MSU EDA University Center for

Regional Economic Innovation

E-Update | November 2022

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Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday since 1870. Although the President of the United States had the discretion to set the specific day on which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, for the most part, each president after Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November as the national Thanksgiving holiday. This changed, however, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November as an economic strategy – a way to extend the Christmas shopping season and help businesses still struggling from the Great Depression. 

This change was met by great opposition and in 1941 Michigan Representative Earl Michener of Michigan introduced a House Joint Resolution seeking to return to “the old custom of the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.” The President reluctantly signed this bill into law in December of 1941. 

While Thanksgiving has lost most of its original religious significance, families continue to celebrate this day by sharing a feast with family and friends – and others, through hosting free dinners for individuals and families in need. 

Some Indigenous people, however, have celebrated this day as a National Day of Mourning since 1970. Myths remain that friendly Indians welcomed the Pilgrims and other European settlers, taught them how to live on this land, then conceded this land to white people so that the rest of the world could benefit. This erases the lived experience of the genocide of millions, the theft of Native lands and the erasure of their cultures. Read more about these myths and the history of Thanksgiving, here.



REI is "calling" for authors and experts to research and develop Co-Learning Plans on economic development tools, models, policies, programs and practices based on several areas of interest. Co-Learning Plans should fall within one of four categorial areas, including: 1) resiliency planning, 2) financial resiliency, 3) 21st century communications, and 4) circular economies. The findings and recommendations in these Co-Learning Plans, funded through this request, will serve as a source for current and practical information for local and state economic development practitioners and policymakers as they consider important decisions that affect development efforts for Michigan communities and regions.  


The REI University Center has identified the following topical areas for possible Co-Learning Plans of 2023. These include: 1) Clean Energy Economies of Michigan, 2) Defining Equitable Economic Development in Your Region or the State, 3) Circular Economies of Michigan, 4) Blight and Deconstruction within Michigan, 5) Michigan Planning Organizations Leveraging the Planning Process Together for Greater Impacts, and 6) Other. These topical areas within one of the above mentioned four categories were weighed by the REI Consultative Panel with consideration to likelihood of creating or retaining jobs and/or businesses in economically distressed regions of Michigan.  

The REI Innovation Fellows Program is also seeking applicants to incorporate the tools, models, and policies identified in Co-Learning Projects, or new ideas, into practice in communities around Michigan.


To learn more about all opportunities or to submit an application for a Co-Learning Plan, please visit, Please share with your networks.
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