This article first appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Impact.

Summer is ending, and fall is upon us. You can already notice the change. The nights are cooler, and the leaves are changing color.

It’s a time when Michiganians try to make the most of the warm afternoons and evening sun. People may take a day off; others may squeeze in end-of-season vacations; and some, if they’re like me, work on a yard project or two.

For me, yardwork provides the satisfaction of spending time outside and seeing immediate improvement. You can enjoy the pattern of lines in the grass after mowing or reflect on the transformation that new landscaping makes. Neighbors walking by can admire the difference you’ve made.

The changes the Mackinac Center for Public Policy helps to bring about are sometimes every bit as visible — for instance, the proliferation of charter schools and cross-district school choice options that have given thousands of Michigan families new educational options. In many cases, however, the results of our work are not quite as visible.

As a Mackinac Center friend and supporter, you have no doubt taken note of the tremendous amount of work we do. You’ve received our studies and Viewpoints, or heard our scholars on the radio or television, or read an Op-Ed in your local newspaper. Maybe you’ve received one of our periodicals, such as MichiganScience.

But while our work is concrete enough, actual improvements in the law or the state’s economy are sometimes incremental and difficult to observe. Consider this example: Genna Greenberger, a 15-year-old student from Portage High School, won our "Scientific or Not" MichiganScience essay contest. Her essay on why the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid" defies the laws of science earned her a $500 Mackinac Center college scholarship. Because of our magazine, Genna learned more about water pressure, exoskeletons, well-composed writing and, in the process, earned some money for college. Dozens of other Michigan students gained from the experience as well.

Seemingly small victories like these are setting the framework for long-term improvements in many different policy areas. Each day we move closer to achieving right-to-work status for Michigan, school choice and real protections for our resources and environment.

Our goal of a freer and more prosperous state is advancing every day. With your support we can continue to work together to improve Michigan’s policy landscape.