Weekly Download

Weekly Download

January 15, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Join in the National Day of Racial Healing

On Tuesday, January 16, communities in Michigan and across the country are coming together for the second annual National Day of Racial Healing, as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort.

The national day began last year, WKKF shares it's aimed at taking action at structural racism by:

  • Finding ways to reinforce and honor our common humanity and create space to celebrate the distinct differences that make our communities vibrant.

  • Acknowledging that there are still deep racial divisions in America that must be overcome and healed.

  • Committing to engaging people from all racial, ethnic, religious and identity groups in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another.

WKKF shares there are concerts, museum events, storytelling and public proclamations and more planned nationwide as hundreds of WKKF grantees, partners and communities are answering the call for racial healing, to celebrate their common humanity and take action for a more equitable future.

CMF is supporting the Michigan TRHT effort, through a $4.2 million grant from WKKF, which is currently underway in four Michigan communities, Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing. 

The four TRHT communities have been deeply working in the TRHT community-based process and have events planned for their communities on the National Day of Racial Healing.

Highlights of the events and activities in Michigan include:

Battle Creek:

  • Community members will line key intersections of the city in a collective demonstration of love. Each of them will hold large heart-shaped signs.

  • More than 1,200 local high school students will experience an interactive afternoon including a blessing by Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi tribal members and musical performances by national and local artists including J.PERIOD, Isabel Delgado and Kinetic Effect, as well as a presentation by La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, WKKF, as she shares the need for racial healing work.

  • Battle Creek’s mayor will share a proclamation for the National Day of Racial Healing


  • Monday afternoon, ahead of the National Day of Racial Healing, Isaiah Oliver, president and CEO, Greater Flint Community Foundation will be speaking about the TRHT work and the National Day of Racial Healing with the community during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at the Flint Public Library.

  • Staff of the Greater Flint Community Foundation will also be engaged in internal trainings focused on preparation for the important work ahead. 


  • An affordable housing luncheon will engage realtors in dialogue about making fair and affordable housing accessible to all

  • One Lansing Dinner & Dialogue invites the community to share stories with their neighbors on topics designed to challenge us to think critically and tap into compassion for our neighbors


  • Reclaiming Native History and Culture discussion and short documentary viewing will take place

  • A workshop centered around healing internalized oppressions is planned for the evening to explore the connections between healing generational trauma, violence in our communities and internalized oppression

  • The mayor of Kalamazoo has also signed a proclamation recognizing the National Day of Racial Healing

CMF facilitated Governor Rick Snyder’s proclamation recognizing the National Day of Racial Healing in Michigan. You can learn more about the Michigan-based events and events happening across the country here.

These events demonstrate how the National Day of Racial Healing is sparking authentic dialogue in communities to begin dismantling structural racism.

Tabron told NPR there are many other components of the TRHT framework which includes addressing the existence of separated societies and the lack of connections, saying in part, “separation and segregation are some of the key structures that allows racial inequality to exist.”

“For us, it starts with the belief of a hierarchy based on human value. And what we believe is this belief has been rooted in all of us - is conscious and unconscious,” Tabron told NPR. “And what we believe is, through dialogue, you can shift that belief. And once you eliminate this belief in the hierarchy of human value, then you can begin to treat all of us as one humanity and create policies and systems that support everyone in the country.”

For those who can’t make it to a planned event, WKKF has shared a list of activities you can do on your own which include:

  • Reading books to children in your life that affirm identities and backgrounds of all children

  • Inviting friends to participate in an activity or on social

  • Showing your support by using the hashtags #NDORH (National Day of Racial Healing) or #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation) in all your social media.

  • Create a short video addressing why racial healing is important to you and post it on your social networks and use the hashtag #NDORH.

Want more?

Explore the TRHT Framework.

Learn more about the National Day of Racial Healing.

Read Reflections for the National Day of Racial Healing.

Check out how you can get involved.







Outlining a Roadmap for Rural America

We’re getting a look at recommendations for our rural communities from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in their first report-out to the president.

President Donald Trump established the task force last spring asking members to identify key legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to achieve rural prosperity.

The new report provides more than 100 recommendations for the federal government that were formed from listening sessions in rural communities and discussions with local, state, federal and tribal governments.

The recommendations are focused on five key indicators of rural prosperity: e-connectivity; quality of life; rural workforce; technological innovation; and economic development.

Highlights of the recommendations include:

e-Connectivity (access to reliable and high-speed internet)

  • Form a task force and conduct a multi-sector assessment of the state of affordable rural high-speed internet access, infrastructure and service gaps.

  • Revise federal regulations to encourage high-speed investment in rural areas.

Increasing access to ensure high-speed internet access for all Michiganders is also a priority from Governor Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission.

