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for community members dedicated to reducing poverty in Kalamazoo Equity Spring 2013 I s s
for community members dedicated to reducing poverty in Kalamazoo Equity Spring 2013 I s s

for community members dedicated to reducing poverty in Kalamazoo

Equity

Spring 2013

Issue 5.1

our mission:

to reduce poverty through education, collaboration and economic opportunity

Contents

Tracking Poverty (p. 1-2)

Patrick Naswell (p. 1)

Project Connect (p. 2-3)

Thank You to Our Project Connect Team (p. 3)

An Appeal from the Executive Director (p. 4)

Recognition of 2012 Partners (p. 4)

facebook.com/kalamazoopri

twitter.com/PRI_Kalamazoo

youtube.com/povertyreduction

twitter.com/PRI_Kalamazoo youtube.com/povertyreduction Tracking Poverty in Kalamazoo and Michigan What does poverty

Tracking Poverty in Kalamazoo and Michigan

What does poverty look like in our community?

The PRI has helped to publicize two critical new data resources on poverty in Kalamazoo. The first, the Kids Count 2013 databook released by the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), offers important insight into the state of child poverty in Kalamazoo and Michigan. The second is the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (CFED) Assets and Oppor- tunity Scorecard for 2013, which gives a comprehensive picture of the economic opportunities and disparities affecting our communities. Both are valuable resources in the PRI’s role to collaborate with community organizations in our efforts to reduce poverty through education and

economic opportunity.

The Kids Count report’s findings are a decidedly mixed bag. Youth health improved, with lower rates of infant and child death in Michigan, but the number of children living in poverty and the number of children experiencing neglect or abuse increased. Statistics from MLPP and others demonstrate that children born to single-parent households in poverty are themselves much more likely to remain in poverty.

Here in Kalamazoo County, 25% of

continued on page 2

PRI Welcomes New Executive Director Patrick Naswell

The Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initia- tive would like to formally introduce its new Executive Director, Patrick Naswell. Patrick arrived at the PRI last fall and has already made great strides in improving the outreach, community presence, and sustainable operation of the PRI. Patrick’s vision for the PRI includes greater focus on youth develop- ment and the challenge of poverty amongst school-age children along with financial empowerment and asset development.

Patrick comes to the PRI with more than 17 years of experience in adminis- trative and management positions in philanthropy, higher education, and the private sector. As Vice President of the Community Foundation of Greater

As Vice President of the Community Foundation of Greater E xecutive Director Patrick Naswell meet with

Executive Director

Patrick Naswell

meet with local stakeholders in the community to begin making progress towards real solutions,” he said. “By partnering with local community organizations, businesses and foundations we have great plans for making real and long-term improvements in Kalamazoo residents’ lives.”

Flint and Assistant to the Counsels to the President at the Univer- sity of Michigan, he worked with staff and volunteers to develop programs and events that supported the goals of those organiza- tions. His work with the Community Founda- tion and the Charles Stewart Mott Founda- tion have helped him to address issues of poverty through grant making and community collaboration.

Patrick’s focus on working with the community to address root causes of poverty through education, building awareness, strengthening and devel- oping community partner- ships and assets will be hallmarks of his tenure here at the PRI. “I’m excited to

From Tracking, pg. 1

children are living in poverty, a drastic increase from the 2005-06 period in which only 17% were. Although some indicators like fourth-grade reading levels and teen birth rates have improved, Kalamazoo is facing formidable challenges related to its poverty rates, especially among youth. Kalamazoo is an especially useful barometer for the state’s economic climate as a whole, as its economic sector incorporates a wide variety of important Michigan fields, from agriculture and manufacturing to education and retail.

CFED’s Scorecard features state wide data, rather than individual counties. It made several recommendations for policy changes that would improve economic opportunity. The report focuses in partic- ular on the drastic problems of housing shortages and costs in the state. 34% of Michigan homeowners are cost burdened, which is defined as a household in which property-based expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities take up more than 30% of that home’s monthly income. To ameliorate this problem, the report recommends that the government, “should offer direct lending programs to first-time homeowners. To prevent foreclosures, Michigan should

homeowners. To prevent foreclosures, Michigan should regulate mortgage servicers and ensure foreclosures are

regulate mortgage servicers and ensure foreclosures are reviewed in the presence of a neutral third party.”

