Nonprofits

SPONSORED BY GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

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.

The newly formed Northwest Michigan Rural Housing Partnership has tapped Sarah Lucas as its executive director. Lucas, who also serves as director of community development at Networks Northwest, a 10-county public regional planning agency, talked with MiBiz about the issues that make workforce housing virtually impossible to build in communities that continually get overlooked by state and federal programs.

The economy in Northern Michigan may differ greatly from West Michigan’s, but leaders in both areas of the state have started to grapple with a common challenge: a lack of affordable housing. As in the greater Grand Rapids region, the inability of workers to find available affordable housing has reached crisis levels across the northern Lower Peninsula, in both rural markets and in cities like Traverse City and Petoskey.

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.

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area surpassed its all-time record in fundraising in 2018, receiving close to $21 million in contributions.

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.

Since 2011, median home prices have increased by nearly 70 percent while per capita income went up by only 11 percent. Now, Deanna Rolffs, vice president of housing and family services at ICCF, has a waitlist of more than 700 families who are in need of safe, affordable housing. Going into 2019, she thinks community leadership and collaboration could be the key to solving the region’s housing crisis. 

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. 

Todd Jacobs becomes president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County on Jan. 1. The Muskegon native succeeds Chris McGuigan, who has run the foundation since 1999 and plans to retire. Jacobs moves to the Community Foundation for Muskegon County from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, where he’s worked as vice president and chief philanthropy officer. 

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). 

SPRING LAKE — Roger Spoelman plans to step away from a full-time role at Trinity Health at the end of 2018 to bring together and run two nonprofit organizations he’s been involved with for years.

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. 

Foundations face a changing landscape both in how they raise money and award grants to nonprofit organizations. MiBiz recently brought together leaders from four West Michigan foundations to talk about the trends they see today. 

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. 

Trustees at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County named Todd Jacobs as the organization’s next president and CEO.

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.

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.

The Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts turns 50 next year and for the first time in its history has a full-time paid executive director. David Abbott hopes to continue the Festival’s tradition as a celebration of art, music and international cuisine, but also make the event more of a driver for economic development and talent attraction. Abbott comes to the organization after working at ArtPrize and a variety of other endeavors. He spoke with MiBiz about how he hopes to engage the community regarding what it wants out of Festival, which runs the first weekend of June.

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. 

An annual report on Michigan’s nonprofit sector reinforces the industry’s role and place in growing the state economy.

The fundraising climate in Michigan remains stable, but many nonprofit fund developers say they’re concerned about federal tax law changes.

GRAND RAPIDS — Calls for action and change typically follow each mass shooting, but the voices advocating for increased mental health services are becoming almost as loud and persistent as those seeking gun reform.

The philanthropic efforts of nonprofits and foundations throughout Michigan are increasingly addressing bigger issues such as affordable housing, community revitalization and employment.

KALAMAZOO — The federally-mandated deinstitutionalization of developmentally disabled individuals in the 1970s led to the creation of group homes throughout the United States and launched nonprofits such as Residential Opportunities Inc. to manage them.

GRAND RAPIDS — Philanthropic and nonprofit organizations will focus much more of their efforts on the issue of equity in 2018 and beyond.

GRAND RAPIDS — Filling a seat and collecting a paycheck aren’t enough for the new generation of nonprofit employees.

In its two years in existence, The Job Post — a hiring and recruiting social enterprise of Guiding Light, a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit — has helped place more than 1,000 people into full-time jobs throughout the region, ensuring them more stability and a steady income. Vice President Elliott Groh spoke with MiBiz about growth plans ahead for The Job Post and how the program benefits the greater Grand Rapids area.

Small groups of women in communities across the U.S. have collectively given more than $1.3 billion to charitable organizations since the early 2000s.

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