One of the things that we have been talking about over the past few months is the importance of developing our strategic communications to work on relationship-building. Strong relationships with clientele, stakeholders and communities can help ensure that our audiences know what we’re doing for them and help us make a difference in our communities. Sometimes, the most important strategy is just to say thank you, as evidenced by a recent meeting between the Michigan State University Extension Financial and Homeownership Education work team and state Sen. Darwin Booher.
In 2012, Booher was instrumental in passing legislation that provided resources to struggling homeowners. One part of the bill included funding to help MSU Extension provide a larger net of resources to individuals and families across the state. This funding has given more than 11,500 Michigan residents and their families access to education or counseling from the Financial and Homeownership Education work team.
When the team met with Booher earlier this month, they presented him with an infographic that showed just how many Michigan residents had worked with our staff with the help of the funds he had helped procure. See the full-sized infographic.
This infographic went a long way toward educating Booher about his impact on MSU Extension. It showed that with his legislative work, we were able to help prevent foreclosures and provide information to new homeowners across the state. By sharing our stories with those who have helped us, we can help them feel more confident in helping us again in the future, so that they aren’t only hearing from us when we need something from them.
So consider sharing some of your success stories next time you’re given the chance, because the work you’re all doing is making serious impacts on your communities! Great job, team!
I’m still adjusting to the notion of writing articles with this headline in June rather than in September or October. For the second year in a row, the Michigan Legislature has completed the appropriations process for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2012, by the first week of June. What a welcome change this has been!
And unlike last year’s budget, in which we received a 15-percent reduction in funding, this time we’re targeted to receive a 3-percent budget increase in state funding. The size of the increase is welcome, but even more important is that it’s an INCREASE and not a DECREASE. It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to say that.
The Conference Committee for the Omnibus Education Budget completed negotiations on the higher education portion of the budget last Thursday evening (May 31), and the House of Representatives quickly approved the compromise on June 1. The Michigan Senate provided their approval on Tuesday morning, June 5. So now all that remains is for the governor to sign the legislation, and then we will know for certain that our funding for next year will grow by 3 percent. There are some requirements in the legislation that call for us to report on outputs and impacts of our programs, which our new reporting system should help us to fulfill. This is right in line with our goal of providing greater accountability through our redesign process. And the increase is primarily targeted at development of a strategic initiative on growing food and agriculture sectors in the state’s economy, something that cuts across all four of our program institutes.
As is always the case with a process like this, many people deserve credit and thanks for their roles in achieving this outcome. Within Michigan State University, many of you and other colleagues have helped to tell our story effectively to legislators. I’d like to highlight the role of Dr. Mike Kovacic, director of stakeholder relations for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, for his leadership in working with the MSU Governmental Affairs office and with legislative leaders and staff to address the concerns and questions that were raised throughout the process and to keep us all focused on the outcome we achieved. Given that we began the process with an Executive Budget proposal that had no increase for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch, coming out with a 3-percent increase is an outstanding achievement. Mike was our coach and captain in the campaign that produced this outcome. MSU vice president for governmental affairs Mark Burnham and his colleagues David Bertram and Monique Field also provided great assistance and guidance.
Many legislators also deserve credit for their roles in this process. We especially benefited from Senators Tonya Schuitmaker, Howard Walker, Darwin Booher, Roger Kahn and John Moolenaar, and Representatives Chuck Moss, Al Pscholka and Amanda Price. They and other legislators deserve thanks and appreciation from our stakeholders who spoke out in support of our programs.