MI Works to Welcome Immigrants
The topic of immigration in our country has been a major talking point in the presidential campaign, and while it was only briefly mentioned in last week’s first presidential debate, it will likely get more air time in upcoming debates.
In Michigan, our immigrant population is growing, immigrants make up 7 percent of our state’s population (roughly 642,000 people). Michigan has developed significant programs to welcome immigrants with twelve cities and counties nationally designated as “welcoming communities,” more than any other state in the country.
In 2014 Governor Rick Snyder established the Michigan Office for New Americans, an organization that works with state agencies, foundations and other nonprofits to connect immigrants to programs and services.
The Michigan Office for New Americans recently shared a new study, The Contributions of New Americans in Michigan, to demonstrate the economic impact immigrants have in our state.
Highlights of the findings include:
- Immigrant-owned businesses generated $608.4 million in business income in 2014.
- Immigrants represent 15 percent of all STEM workers in the state.
- In 2010 immigrants were responsible for creating or preserving almost 27,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan.
The study shows immigrants fill important roles in our state including entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, vital members of our booming agriculture industry and more.
Welcoming Michigan, an organization supported by the Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has a mission to build immigrant-friendly communities. Welcoming Michigan recently held a statewide gathering, bringing together government and nonprofit leaders to discuss ways to make our state even more welcoming to immigrants.
“As a leading welcoming state, our arms are open to New Americans from around the world who will contribute to our competitiveness in the global marketplace now and into the future,” Governor Rick Snyder said.
A large portion of Hispanics, Latinos, Asians and Arab Americans call Michigan home, in fact the state has the highest proportion of Arab Americans in the nation.
Challenges facing New Americans:
- Adults may not come into contact with as many new people and ideas as their children, who are attending American schools, thereby making it difficult to learn English and acclimate to a new culture.
- They may feel isolated in a new country, which may be compounded by a lack of public transportation.
Crain’s Detroit Business talked to several immigrants about their experiences in moving to America and one man living in Pontiac said, “Most days I would just stay in the house for the whole day. I would go to the YMCA, but that was really the only thing I could do for the whole first year."
The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a national organization based in Michigan and a CMF member, works to break down barriers facing immigrants and refugees by connecting them with a wide range of services from health and wellness, to education, employment and human services.
Our population of new Americans may continue to rise as Michigan is considered a standout state for attracting and welcoming immigrants.
Check out Welcome Mat Detroit to view a database of immigrant services and programs.
Read the full report: The Contributions of New Americans in Michigan.
U.S State Department Endorses Impact Investing
The U.S. State Department is calling on nonprofits, corporations, universities and innovators to work together on some of the world’s most urgent issues by utilizing impact investing to drive more resources to fuel solutions.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently spoke to the crowd at the Concordia Summit in New York saying, “Today’s global challenges are so immense, so complex that the ingenuity, the tools, and the resources required – in the trillions of dollars – are simply beyond the capacity of any single national government, organization, or actor alone.”
This comes as the State Department and New America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, shared the Trillion Dollar Challenge, a public-private partnership “to mobilize some of the $25 trillion controlled by the world’s largest asset owners,” according to the Boston Globe. The idea is to use investment capital to support the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, which includes ending poverty by 2030.
“It’s not just a good deed; it’s good business,” Blinken said of social impact investments.
While there’s a call to action on the global scale, we’re seeing the successes of impact investing in our own Michigan communities. A growing number of foundations in Michigan are exploring the practice of impact investing.
This month CMF is sharing videos highlighting four of our members including the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation and the Michigan Women’s Foundation, who are putting the practice to work in their own communities.
“Impact investing actually represents a much wider spectrum of possibilities than traditional grantmaking,” Neel Hajra, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation said in the video, officially released today.
The three-minute video tells the story behind the renovations at a local fine arts organization and how it became a reality due to a low interest loan from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.
From supporting entrepreneurs and startups to revitalizing downtowns, the foundations' stories will show you how they put impact investing to work. Stay tuned, every week throughout the month of October CMF will share each video highlighting a foundation's impact investing story through CMF's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Watch the first video, released today, here.
Want to learn more about impact investing? Connect with CMF’s Impact Investing Committee by contacting Debbie McKeon, senior vice president, Member Services at CMF.
MI Seniors Face Growing Challenges
Aging is an inevitable facet of life, but there are growing challenges for our Michigan seniors. According to new data just released by the Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, the percentage of Michigan households with a senior citizen now outnumbers the percentage of households with children. Which begs the question, what’s happening with our seniors?
“The aging of America is one of the most significant demographic shifts in the history of our nation,” Lynn Alexander, chair of Michigan Grantmakers in Aging (MGIA), a CMF affinity group said. “There seems to be a perception that seniors with limited means brought this upon themselves with poor planning. However, in most cases, this is untrue.”
Factors affecting seniors’ savings:
- People are living longer
- Rising healthcare rates and copays
- Lack of affordable housing for seniors
In July we highlighted the report, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, from the Bipartisan Policy Center, which states we will see “explosive growth” of the American senior population resulting in “unprecedented challenges.”
MGIA addressed some of the challenges facing Michigan seniors at CMF’s Annual Conference in the session, “The Age Wave: A Call to Action.” During the session, Kari Sederburg, senior program officer for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, shared that of the $160 million spent on healthcare only 3 percent of it is designated for senior citizens.
A number of Michigan grantmakers with a focus on aging issues are working on ways to help our seniors. Next month the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is expected to announce the grantees of its first ever proactive grant, Healthy Aging, to improve access and availability of comprehensive services for seniors.
Presbyterian Villages of Michigan Foundation has a call out on their website encouraging everyone to work together to make Michigan the “best place to age by 2022.”
The state has rolled out a new program aimed at addressing some of the needs of seniors now and in the future, called MI Health Link. It’s designed to be a one stop shop for medical services, pharmaceutical, home and community-based services and nursing home care for those enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare.
What can funders do?
- Support programs for wellness and prevention
- Support community-based programs that assist seniors to live independently in their own homes.
Alexander said it’s important to transform the way we are providing services for seniors and support them because seniors built our communities and continue to contribute to them.
“Chances are when you visit your favorite cultural institution the knowledgeable docent is a senior volunteer,” Alexander said. “Or if you take your family to the zoo, that ticket taker may just also be a volunteer.”
Want to learn more about the Michigan Grantmakers in Aging affinity group? Contact Chelsea Holmes.
Collaborative action: Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and The Kresge Foundation give $9.1 million to arts groups
The Detroit Institute for the Arts and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History are just two of the 75 arts organizations to receive operational support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. The two foundations were recently highlighted for their collective grants totaling $9.1 million to Detroit’s arts community.
"This round of funding paid particular attention to how organizations increased opportunities for cultural and artistic participation and creative expression for low-income individuals and people of color," George Jacobsen, senior program officer of Kresge’s Detroit Program, said.
The Detroit Free Press reported that the two foundations have awarded $37 million to local arts groups since 2010.
In a recent release, John Erb, president of the Erb Family Foundation, said, “The Erb partnership with Kresge demonstrates that organizations with separate but complementary agendas can and should find ways to collaborate for increased efficiency and impact.”