Improving Quality of Life

  • Create a strategy for public-private partnerships to complete the connection of all rural Pre-K-12 and community/technical colleges to high-speed, high-capacity internet to maximize the use of digital learning

  • Implement best practices to enhance access to primary health care and specialty providers through telemedicine and improve access to mental and behavioral care

  • Develop a set of shared best practices for increasing homeownership, reducing homelessness in rural communities, and building robust community infrastructure

  • Better align policies for rural transit services based on locally-created rural community economic development strategies

Supporting a Rural Workforce

  • Study and identify existing job demands, skillset gaps and community needs

  • Use the findings to promote curriculum that supports such workforce demands in K-12 and postsecondary education and training programs

  • Federal agencies should promote and assist local businesses in the expansion of apprenticeship programs to support the talent pipeline in health care and trade industries

Harnessing Technological Innovation

  • Coordinate and leverage ongoing investments in technology to drive innovation in rural America and deliver safe, transformative technologies to farmers and consumers

  • Develop an R&D strategy that identifies and creates opportunities for the technology sector to invest in rural communities

  • Develop best practices for big data management in agricultural applications

Developing the Rural Economy

  • Provide access to capital to businesses, entrepreneurs and farmers in rural areas

  • Seek more strategic public-private partnerships for rural America to create jobs and fuel economic development

  • Create a web-based rural investment portal that will serve as a matching tool for projects to reach local and international investors

  • Address infrastructure gaps and enhance connections to metropolitan areas

Regulatory reforms were mentioned throughout the recommendations that the task force said could help catalyze investments and projects in rural areas.

The task force is calling on long-term leadership and oversight over these recommendations to ensure action on the regional, state and federal levels.

Want more?

Read the full report.

CMF is featuring innovative work underway by members serving rural communities in our new rural philanthropy video series. Be sure to check out this month’s video from Sturgis Area Community Foundation. Stay tuned for February’s video featuring Rotary Charities of Traverse City, with more stories from our rural communities coming this spring.







Ending Homelessness for LGBTQ Youth

Data shows that LGBTQ youth are more likely to face homelessness than their peers. In fact, EdSource shares that they’re 120 percent more likely to be homeless.

As CMF has reported, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) report shows that in 2016 more than 5,414 unaccompanied youth sought homeless services, with one out of every seven identifying as LGBTQ.

MSHDA’s report notes that some of the primary reasons for youth homelessness include family dysfunction, rejection and conflict.

This comes as we’re getting a first look at the success of a pilot program supported by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in helping LGBTQ youth and those who are homeless.

CMF members, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and Northwood Foundation are supporters of Out, Safe, Proud (OSP), an organization focusing on ending homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Kalamazoo County.

OSP’s program director says they just completed their first year of a two-year pilot in Kalamazoo to address the issue and come up with solutions.

OSP works closely with a coalition of local organizations that serve youth and provides case management services, LGBTQ competency training and support, giving these organizations the tools to provide supportive services to LGBTQ youth.

This work emerged after Kalamazoo Community Foundation requested a countywide community assessment to determine the most important issues for the local LGBTQ community and homelessness among youth was a top concern.

“We are seeing that our community does have a LGBTQ homeless youth issue. These individuals often do not trust systems not created for them, meaning that unless there are visible indicators that an agency is LGBTQ welcoming, they prefer not to access the service,” David Feaster, community investment manager, Kalamazoo Community Foundation told CMF. 

Feaster said as the pilot continues the foundation will work to identify the most effective ways to address the issue.

“Maybe this is investing in an LGBTQ youth specific shelter, maybe it is providing wrap around social services, we aren’t sure yet and additional data still needs to be collected,” Feaster said.

Also in West Michigan, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s LGBT Fund recently awarded a grant to Arbor Circle to facilitate community planning efforts for local LGBTQ homeless youth.

We’re also getting an update on the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s (CFSEM) The Hope Fund, which was the first partnership in Michigan between the LGBTQ community and a mainstream philanthropic foundation.

The Hope Fund awarded grants in 2017 to several nonprofits including the Neutral Zone, a diverse youth-driven center which offers more than 20 programs for teens. The grant will support the development of a digital storytelling and dialogue project for gay-straight student alliances in southeast Michigan.








FCA Foundation announces grant aimed at ensuring children participate in food programs year-round

Content excerpted from a foundation press release. Read the full release here.

The FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of automaker FCA US LLC, recently announced a $500,000 grant  to support United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Innovative Solutions to Ending Childhood Hunger.

​The grant will enable United Way to provide community groups and schools with the funds and technical assistance needed to run and expand Meet Up and Eat Up summer meals programs.

The funding will also support United Way's efforts to implement robust community engagement, marketing and canvassing strategies to ensure that children and families, school administrators and the public know about both the Meet Up and Eat Up summer program and the School Breakfast Program available each school day.

Raising awareness about the free food programs remains a priority to United Way.

During the school year, nearly 300,000 children in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties qualify for either free or reduced-price meals. Yet, of those eligible children, only about 17 percent participate in the free summer meals program Meet Up and Eat Up.

In response, FCA US sponsored five United Way block parties this summer to increase awareness and attendance of the Meet Up and Eat Up program.

According to data from the Michigan Department of Education, the total number of summer meals served in 2016 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties was more than 1.2 million.


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