Volume 7, Issue 2

February 22, 2023

In This Issue...

Announcements | From the Network |Upcoming Events | Resources | Capella Partnership


MCA Welcomes a New Executive Director, Brian McGrain

Brian McGrain has over 20 years of experience serving in leadership roles in the public sector. Most recently, he served for five years as the Director of Economic Development and Planning for the City of Lansing. In this role, Brian oversaw staff responsible for planning and zoning, building safety, development, code enforcement, and parking. He also provided guidance to the Mayor in community development, economic development, and housing policy.

Brian previously spent twelve years as the Associate Director/Chief Operating Officer of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). Brian also served five terms on the Ingham County Commission. During his tenure, he served on the Board of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, the Ingham County Economic Development Corporation, the Ingham County Land Bank, and the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Brian received both his bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and his master’s degree in Public Administration and Urban Studies from Michigan State University. He is a long-time resident of Lansing, though spent most of his childhood elsewhere in the world as a self-described "air force brat." He enjoys travel, dining out, reading nonfiction, and his ever-growing plant collection (parts of which are bound for the MCA offices!). 

MCA is Hiring - Director of Finance

MCA is Seeking a Director of Finance, to learn more and apply click here.

Please feel free to share this opportunity with your networks.

2023 MCA Legislative Day

Don't Forget to Submit Your Nominations

Legislator of the Year (1 winner will be chosen

Client of the Year (5 winners with be chosen)

Volunteer of the Year (5 winners will be chosen)

Deadline to submit nominations is March 24, 2023

We are excited to share that our panel presentation will include partner updates from CEDAM, MSHDA, MLPP, MCAH, LEO, and the Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity.

Find additional information about Legislative Day, including the preliminary agenda here.

New This Year - Be a Legislative Day Sponsor!

Want to support Legislative Day as a Sponsor?

Learn more here

MCA Summer Conference



March 1, 2023 - Training Committee Meeting

10:00 AM ET

March 13, 2023 - Finance Committee Meeting

10:30 AM ET

March 13, 2023 - Board of Directors Meeting

12:00 PM ET

March 13, 2023 - Directors Council Meeting

1:30 PM ET 

March 15, 2023 - Legislative Committee

9:30 AM ET

March 23, 2023 Legislative Committee Meeting

10:00 AM ET

For a full list of events,

visit MCA’s calendar

The Michigan Community Action Update is a round-up of important information for members of Michigan Community Action.
We may send more
frequent updates when
important information breaks
that impacts the
Community Action network.
We welcome your input and feedback.
Please send your comments and ideas here.

Call for Presenters - MCA 2023 Summer Conference

Is your agency using an innovative approach to providing services, has a success story, area of expertise, or innovation that would benefit other agencies to learn about? Share your knowledge and experiences at the MCA Summer Conference.

RFP Guide

Submit a Proposal

For questions or support submitting your proposal please contact Michelle Stevens at mstevens@micommunityaction.org

Early-Bird Registration is Open

Don't miss the early-bird deals! Register Here

Hotel Registration Link is Live

Space is limited so reserve your hotel room today!

Book Online Here

Interested in Summer Conference Sponsorship?

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.

Keynote Speaker Line-Up

Shamayim 'Mama Shu' Harris will be a keynote speaker at the 2023 MCA Summer Conference. She is an appointed Commissioner to the Michigan Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity and the founder and CEO of Avalon Village in Highland Park. She and her team are building a self-sustaining eco-village in the memory of her sons to transform blight into beauty and uplift her community.

David Bradley will be joining us as a speaker and will attend Directors Dinner Monday evening. A fundraiser to benefit NCAF will also be held during to conference, more information coming soon!

Funding Opportunity - Nonprofit Relief Fund is now Live!

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced the launch of the “intent to apply” phase for the relief fund, which is focused on assisting small charitable nonprofit organizations. The website is open and available for nonprofits to fill out the intent to apply form at MINonprofitRelief.org.

Nonprofits do NOT have to be members of MNA to apply for grant funding.

From The Network

Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency's Community of Trees Fundraiser.

This past November and December Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency hosted a fundraiser called 'Community of Trees' to support their Walk for Warmth funding.

Local businesses pay $200 for a tree and decorate it, or $300, and staff will decorate it for them. The community then votes for their favorite tree and the winner gets a gift basket. This has helped to raise around $5,000 - $6,000 a year in donations since 2019 when they started this fundraiser. The community loves it, and they end up hosting different Christmas events because of it, in their atrium. Events like pictures with Santa, and a senior dinner dance for Christmas.

Share Your Walk for Warmth Stories and Pictures!

MCA would like to highlight agencies Walks for Warmth on our social media pages and website. If you would like to be highlighted send pictures and/or stories to Nicole Caroen at ncaroen@micommunityaction.org We can also share information about your upcoming events.

Upcoming Events

Registration Now Open- MCA Board Training Series (Public and Private CAAS)

Registration is now open for the second Board Training Series. Participants can register once for the sessions.

Please note that there are sessions specific to just Public and just Private CAA Boards and sessions that both can attend. See the dates below for specifics on the sessions and who should attend.

