Jane C. Parikh
Contributing reporter, covers nonprofits and philanthropy
Email: [email protected]
BATTLE CREEK — A more holistic approach to ensuring positive outcomes for students, teachers and the community is the driving force behind a new partnership involving Battle Creek Public Schools and Grand Valley State University. That’s according to GVSU President Thomas Haas, who notes having a highly skilled talent pool in Battle Creek will play a crucial role in the region’s ability to attract and retain new businesses.
In Michigan, the second most diverse agricultural state in America, one in six children goes to bed hungry. That was among the findings in Map the Meal Gap 2019, the latest report from Feeding America on food insecurity and the cost of food at the local level.
KALAMAZOO — Sorghum is not a common ingredient in beer produced in the United States, but it is used widely in Africa, where the grain is favored for its drought-resistant properties. But a collaboration between Tillers International, a nonprofit headquartered in Scotts, about 12 miles southeast of Kalamazoo, and Kalamazoo-based Arcadia Brewing Co. aims to give patrons a chance to sample a beer made with sorghum at a tasting event on April 30.
While he wouldn’t categorize it as “dire,” a leading Michigan-based consultant said the fundraising climate in Michigan has been better and currently is headed in the wrong direction. Michael Montgomery, owner of Huntington Woods, Mich.-based Montgomery Consulting Inc. and an instructor at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus, lays out the rationale for his predictions in his annual Michigan Fundraising Climate Survey, released at the end of March.
GRAND RAPIDS — Fountain Street Church is less than one month away from finalizing the creation of a separate nonprofit organization that will enable it to increase the efficiency of its space and its long-term sustainability. Executive Director Jack Woller said the non-denominational Fountain Street Church would retain ownership of the building it has occupied for 150 years, but will make a more formalized effort to sublease space or make in-kind donations of space to organizations that have a relationship with the church for continuing education or personal growth opportunities.
Building the United Way brand and providing a consistent donor experience is imperative for the organization and its affiliates to remain relevant. Those were among the factors that led to the announcement in January of the Van Buren County United Way’s decision to join forces with the United Way of Southwest Michigan for back office operations.
Industry trends increasingly are blurring the lines between philanthropy and business. As government funding to address issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and poverty continues to shrink, requests to funders are increasing as the nonprofit sector seeks to fill those service gaps. The result from this growing trend is perhaps most visible in philanthropic support of economic development efforts, often through significant investments.
GRAND RAPIDS — Steve Heacock admits to having a level of discomfort about being the focus of the Grand Rapids Whitewater project. Heacock left his job as a senior vice president with Spectrum Health to take the position of president and CEO with the nonprofit organization earlier this month. He said everything he has done in his career has prepared him for this new role.
GRAND RAPIDS — A new initiative funded with a $300,000 grant from the Wege Foundation wants to develop environmentally-conscious human beings at a young age. The aim for the Grand Rapids Environmental Education Network, or GREEN, is to have every student in Grand Rapids Public Schools participate in an environmental experience, according to Clayton Pelon, associate director of the Grand Valley State University College of Education who serves as the lead on the grant.
Historically low unemployment rates could pose challenges for Michigan nonprofits looking to hire highly-qualified workers. Just as in other sectors of the state economy, the nonprofit industry also faces its share of talent constraints, according to people focused on hiring and preparing individuals for careers in the sector.
The nonprofit sector must be focused on serving needs in their communities, even if that means taking big steps and thinking outside of the box, according to Carrie Pickett-Erway, the president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.
Teri Behrens took over as executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University on Oct. 22. She previously served as the director of strategy and programs at the Johnson Center and worked to integrate an applied research mission with the needs of the changing nonprofit sector.
In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, not a war on those in poverty, said Michelle Williamson, the CEO of Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan (CAASCM).
GRAND RAPIDS — The increasing diversity within giving circles is broadening the scope of causes they support and better reflecting the nation’s changing demographics.
People give because they believe in the mission of an organization, not because of the tax deductions they can take.
Nonprofits have to compete for attention with the plethora of communications that possible donors get on a daily basis, whether in their mailboxes or on their smartphone screens. That’s causing the industry to adapt and shift in new ways to remain top of mind with their intended audiences.
When Jennifer Goulet departed as president and CEO of Creative Many Michigan Inc. in September after 11 years, board members decided to hire a well-known philanthropic leader to lead the arts advocacy organization as it figured out the type of leadership it needed for the future.
Cookies made by volunteers and residents of Degage Ministries are providing people with tasty treats and helping the organization access much-needed funding.
A promise first made in 2010 to students attending high school in Holland and Zeeland is about to grow through a new partnership.
GRAND RAPIDS — Noble Johnson serves as an example of the success of Heartside Ministry’s GED program.
KALAMAZOO — Diversity and inclusion on college campuses throughout Michigan and the United States remain at the forefront of efforts to ensure a welcoming environment for all students.
KALAMAZOO — Rather than rely on grants, donations or fundraisers to make money, Midwest Enterprises for the Blind Inc. takes a different approach compared to most nonprofits.
GRAND RAPIDS — If people of color continue to be underrepresented in Michigan’s philanthropic and nonprofit sector, industry leaders fear the funding, programs and services they provide might fail to reach people who most need it.
GRAND RAPIDS — Creating a level playing field for people of color in Michigan who want to pursue careers in the health care sector will lay the foundation for their success and the state’s future economic growth.
On the surface, reports that charitable giving in America hit a record high of more than $400 billion in 2017 are encouraging.
BATTLE CREEK — A $10 million commitment to help support Battle Creek entrepreneurs serves as one recent example of a project focused on ensuring racial equity in the business community.
A more business-minded approach is helping Goodwill affiliates in West Michigan achieve and maintain healthy profits while remaining true to their nonprofit missions.
GRAND RAPIDS — Collaborations between different sectors in Kent County to improve every child’s school readiness have caught the attention of national foundations that are pumping money into the countywide effort.
The rise of big data and the need to interpret it to gain a competitive business advantage have led many executives to reassess their options for advanced degrees. While industry long considered the generalist Master of Business Administration as the standard for career advancement, more companies are prioritizing specialized graduate-level degrees in areas like analytics and data sciences.