In addition to making housing policy recommendations, the CFED Scorecard suggests that Michigan takes steps to encourage savings among low-income citizens. A strong financial foundation is one of the most important steps a family can take to build itself a more economi- cally prosperous future. CFED specifically

supports removing the “asset limit” on food aid, Medicaid and EBT programs, as such limits discourage families from saving money lest they be removed from those vital lifelines. Financial empower- ment programs like BankOn Kalamazoo can also help families reduce their costs by bringing them into the formal financial system and eliminating exorbitant check- cashing fees or payday loan interest rates.

New Americorps VISTAs Bring Their Expertise to the PRI

The Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative is thrilled to welcome two valuable new team members to our organiza- tion. Both of them bring their unique talents to the challenge of reducing poverty through education, collaboration and economic opportunity. We look forward to working with them as we move forward with our community partners.

Catrina Beeny grew up on the east side of the state in Swartz Creek. She graduated with a B.A. in English with a minor in history from Grand Valley State University in April 2012. During her college career she has held numerous jobs and positions working with many non-profits such as the Girl Scouts and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of

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Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign
Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign
Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign
Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign
Grand Rapids. She will assist PRI in the areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign

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areas of Page 2 Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 2 event coordination and commu- nications.
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event coordination and commu- nications. She is excited to serve the Kalamazoo community and to gain further experi- ence in the non-profit sector.

Richard Weirick has been a resident of Kalamazoo for the past 40 years. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a Dual Major degree in Commu- nications and History. Working in Radio-TV Broadcasting in Engineering and other technical areas for 25 years he got a feel for the non-profit world. He has served on two Kalamazoo County Advisory Boards in economics and transportation and one state advisory board for a technical school for curriculum. He is enthusiastic about his first year as an Americorps VISTA participant.

school for curriculum. He is enthusiastic about his first year as an Americorps VISTA participant. 4/25/2013
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Equity is published three times per year by: Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative 1140 Welborn
Equity is published three times per year by: Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative 1140 Welborn

Equity is published three times per year by:

Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative 1140 Welborn Hall , WMU 1903 W. Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5236

phone 269.387.2678

fax 269.387.2789

John Deisinger, 2012-13 Editor AmeriCorps VISTA Marketing & Public Relations

Patrick Naswell

Executive Director

Have a story to share? Send an email to:

publicrelations@haltpoverty.org or call for information.

Board of Directors:

Donald Roberts, Chair

Barbara Young, Vice Chair

Kennedy Fillar, Treasurer

Catheryn Sirk, Secretary

Ann Perry

Timothy Ready

John Dillworth

Jerome Kisscorni

Jacqueline Cantrell

Jack Urban

Denise Crawford

Ed Pigeon

Michael F. Rice

Sherry Thomas-Cloud

Project Connect Delivers Services to Kalamazoo Residents

Biannual Event Showcases Community Involvement in Broad Spectrum of Services

Project Connect, which began in 2009, is a biannual event that has helped almost 9,000 low-income residents of the Kalamazoo area. Established as Project Homeless Connect, the program expanded its scope in May of 2010 to include all Kalamazoo area residents who needed access to the valuable human services.

According to the US Census 2010 American Community Survey, almost 50,000 people in Kalamazoo County live below the poverty level including 15,000 children. In the City of Kalamazoo, 26,000 people including 8,000 children, live in poverty - almost 40% of the city, a greater percentage than Detroit.

Project Connect tackles this challenge by uniting more than 50 service providers around the community in one place, the Kalamazoo Expo Center, to provide as many services as possible to a wide spectrum of citizens. Service providers as diverse as the Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, the Kalamazoo Family Health Center and Michigan Works all come together at Project Connect.

The event on November 14, 2012, was our largest and most successful. The event had 996 participants receiving assistance from more than fifty service providers and afforded the PRI a valuable, firsthand snapshot of the chal- lenges confronting our community.

Shaghil Husain of the Lewis Walker Institute assembled a series of statistics that demonstrated how broad Project Connect’s outreach to our community

how broad Project Connect’s outreach to our community T he American Sewing Guild mends clothes for

The American Sewing Guild mends clothes for Project Connect participants

is and exactly who is being served. Of the 996 participants who attended our November event, more than two-thirds had at least a high school degree or GED, and more than 40% had at least some college education. Although many participants were well- educated, more than 75% of all attending households had an income of less than $10,000 a year, which further underlines how critical the services provided at Project Connect are to the Kalamazoo community.

The next Project Conect will take place on May 8, 2013, and we expect another big turnout of community members looking for the tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families. Those interested in volunteering or providing a service can contact Pam Burpee at projectconnectdirector@haltpoverty.org or Catrina Beeny at publicrelations@haltpoverty.org.

