF Board of Trustees adopted the following definition of equity to further guide our work as an organization: Equity means having access to opportunities in all indicators of well-being that will lead to positive outcomes regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, age, ability, status, and other factors.
A few CMF members working in this area include:
- The Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s LGBT Equality Fund focuses on advocating for equality, supporting activities that celebrate social and cultural contributions of the LGBT community and strengthening organizations that serve physical, social, health or emotional needs of the LGBT community.
- Northwood Foundation recently collaborated with other funders in awarding a grant to a homeless youth coalition to fund a coordinator position to support homeless LGBTQ youth and connect them with housing.
- Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s HOPE Fund provides financial and technical assistance to organizations and projects that support the LGBT community. CFSEM states the fund was the first partnership in the state between the LGBT community and a mainstream philanthropic foundation.
- Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s LGBT Fund made its first grant in 2015 to a youth health program working in mental health and homelessness.
- The Ford Foundation partnered to create the first LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund, and the foundation is also a member of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
The outlook for 2017 shows efforts to secure protections for LGBTQ will continue. Campaigns to expand existing state non-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity will exist in a dozen states, including in Michigan.
What We’ve Learned About Millennials in Five Years
They’re our country’s largest living generation, with lifestyles much different than previous generations, switching jobs, sharing more information, traveling more, and they're already demonstrating their leadership, volunteering and giving, making it critical for us to understand what motivates millennials.
The Millennial Impact Report Retrospective: Five Years of Trends by Achieve and the Case Foundation, shares what researchers have learned about this generation in five years of studying more than 75,000 millennials, discovering their motivations with causes, giving, volunteers, and politics.
While misconceptions surrounding the generation still exist, the research data doesn’t point to an apathetic and entitled group of young people, but rather people who want to be engaged, just in different ways than previous generations.
Findings from five years of research:
- A natural passion for a cause is millennials’ primary motivator
- In early engagement millennials volunteer and give modestly
- Among millennials, women and older individuals give more money
- Peers are a critical influence on millennial giving
- Opportunities to use and develop their skills are prime motivators in millennial cause engagement
- They learn about and donate to causes online, through websites, social media, mobile platforms and apps
The research states, “the size and force of the millennial generation combined with social media and pivotal world events of the past five years require nonprofits to develop new ways of engaging audiences lest they risk being left behind as millennial preferences fundamentally alter cause engagement.”
What does this look like in the future?
- Millennial cause engagement is moving from casual interest to activism, showing millennials’ desire to do good
- Millennial preferences in cause engagement will alter current models of giving and views on how to effect change
- As millennials age their cause engagement will grow, as causes learn to connect with individuals more effectively
How do we adapt to ensure millennials support the social sector and thrive in it?
Instead of the existing ladder of engagement (where you can turn supporters into volunteers, volunteers into donors, donors into leaders and so on), millennials follow their own self-directed paths, “learning and action on behalf of a cause.”
Nonprofits must give them authentic experiences, offer opportunities that develop their areas of expertise, share messaging to them online, on social and on apps, the very place where they can influence their peers. Millennials are a powerful generation, expected to shape the future landscape of the cause space and nonprofits must grow with them.
"An organization, regardless of if you are a millennial or a boomer, needs to sit back and ask, 'What is so important about what we do?'" Derrick Feldmann, the lead researcher for the Millennial Impact Report and board chair of Learning to Give, told the New York Times. "From all of the organizations we have looked at, it's very clear that what matters is belief in the issue and what you are trying to do about it."
As we work to understand millennials, this year the Millennial Impact Report research continues, in 2017 it will examine social issues and social justice. We will share the findings when they're released.
Connect, collaborate and learn with fellow CMF members
Are you looking for ways to collaborate with other funders and explore issues areas? CMF has released its Learning Services 2017 Calendar, highlighting our lineup of webinars and in-person learning events, affinity group and learning community meetings and collaborative opportunities.
We will explore a range of issues and practices that are important to your work including education, healthcare, workforce development, impact investing, using data to leverage your impact, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and more.
We have an exciting lineup in 2017, and more programs will be added throughout the year. Watch for details emerging this spring about the launch of CMF’s Racial Equity workshop series, hosted by the Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy (MFAAP).
Download the Learning Services 2017 Calendar
Check out our upcoming events