Michigan Nonprofit Association Blog

MNA’s Blog is designed to give you, the nonprofit community, an informal look into the issues currently facing Michigan’s nonprofit sector and an opportunity to share tools, resources and best practices. It’s also a way for us to get to know each other a little bit better through candid discussions of the topics, challenges and opportunities that our sector deals with on a regular basis. Check back daily and participate in the discussions by posting a comment or emailing our bloggers. We love hearing from you!

Detroit Foundation Urges Local Nonprofits to Apply for Grants

Detroit Foundation Urges Local Nonprofits to Apply for Grants

By Tammy Pitts, MNA Director of Communications and Marketing



The impact of COVID-19 on Michigan nonprofits has meant canceled in-person fundraisers and a strain on budgets and resources. Yet, at a time when local nonprofits need funding to remain afloat, one of the oldest charitable organizations in Detroit tells me that applications for grant funding are down. Grants are vital for nonprofits- especially in a pandemic. So, what could be the reason for a decline in applications for funding that can be used to help children in the Detroit area? Board member Eileen Dixon of the Detroit Industrial School Foundation provided some insight.

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Year-End Giving: How to inspire your donors

by Claire Horlings

We’re nearing the end of the year and you’re likely preparing to kick off your year-end giving campaign by writing an appeal letter to donors. If you’re wondering how to make your letter stand out from the crowd and get results, here are a few tips.  

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Nonprofit organizes trips to redistricting hearings to provide platform for Native American voices

Nonprofit organizes trips to redistricting hearings to provide platform for Native American voices

By MJ Galbraith | Courtesy of modeldmedia.com

Community Redistricting is a series about how Michigan communities are working together to end gerrymandering so that all residents have a voice at the local, state, and federal level. This series is made possible with funding from the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

After 80 Michigan residents stood before the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to comment on the draft maps released by the commission this past October, the in-person portion of the Lansing public hearing, it had appeared, was complete. It was time for the commission to move on to remote public commentary, held virtually via Zoom.

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Communities left questioning the redistricting process as they don’t see themselves represented

Communities left questioning the redistricting process as they don’t see themselves represented

By MJ Galbraith - Model D

Jerron Totten has a question for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

If the purpose of the Michigan Redistricting Public Comment Portal was to enable the public, as the website itself states, “to submit public comment to the Commission, and tell them what’s important to know as they draw the new district lines,” why was the most popular map submitted not reflected in any of the Commission’s recently released draft maps?

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Donna Murray-Brown’s Sabbatical - “A Human Being, not a Human Doing”

Donna Murray-Brown’s Sabbatical - “A Human Being, not a Human Doing”

MNA President and CEO Donna Murray-Brown reflects on sabbatical

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Meet MNA’s new Business Development Officer, Claire Horlings. A few fun facts!

Meet MNA’s new Business Development Officer, Claire Horlings. A few fun facts!

By Tammy Pitts, Director of Communications and Marketing



Michigan Nonprofit Association is growing by leaps and bounds! We’re proud to welcome Claire Horlings to our organization as our new Business Development Officer. In this role, she is responsible for all business development activities including membership cultivation and retention, network growth, customer service strategy and sales. We’re impressed by the depth of experience and passion for the nonprofit sector that Claire has and having her on our team is a great honor. So, what should you know about Claire? For starters, she’s a foodie!

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Michigan nonprofits are asking their communities to comment on maps for state redistricting process

Michigan nonprofits are asking their communities to comment on maps for state redistricting process

Originally published by MJ Galbraith on Model D

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Staying connected: Best laptops for remote work

Staying connected: Best laptops for remote work

By Adam King, Technology Director, MNA Technology Services

Nearly two years into the pandemic, many nonprofits are considering long-term remote work. And since you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future –maybe even permanently- now is the time to replace your older laptop. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start.  I’ve come up with a list to help you make the best purchase.

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How underrepresented communities have a chance to overcome gerrymandering

How underrepresented communities have a chance to overcome gerrymandering

Originally published by MJ Galbraith, Metromode - Detroit

From 1999 to 2002, Belda Garza served in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing what was then the state’s 8th district. At the turn of the century, Michigan’s 8th district contained much of Southwest Detroit, an area of the city with a substantial Latinx population that continues to thrive there to this day. Garza was the first — and remains the only — Latinx immigrant elected to represent a part of the state that is largely made up of people just like her.

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A Beautiful Me finds ways to foster self-worth and community connection, especially among girls

A Beautiful Me finds ways to foster self-worth and community connection, especially among girls

By Karen Palka, Contributing Writer - The Nonprofit Journal Project 

A Beautiful Me, founded in 2008, has a mission to create better communities one person at a time, with our focus being on girls and young women. Through confidence building workshops, innovative programs, and special events, our participants thrive personally and professionally. We also operate The Closet, our nonprofit store located in downtown Port Huron designed to teach business & philanthropy skills to teen girls. We give our young ladies the tools they need to be successful, while also building their self esteem and confidence.

I started this organization because I didn't see value, purpose, and worth in myself until I was in my 40s. This realization made me wonder what would happen if my daughters and their friends never stumbled upon that knowledge? But if I could get them to recognize their value and worth at an early age, they wouldn't have to endure some of the pitfalls and obstacles I did. Studies show that self-esteem peaks in young girls at age nine, and gradually declines without proper guidance and positive reinforcement.

Picture the community as a chain, which is only as strong as its weakest link. If we can get our young women to understand their value and place in the world at elementary and adolescent ages, they are more likely to take on roles in their adult lives that enhance their communities in some shape, form or fashion. 

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