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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!

Maximizing Efficiency with Canva

By Sarah-Grace Motley, MNA Marketing & Digital Engagement Manager

More engaging and eye catching design can not only elevate your nonprofit's mission, but also help your organization increase your impact, get additional funding, recruit volunteers, and more. Nonprofits often don't have time to spend on complex graphic design nor do they have budgets to hire outside to escalate the branding and impact of the organization. Lucky for you, Canva is your solution.

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Celebrating inclusion and diversity during Pride Month: Conversations with Colleagues

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Communications Director

Pride Month is still going strong, and we are turning the volume way up as we amplify and celebrate diversity, equity. and inclusivity. At Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), our core values include diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and we support and embrace a work environment where our LGBTQ+ colleagues can be their authentic selves. Pride Month is a month dedicated to the uplifting and celebration of LGBTQ+ voices and that includes some of my colleagues. But before you hear their stories, a quick history lesson on why we are celebrating Pride this month. On June 28, 1969, police in Manhattan, New York raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn sparking a series of riots and protests in the LGBTQ+ community and igniting the modern gay rights movement. Pride is celebrated every June in honor of the Stonewall Uprising which was a tipping point for the gay liberation movement. Pride Month also honors and celebrates some of the most influential and inspiring role models from the LGBTQ+ community.

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What you need to know about Juneteenth and why we should all celebrate

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

You’re probably hearing a whole lot about Juneteenth these days as we get closer to June 19, 2021. I always find it surprising when people tell me they don’t know about Juneteenth. As a child, I knew exactly what Juneteenth was because my mother was a firm believer in children learning about Black history. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African Americans that the war had ended, and they were now free. I can only imagine the shock and jubilation the slaves felt. Actually, they had been free since January 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but according to history buffs, the Emancipation Proclamation had little impact in Texas due to the small number of Union troops on hand to enforce the order. Slave owners ignored the order until General Granger’s regiment showed up with plenty of manpower to force the locals to comply and free the slaves. Texas was the last Confederate state to have the proclamation announced according to Cliff Robinson, founder of Juneteenth.com.  

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Michigan nonprofit receives boost in funding for youth mental health

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on youth mental health with hospitals nationwide reporting an increase in kids battling anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation due in part to the stress of the pandemic. But even before Covid-19,  mental health problems such as anxiety and depression were already on the rise among children ages 6 to 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that is why nonprofits like CARE of Southeastern Michigan and the services it offers are so important. The nonprofit recently received a $50,000 grant and will use the funds to support youth mental health. “Some of the issues that teens and youth are experiencing are isolation from their friends and activities, and they have had to redefine their rites of passage and their caregivers are experiencing an increase in stress,” said Susan Styf, MNA member, and president and CEO of CARE.

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Internship Report: MSU graduate thrives in virtual internship; gains unique experience

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Communications Director

Among the benefits of an internship is the opportunity to gain real world work experience, personal development, career exploration, and networking. And Erica SooJin Song says she learned a lot from her experience as Michigan Nonprofit Association’s human resources intern from 2020-2021. To quote Erica directly, “It’s really been a great work experience. This internship has been my favorite and it’s the one I am most proud of; it’s been very rewarding.” Erica graduated from Michigan State University last month after receiving her master’s degree in human resources and labor relations. She was involved in various projects here at MNA, and I had the pleasure of hanging out with her for a little bit to discuss her school and work life, plus she filled me in on the “prince” in her life. Yes, you read that correctly. Here is the tale of Erica and Prince Zuko. Well, mostly this blog post is about Erica, but keep reading-- the part about the prince is coming up.

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Internship Report: MSU Student Gets Public Policy Experience at Michigan Nonprofit Association

By Tammy Pitts - Director of Communications

When the pandemic struck in 2020, many internships were canceled that spring and summer impacting students who were counting on those jobs and professional experience. The connections internships enable can be crucial for job seekers, especially seniors who are in their last year of college. 

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Volunteers are a vital part of Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination effort; MNA staffer gives back

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

Chances are, when you arrive at a vaccination clinic in Michigan the first person to greet you is a volunteer. And one of those volunteers last month at Ford Field was Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Meridith Murley. The mass vaccination clinic in downtown Detroit opened in March for a span of eight weeks with the goal of inoculating as many Michiganders as possible inside the stadium.

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What is Imposter Syndrome and Why It’s Worse for Women of Color

By Nellie Tsai - Social Innovation Officer

Nellie Tsai Headshot

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Woman on the Rise: Meet MNA’s Mariana Martinez

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

Mariana selfieBeing a woman in a man’s world isn’t easy. Being a woman of color is even harder, but Mariana Martinez is among the trailblazing women helping to break down barriers. She is currently the Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives at Michigan Nonprofit Association and is leading MNA’s Redistricting Initiative.

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Survival Grants Ease COVID-19 Stress for Some Michigan Nonprofits

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

The coronavirus crisis has shown no mercy to Michigan’s nonprofit organizations with many struggling to hang on for more than a year now. But help arrived last month thanks to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Michigan Small Business Survival Grant program. Relief totaling $52.5 million was doled out to nearly 6,000 small businesses and nonprofits statewide. The money is a lifeline for local nonprofits struggling to stay afloat. “I was extremely grateful to receive the survival grant,” said Regina Pinney, Michigan Nonprofit Association member and executive director at Nonprofit Network in Jackson County. Her nonprofit experienced a 30% reduction in revenue in 2020, and she says the $3,500 grant they received will be used to cover payroll. Protecting payroll is our number one priority,” said Pinney. “People deliver our mission and making sure they know their job is safe allows them to fully concentrate on helping nonprofits.”

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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program Expands Reach Thanks to Michigan Nonprofit

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

March is reading month and children across Michigan have access to free books thanks to a partnership between a local nonprofit and Dolly Parton. Yes, Dolly Parton. If there is one thing that most people can agree on is their mutual love for Dolly. Am I right?  

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Celebrating International Women's Day


By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

InternationalWomensDay Today is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally. 

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I AM a Black Woman

By Tammy Pitts - MNA Director of Communications

Tammy Pitts*Taps mic* Is this thing on? Hello. I am Tammy Pitts, Director of Communications at Michigan Nonprofit Association and you’re reading the first post of MNA’s new blog: MI Nonprofit Lowdown. As chief writer, I took the liberty of sharing my story with you in the inaugural post.

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