Thank You to our Project Connect Team!

Thank You to our Project Connect Team! The PRI would like to extend our sincere thanks

The PRI would like to extend our sincere thanks to our volunteers, service providers and supporters for their work on our very successful November 2012 Project Connect event. Without their assistance, this event would not be able to fulfill its mission of providing opportunities to community members in need. We would like to especially thank Catholic Charities, Gull Lake Community Church, Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency, the Diocese of Kalamazoo, the Family Health Center, Kalamazoo County Healthy Babies Healthy Start, and the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency for their work as part of our November 2012 Planning Team. The PRI would also like to recognize and thank our own Pam Burpee for her tireless efforts as the chief organizer of Project Connect. Her passion for and commitment to this event were critical in bringing thousands of services to our community last fall.

Please help us continue our work—donate online at haltpoverty.org/donate or send an email to donations@haltpoverty.
Please help us continue our work—donate online at haltpoverty.org/donate or send an email to donations@haltpoverty.

Please help us continue our work—donate online at haltpoverty.org/donate or send an email to donations@haltpoverty. org to request a donation envelope by postal service.

In addition to donations to our general operations, the PRI happily accepts donations for the following programs individually:

accepts donations for the following programs individually: A $10.00 Donation to Project Connect provides more than

A $10.00 Donation to Project Connect provides more than $70.00 worth of services.

Donate to Project Connect at https://org2.democra-

cyinaction.org/o/6431/

donate_page/pcdonate or request a postal envelope.

donate_page/pcdonate or request a postal envelope. B ankOn Kalamazoo is a program for bringing working families

BankOn Kalamazoo is a program for bringing working families into the financial system through low or no coast checking and savings accounts.

Your donation helps provide the foundation for the financial literacy education and financial access that makes an enormous difference in our community. Donate online at halpoverty.org/donate or email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope.

email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word
email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word
email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word
email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word
email: donations@haltpoverty. org, to request an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word

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an envelope. Equity Spring 2013 InDesign 2nd draft.indd 4 A Word From Our Executive Director Patrick
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A Word From Our Executive Director

Patrick Naswell

Kalamazoo is the home of so much good. It is the home of people who care about and are committed to the well-being of their neighbors. In the six months since I joined the Poverty

Reduction Initiative (PRI), I have been fortunate to meet many of the people who make Kalamazoo

a wonderful and vibrant community. Last November, more than fifty community organizations

came together to provide needed services to nearly 1,000 of our neighbors who are experiencing poverty. It is this type of collaboration that gives Kalamazoo County the power and potential to reduce poverty and create long-term economic opportunity for all of its residents.

Kalamazoo County faces high rates of childhood and youth poverty – rates that are on the rise. This is compounded by research which suggests that the American ideal of equal opportunity for all is not the reality for most. Those who grow up in poverty tend to remain in poverty throughout their lifetime. There are no easy solutions and it is a combination of factors – the availability of quality employment and education, safe and affordable housing, equitable health care producing equitable health outcomes, among many others – that will bring about long-term systemic solutions to poverty in our community. The work in front of us can seem insurmountable, yet the power of focused, well thought out collaboration can help us to move forward.

The PRI can help the community achieve a long-term, sustained reduction of poverty by:

• Being an educating and collaborative force in our community.

• Being a voice for those experiencing poverty and giving people the opportunity to raise their own voices.

• Advocating for improved economic outcomes for youth and their families; and,

• Promoting financial empowerment with a focus on building individual and family assets.

The PRI will continue current programs like our Poverty Simulations, BankOn Kalamazoo, and Project Connect while working to improve each of them. We will also be looking to hear more from you and to reflect what we’re learning through our communications and outreach.

It is exciting to be part of this important work and such a wonderful community. We would love

to hear from you, so we can include your voices in our message. Your stories and experiences are powerful and meaningful. Let’s stay engaged and, together, let’s do good work! I can be reached with any questions or comments at director@haltpoverty.org or by phone at (269) 387-2678.

PRI Thanks Its 2013 Sponsors

Without Your Generous Help, Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible

Your Generous Help, Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo
Your Generous Help, Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo
Your Generous Help, Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo

The City of Kalamazoo

Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo T he Harold
Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo T he Harold
Our Good Work Would Not Be Possible T he City of K alamazoo T he Harold

The Harold and Grace Upjohn Foundation

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