Annual Report 2013

 Full report in PDF

Securing the Future With an Endowment

The year 2013 was a watershed one with the creation of a $2.4 million Nokomis Foundation Legacy endowment that will secure the future of the Michigan League for Public Policy as a progressive voice and leader in state public policy.

It was also a year of important policy gains for vulnerable families, children and individuals. The League joined a strong coalition to successfully push Medicaid expansion in Michigan, one of the few states with GOP leadership to do so. This will mean as many as 500,000 uninsured adults will get the healthcare they need. The League’s local data and across-the-aisle relationships were often cited as essential help in the uphill fight, and a League policy brief was included in the press packets from Gov. Rick Snyder.

Another important policy win for children was the opening of additional spaces for young children in need of preschool — $65 million in new dollars. While the involvement of the business community made the difference, the League’s Kids Count data over the years was central to highlighting the need for this.

The League also launched a popular “Budget Briefs” project, making the state budget process more accessible to citizens.

In addition, the League:

  • Continued to fight to restore the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, cut from 20% to 6%.
  • Pushed back against huge potential cuts in food assistance in Congress with a media blitz highlighting the loss.
  • Helped stall a bill to retain third graders behind in reading, by citing research and data.
  • Highlighted data that shows average workers have lost ground over three decades.
  • Supported the minimum wage fight with strong data.
  • Connected the faith community with budget basics to encourage involvement.
  • Joined Priorities Michigan, a civic engagement and education project, to elevate the needs of citizens in the budget debate.
  • Grew the Prosperity Coalition to 270 organizations that share common goals of lifting children and families out of poverty, minimizing disparities and fostering racial equity.












Reports & Comments

In 2013, the League produced more than 300 reports, fact sheets, letters to policymakers, written testimonies, e-newsletters, alerts, news releases and blogs on timely matters. It broadened its reach with the effective use of infographics, videos and interactive maps.

Among key communications:

  • Series of Budget Briefs detailing the state budget priorities
  • The Path to Prosperity: Ten Steps Michigan Must Take to Strengthen Its Economy
  • Michigan’s Paycheck Blues
  • Medicaid Expansion Could Benefit Michigan Babies
  • Michigan’s EITC Helps Working Families
  • Losing Ground: A Call for Meaningful Tax Reform in Michigan
  • Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace Will Open for Business Oct. 1
  • Raising the Minimum Wage: Good for Working Families, Good for Michigan’s Economy

In addition, the League’s website had more than 48,000 visitors in 2013, and there were nearly 700 media stories citing the League’s work or perspective. The staff addressed close to 2,500 people in presentations, policy forums and webinars. The League’s social media presence grew with more than 4,500 followers on Twitter, Facebook and the League’s blog, Factually Speaking.

Board of Directors

Gilda Z. Jacobs, President & CEO

Message from the President and CEO 

As you read through this annual report, I hope you will note the many donors who support the League and those who contributed to the Nokomis Foundation Legacy endowment. All of you have truly made a difference.

Because of your support, the League was able to rise to the challenge from the Nokomis Foundation. In all, a $2.4 million endowment was created.

Nokomis was founded in Grand Rapids by Twink Frey who had a vision and desire to lift up the voices of girls and women. Our focus on low-income mothers and children – through research on poverty, wages, healthcare and safety net programs, as well as the Kids Count project – will ensure Twink’s mission will continue for many, many years to come.

In 2013, the League staff made data more accessible and easily available than ever. Our “Mapping the Facts” project was accessed several thousand times from the League’s website, putting key county data on employment, poverty and population in one spot at your fingertips.

The League’s “Budget Briefs” work meant that advocates and concerned citizens had accessible, timely information on the budget in order to make a difference in those budgets.

The distribution of thousands of copies of Money Back in Michigan meant that more low-income families were able to claim all of their tax credits with the use of free tax help.

Our use of webinars, policy forums, social media, infographics, interactive maps, e-news and videos continues to expand.

The League’s board, too, continues to grow stronger, bringing a wealth of expertise from many walks of life.

Thank you for your support in 2013. It was a year filled with many challenges and much hope. 

League Staff

Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO
Jackie Benson, Receptionist/Membership Associate
Paul Diefenbach, Data Analyst
Jason Escareno, Senior Policy Analyst
Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Policy Director
Jan Hudson, Senior Policy Analyst
Phyllis Killips, Assistant to the President
Tillie Kucharek, Graphic Designer
Yannet Lathrop, Policy Analyst
Mary Logan, Administrative Support Staff
Shannon Nobles, Outreach Specialist
Judy Putnam, Communications Director
Peter Ruark, Senior Policy Analyst
Danielle Smith, Prosperity Coalition Coordinator
Pat Sorenson, Senior Policy Analyst
Renell Weathers, Outreach Director
Ben Wells, Insurance Associate
Lawrence Wells, Chief Operating Officer
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count Project Director