November 25, 2014 – In America, Thanksgiving’s arrival for most people ushers in a month-long holiday season filled with merriment. But for too many Michigan families, the holiday season is a stark reminder of the challenges they struggle with day-to-day.

As politicians boast of a Michigan comeback, we know that family poverty is on the rise as half of all Michigan children are born into poverty and one in four Michigan children live in poverty. Child safety is a constant concern as confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect grew in the double-digits in recent years. Educational achievement eludes many as two-thirds of Michigan 3rd graders aren’t proficient readers and one-quarter of all high school freshmen don’t graduate four years later. For children of color, these woeful statistics are worse than for the rest.

Unless we seek solutions to the systemic failings of public policies that contribute to these serious problems, undermining support and success for children and families, a Michigan comeback won’t mean much. That’s why we are appealing to you to help us carry on the good fight to ensure that our state’s children and families have a better future where opportunities for success in school and life don’t leave anyone behind.

We know it can be done – and that’s why we’re asking for your support during this season. For over 20 years we’ve served as a nonpartisan voice for public policy improvements to ensure that all children have an equitable chance to thrive from cradle to career. And we’ve done it without government funding to maintain our independence; instead, we’ve relied on the generosity of people like you. Please consider donating to Michigan’s Children this season.

If all Michigan families are to have the same outcomes as the most fortunate of us, we need to dig in and create policies that level the playing field. The good news is that we’ve made strides in doing just that. Working with other committed advocates in Michigan, we’ve made some important successes, among them the expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program that resulted in $130 million more to cover all eligible 4-year-olds in state-supported preschool.

Next, we must build on this accomplishment in other meaningful ways that address improving school readiness, ensuring child safety at home, and improving college and career readiness while prioritizing strategies that take a two-generation approach that serves children and their parents simultaneously.

Change is coming to Michigan. Be part of it by supporting us with your financial contributions but also with your voice. Sign up for one of our Action Networks and be informed of the work we must do to give all Michigan families something to be thankful for.

We can’t do it without you!

-Matt Gillard