Session #1A - Only Public Community Action Agencies

Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximize the Tripartite Board Structure in Public Community Action Agencies

Session 1B - Only Private Community Action Agencies

Thursday, April 6, 2023, 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Back to the Basics in Community Action Governance: Legal Roles and Fiduciary Responsibilities

Training Session #2 - All Agencies

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Helpful Tips for Intentional Governance and Oversight in Community Action: Enhancing Capacity, Effectiveness, and Performance

Training Session #3 - All Agencies

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Teamwork Makes the Board Work

Register Here

MCA Finance and HR Roundtable - Employee Retention Credit

Join us for a discussion on the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) presented by Alex Wilson from Yeo & Yeo.

The presentation will cover:

·      General discussion about the ERC and the timelines of what has happened along the process

·      Interplay with other grants/sources of funding

·      How to claim the credit and certain factors that have to be determined

·      General Q&A

Register Here

Webinar - 2GEN Data Snapshot of Families with Low Incomes

March 2, 2023 - 1:00-2:00 PM EST

Join Ascend at the Aspen Institute for a national briefing on a new, groundbreaking two-generation analysis of families with low incomes across the US. This new comparative analysis of 2011 and 2021 Census data, looking at children and the adults in their lives together, paints a richer portrait of the state of families in 21st-century America and how that data has changed over the last decade.

Register Here


How Community-Based Organizations Use Data to Advance Equity

Two community-based organizations and the Urban Institute have used data to advance equitable regional development and educational outcomes and spur community change.

Click here for more.

Paving a Pathway to Prosperity: Building Upon Pandemic Progress for Economic Security & Opportunity

The federal policies and programs enacted in 2020, 2021, and 2022 swiftly and dramatically reduced poverty and hardship, narrowed racial disparities and improved long-term outcomes for children and families.

Explore these fact sheets from CLASP to learn more 

Children & Families

Working People

Young Adults

In Case You Missed It: Mental Health in the Workplace Webinar

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Mental Health in the Workplace monthly webinar series features discussions around the importance of investing in mental health to build stronger, more resilient workplaces. 

Sean Egan, LEO’s Deputy Director of Labor who leads the state’s workplace mental health initiatives, moderated this event with guest speaker Daniel Schneider, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As Co-Director of The Shift Project, his current research focuses on how precarious and unpredictable work schedules affect household economic security and worker and family health and well-being.

 In case you missed it, you can view the webinar in full here

To learn more about the latest webinars and resources, sign up for workplace mental health email updates

Michigan Community Action, Capella University
& Strayer University Partnership
Back to school savings with education built for real life

Ready to go back to school to gain the skills and knowledge you need to reach your career goals with access to education that works with your busy life? Capella University understands this. That’s why our bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in human services, behavioral health, business, IT, and leadership & administration leverage what you already know and are grounded in real-world application. 

Through our partnership with Capella, you and your immediate family have access to high-quality, online education and tuition savings that make it possible to earn a degree or certificate at a significantly lower cost and at your own pace. Capella offers you:  

· Exclusive scholarships, grants, and other savings including a 10% tuition discount.  

· 50% off the first FlexPath session if you begin your program by June 2022. 

· Two learning formats - FlexPath and GuidedPath - that are flexible, affordable, and supportive.  

· A student-centered approach, including support teams to help you be successful and persistent. 

Ready to learn more and get started?  

Visit Capella.edu/MichiganCommunityAction to find a degree program that’s right for you and to see special tuition offers.  

Check out this PDF for information on programs offered. 
Save on your degree at Strayer University

Michigan Community Action and Strayer University have partnered to offer eligible employees of their member agencies access to flexible, affordable associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. If you’re thinking of earning a degree, we invite you to take advantage of special offers designed to help you meet your educational goals.

Special offers and scholarships available now

$5,000 scholarship for new or returning Strayer students to apply toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree

• 10% tuition discount for the duration of your program*
  * Tuition discount upon receipt of documentation of employment and eligibility.

Why Strayer?
At Strayer, you’ll get a modern, online degree that gives you the confidence to change your future. Our programs are built for working adults and our student services coaches offer support at every step. We believe in educational access, academic quality, student success and customer service.
MCA Officers/Board Members 2021-2023
Lisa Evans
Community Action of Allegan County

Morghan Boydston
Urban Officer
Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development

Lisa Bolen
Lower Peninsula Rural Officer
Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency

Michelle LaJoie

Upper Peninsula Officer

Community Action Alger- Marquette

Toby Berry

At-Large Officer 

Community Action Agency

Kerri Duff 
Secretary Treasurer
Gogebic Ontonagon CAA

Mary Ann Neopolitan
CAA Governing Board Officer
Monroe County Opportunity Program

Susan Harding
Directors Council Chair
Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency

MCA is continuing to observe CDC guidelines encouraging remote work practices and following local public health guidelines. The office remains physically closed to anyone outside of immediate staff. We are accessible by phone and email during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-5PM ET.
Be well and stay safe everyone. .
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